A Brief History of Cascadia 1983 to Present

History to 1846 | 1846 to 1952 | 1952 to 1982 | 1983 to Present

 

In more recent years, a more organized movement calling for the re-unification of the original Oregon Country (which included the area of the modern day southern British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and Idaho into a single entity for the purpose of gaining independence from both the United States and Canada has come into being under the name of Cascadia. Supporters of the Evergreen Revolution hope to one day achieve the independence of Cascadia through peaceful means, through a referendum of the people and much the same way as was done in the former Czecho-Slovakia’s Velvet Revolution in 1989.

In the 1990’s the idea of Cascadia as an economic cross-border region became embraced by a wide diversity of civic leaders and organizations. The “Main Street Cascadia” transportation corridor concept was formed by former mayor of Seattle Paul Schell during 1991 and 1992. Schell later defended his cross-border efforts during the 1999 American Planning Association convention, saying “that Cascadia represents better than states, countries and cities the cultural and geographical realities of the corridor from Eugene to Vancouver, B.C.” Schell also formed the Cascadia Mayors Council, bringing together mayors from cities along the corridor from Whistler, BC, to Medford, Oregon. The council last met in May, 2004. Other cross-border groups were set up in the 1990s, such as the Cascadia Economic Council and the Cascadia Corridor Commission. Another report commissioned at this time went so far as to claim:

Cascadia is a shared notion, and one in active evolution. We’re still inventing ourselves as a regional culture. Cascadia is a recognition of emerging realities, a way to celebtrate commonality with diversity, a way to make the whole more than the sum of it’s parts. Cascadia is not a State, but a state of mind. But a state of mind can have important practical consequences.

Cascadia also exhibits binational and regional cooperation, governing bodies as well as cross-border NGOs. These ties continue to be strengthened through initiatives such as the establishment of a cross-border state ID card in 2006, the ‘Pacific Coast Collaboration’ agreement (PCC) signed by the governors of California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska and the premier of British Columbia in 2008, the bioregional ‘Cascadia Mayors Council’ founded in 1996 and the establishment of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region in 1991, a regional U.S.-Canadian forum in which all legislative members and governors are voting members, along with a consortium of the regions most powerful non-profit, public and private sector companies. PNWER is recognized by both the United States and Canada as the “model” for regional and bi-national cooperation that provides the public and private sectors a cross-border forum that legal scholar Andrew Petter, a former BC cabinet minister and President of Simon Fraser University, describes as one of North America’s most sophisticated examples of “regionalist paradiplomacy”. PNWER is the only statutory, non-partisan, bi-national, public/private partnership in North America.

The area from Vancouver B.C. down to Portland has been termed an emerging megaregion by the National Committee for America 2050, a coalition of regional planners, scholars, and policy-makers. This group defines a megaregion as an area where “boundaries [between metropolitan regions] begin to blur, creating a new scale of geography”. These areas have interlocking economic systems, shared natural resources and ecosystems, and common transportation systems link these population centers together. This area contains 17% of Cascadian land mass, but more than 80% of the Cascadian population.

On September 9, 2001, the Cascadian National Party website was launched on Angelfire but faltered quickly due to the terrorist attacks on September 11th.

Cascadian movements and organizations generally state that their political motivations deal mostly with political, economic, cultural and ecological ties, as well as the beliefs that the eastern federal governments are out of touch, slow to respond, and hinder state and provincial attempts at further bioregional integration. These connections go back to the Oregon Territory, and further back to the Oregon Country, the land most commonly associated with Cascadia, and the last time the region was treated as a single political unit, though administered by two countries.

While support for the movement is difficult to gauge, a research study by the Western Standard in 2005 found that support for exploring secession from Canada was at 35.7% in British Columbia, and 42% in Alberta. While difficult to gauge support specifically in Washington and Oregon, because no research has been done for those states, a nationwide poll by Zogby International in 2008 found that 22% of Americans now support a state’s or region’s right to peacefully secede from the United States, the highest rate since the American Civil War and a number that has probably significantly increased over the past 6 years. In addition, studies from 2012 have shown 81% of Americans feel that their country is on the wrong track, 9% approve of the US congress (the lowest in recorded history), while support for the democratic and republican parties each sit at roughly 30%.

Today, the primary organization promoting regional autonomy and independence is the Cascadian Independence Project.

While the majority of organizing is done through online platforms such as Facebook, reddit, and twitter, the group serves as a central hub, embracing a non-traditional, non-hierarchical, horizontal organizing model. The group now has 2,200 members on Myspace, 2,200 readers on the Cascadia Subreddit, 1,600 on Facebook, with dozens of members actively working within chapters, groups or as regional coordinators in more than 20 cities throughout the Northwest, including Vancouver BC, Victoria, Bellingham, Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, Walla Walla, Spokane, Olympia, Portland, Eugene, and Salem, San Francisco and Fairbanks, Alaska.

Other groups discussing the Cascadia concept, such as the Sightline Institute, Crosscut.com, and Cascadia Prospectus, see the concept as one of a transnational cooperative identity, not secession. Still others, such as The Republic of Cascadia which runs the Save the Pacific Northwest Octopus Campaign and Sasquatch Militia, are whimsical expressions of political protest.

 

History to 1846 | 1846 to 1952 | 1952 to 1982 | 1983 to Present