Short and Sweet and Scattershot

Oregon is Wonderful. Until It Flushes Dollars Down the Drain.

April 29, 2014

Yes, I’ve been singing the praises of my home state, but I’m not above an honest jab at Oregon.

Here’s the thing. The Tourism Board’s inspiring Seven Wonders campaign? It came with a $3 million dollar price tag, but it’s incredible. Beautiful website upgrades. Beautiful graphics. Beautiful videos. Engaging social media efforts. Resources for local businesses and travel industry pros.

It’s a $3 million dollar project set to earn the state more revenue.

Our Cover Oregon healthcare debacle on the other hand?

A quarter of a BILLION dollars spent for a website that didn’t work and a couple of music videos that earned Oregonians the the new moniker “Human Pinterest boards.”

[Didn’t catch the music videos? They’re both in this post from last fall: Oregonians: If You Haven’t Got Your Health…]

Interesting. Of the $248 million dollars flushed down the toilet, $3 million went to said music videos (that some mistook for “a lousy travel ad,” by the way).

So, that jab?

HBO comedian John Oliver swung some pretty painfully honest punches this week.

“We get it Oregon, you people live in a cartoon. Your mountains are breathtaking, your coffee is fair trade, and everywhere you go you hear the sound of f*&@ing ukuleles,” he said. “You’ve made your point, but here’s the thing. This is all very charming until you waste tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on a website that doesn’t work. Luckily, we here have prepared something to convey that message to you in a way that I think you’ll be able to understand.”

Drumroll, please? The HBO parody music video says it all [jump to 1:58 for the song].
*Please pardon the language and the equally offensive healthcare mess here in Oregon.

Speaking of other dead projects with hefty price tags: The Oregon/Washington Columbia River Crossing got the ax this year after 15 years and $195 million dollars.

Failures in social work, failures in landscape architecture. Oh, Oregon.


As an aside, Ted and I were doing the math. Those two projects alone represent just about enough money to complete the Knight Cancer Challenge: Nike-Daddy Phil Knight and his wife Peggy have pledged half a billion dollars to the Oregon Health & Sciences University “to find smarter, faster ways to detect cancer when the disease is most curable” if OHSU can raise $500 million in matching funds during a two year window.

But really, who has half a billion to blow?

Oh, wait.


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  • The Journey Itself May 30, 2014 at 11:23 am

    We laughed SO HARD at that music video, though.

  • Bethany & Ted - twoOregonians May 30, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Right?? So true/awful.