Before coal became king and the Rust Belt rusted, the Pacific Northwest began building an economy based on timber. The Oregon Country shipped its first load of logs to China in 1833.
A century later, as national politics and the Great Depression intruded, this remote and rainy corner of the country became an early West Coast battleground for workers’ rights, with bitter strikes silencing lumber mills for months. It also became a stronghold for the Democratic Party, a place where immigrants and their children embraced President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and his promise of solid wages for timber workers.
The region defied the Republican landslides that swept Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan into office in 1952 and 1980. It even stayed Democratic after Bill Clinton and later President Barack Obama sharply reduced logging in old-growth forests to save an endangered bird, the northern spotted