My View: Oregonians unite as raining champions
Drip, drip, drip. Snow, ice and rain.
Lots of rain.
It's been record-breaking since December. Yet despite the hard winter, Oregonians continue to name the "climate" or "weather" as one of the things they most value about living in Oregon — and it remains an important reason why people move to our state.
Since 1977, DHM Research has been asking Oregonians, "What do you personally value about living in Oregon?" The climate has always been, and continues to be, one of the most frequent responses. We keep hearing "beautiful climate," "varied climates," "climate with no humidity" and "climate, it's mild." Other common responses are: "weather," "decent weather," "acceptable weather" and "good weather."
Oregonians value our climate in part for its direct relationship to the state's other top attractions: natural beauty, clean air and water, outdoor recreation opportunities and sense of community. People connect the dots and appreciate the contribution that rain, relatively mild temperatures, and the changing seasons contribute to these other features of the state.
"I personally value everything, the weather, how green it is, the fact that I can go to the mountains, or the coast and be there within two hours," one person remarked.
"Fresh air, the climate, more environmentally responsible than many other states, has the ocean and mountains and forests, has no sales tax, has many organic farmers markets, has wine-growing regions, many outdoor sports opportunities, has cultural activities, especially in the cities," another said.
Oregonians' fondness for the climate cuts across population subgroups: young and old, female and male, urban and rural. More telling, it is something Republicans, Democrats and non-affiliated/other voters agree on.
So far, valuing Oregon's climate has survived the hard winter and what looks to be a wet spring. Just a few weeks ago, DHM Research asked Oregonians what they value about living in the state, and once again the climate or weather was a top response along with natural beauty. A word cloud illustrating responses features "natural," "environment," "climate," "beauty," outdoors," "mountains," and "green" as the largest words.
Also, for the first time in a DHM Research survey, we asked respondents who moved to Oregon how important the climate was to them in deciding to move here. Among respondents who said they had moved to Oregon as adults (54 percent of the sample), nearly all said climate was a positive consideration that influenced their decision to come here.
Our climate underpins much of what we value about the state — and it sure beats what many people elsewhere deal with. (As one survey respondent noted, "The weather is great; I can ride my skateboard year-round.")
English art critic John Ruskin could have been writing about Oregon when he said, "Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather."
Adam Davis, who has been conducting opinion research in Oregon for 40 years, is a founding principal in DHM Research, a nonpartisan firm specializing in assisting with public policy-making and communications. He designed the 2002, 2012, and 2013 Oregon Values and Beliefs studies. Visit: dhmresearch.com