In honor of Saturday's big Oregon-Washington rivalry football games, here's some good-spirited competition. Washington is the better state, after all.
Sunday update: Although the Huskies lost to the Ducks on Saturday, it is believed that the premise of the following post remains viable, substantiated in part by WSU’s 52-31 victory over Oregon State.
Original post: Saturday will be a day of blazing-hot football rivalry in the Northwest, with the University of Oregon playing the University of Washington, and Oregon State University challenging Washington State University. So the Portland-based Oregonian newspaper’s website this week took a swing at Washington morale with a posting, “11 reasons why Oregon is a better place to live than Washington.”
Nice try, daffy Ducks and eager Beavers. But it’s not hard to come back with 11 — no, make it 12, in the 12th man tradition — reasons why it’s better to live in Washington than Oregon. (And remember, you started it.)
1. Look out the window, there’s Mount Rainier. It’s visible from about half of our state because — oh, it’s 14, 411 feet high. That’s 28 percent higher than Mount Hood. And, aha, it has its own national park — a place of such splendor it was the fourth national park in the United States.
2. Speaking of which, Washington has three major national parks — Mount Rainier, Olympic and North Cascades — with some of America’s most rugged mountain scenery, spectacular rain forest and wild coastline. Oregon has, oh, just one national park: Crater Lake, known for a deep hole in the ground.
3. And before we leave the subject of Mount Rainier — which is hard to get away from — it reminds us: We have a place called Paradise. Oregon has places called Boring and Drain.
4. Washingtonians can sail for hours in one direction on Puget Sound and the Salish Sea, without having to tack every 5 minutes. (Ever sailed on the Columbia or the Willamette?)
5. Portland might revel in being weird. But Washington can claim what’s regarded as the “first of the modern era of UFO sightings” (Wikipedia says so), in 1947 when pilot Kenneth Arnold claimed that he saw a string of nine shiny, unidentified flying objects zipping past, yes, Mount Rainier. His description of the objects led to the coining of the term “flying saucer.” Oregon’s most famous (and derivative) UFO sighting, documented by fuzzy photos of what looks like a pie tin flying through the air, was over a rabbit farm near McMinnville three years later.
6. Portland and Bend claim to be the craft-brewing capitals of the universe. But Scottish-born brewmaster Bert Grant opened what’s widely credited to have been the first brew pub in the United States since Prohibition — in Yakima, in 1982. Washington’s beer culture has never looked back. Bonus point: If you’re a brewer in need of IPA-blasting hops, look no further than the Yakima Valley, which exports hops to brewers all over the world.
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7. Speaking of a spirited place to live: Washington state is the second largest producer of premium wines in the United States, with more than 850 licensed wineries producing almost 15 million cases annually. Oregon has about 700 wineries producing one-fifth as much vino fino. (Source: winesnw.com)
8. Oregon makes a big deal about having no sales tax, which we admit makes things easier for the math-challenged at the cash register. But what about every April when Washingtonians are paying NO STATE INCOME TAX? Meanwhile, those poor suckers south of the Columbia are doling out as much as 9.9 percent of their paycheck to Salem.
9. Want to stay at the newest, biggest hotel operated by the funky-hip, Oregon-based McMenamins chain? Gotta head for Bothell, Washington, and the newly renovated Anderson School, which opened this week.
10. And speaking of paychecks: Seattle’s economy is booming, with an August unemployment rate dipping to 3.7 percent (Portland was 5.5 percent). Have you counted the number of construction cranes around South Lake Union alone? Want a job?
11. Not trying to get all snooty about this, but in the 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities, the University of Washington ranked 15th in the world for the quality of its education. The University of Oregon was between 300th and 400th (ratings don’t get more specific in those ranks).
12. While it’s true that Washington no longer has the distraction of an NBA team, that just gives us more time to cheer for the 2014 Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. In Oregon, pro football fans cheer for — oh, the Seattle Seahawks.