On the Cusp of Chaos. By W. Scott Jorgensen. September 2015. 166 pages. ISBN-13 978-0945648291. Price $14.95.
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From the Introduction.
This book has three main themes. It’s a look inside Oregon’s state capitol, its urban-rural divide and the last days of former Governor John Kitzhaber’s administration.
The main title refers to the tensions that exist in these settings and the challenges faced by our public institutions and the people in them. It’s about everything that goes into keeping it all going on a daily basis.
This work consists of observations from inside and outside the capitol as I made my way around the state, and the very obvious disconnects between what happens in those places. It also includes various columns I’ve written and some speeches I’ve given that matched those general themes.
Every effort was also made to include those concepts in the front and back cover art. I wanted to capture the feel of being outside of the capitol and looking in, as well as from the inside looking out to represent that sense of duality.
I also realized, as this book was coming together, that I had several pictures that could shed further light on the look and feel of the capitol building during a legislative session. Those are included in a photo section in the middle of the book.
One of my other goals in writing this was to make sure that no more than half of it took place in Salem. There are chapters from literally all over the state to further illustrate the many differences all over.
What follows is a look at two regular legislative sessions, one special session, one short session, a primary election and a general election, all of which took place in the space of two and a half years.
I never grew up thinking or knowing that I would ever work at a state capitol. But after years as a small-town reporter covering city and county government, I became increasingly curious about how the process works in that sort of setting.
Throughout countless council meetings and interviews at city hall, I would constantly hear about unfunded mandates and so much else being thrust down upon our local officials by people located many hours away at the capitol.
“What exactly are they doing up there, and do they realize what they’re doing to these people down here?!?”
Perhaps this book can provide answers to some of those questions.
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On the Cusp of Chaos. By W. Scott Jorgensen. 166 pages. $14.95.