Testimony before the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on SB 823 A, prohibiting development along the Oregon Trail

Steve BucksteinGood afternoon Chair Roblan and members of the Committee. My name is Steve Buckstein. I’m Senior Policy Analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute, a Portland-based think tank that promotes individual liberty, personal responsibility and economic opportunity in Oregon.

The pioneers walked 2,000 miles from Missouri, risking life and limb, to build a new life for themselves and their families in the open west. Some never made it, dying along the way. The Oregon Trail was all about progress. It was all about opportunity. It was all about the right to own and control one’s own property. In short, it was all about freedom.

The pioneers wanted freedom from the very kinds of government regulation that this committee is considering here today.

If the intent of this bill is to preserve an important part of Oregon’s history, that could be done by protecting select segments of the Trail.

But if this bill becomes law, it will add a dark chapter to the Trail’s history. It will tell future generations that we turned our backs on some of the very values the pioneers risked their lives to achieve along the Oregon Trail.

Oregon is still part of America, the land of the free. Let’s keep it that way by preserving the right of those living along the Oregon Trail to use their property as they wish.

Thank you for listening, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions.

You can listen to the entire hearing.
My testimony begins at 1:03:13.

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