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Legislature focuses on nuts and bolts

The legislative session that just ended in Oregon will not be a particularly memorable one. And for that, we all ought to be thankful.

While other Legislatures throughout the nation were imploding into partisan brawls under intense budget-cutting pressure, Oregon experienced a fairly typical session with only the mildest of political fights between the two major parties. In the end, the 2011 Legislature accomplished the things it had to do - such as approving a biennial budget and dodging some of the toughest questions, including further reform of the Public Employees Retirement System.

The Legislature's tone actually was improved by the fact that both the House and the Senate were so closely divided between Republicans and Democrats. The House, with a 30-30 split, demonstrated that it's possible for two parties to govern in tandem and without attempting to continually scapegoat the other side.