As Oregon celebrates its 150th birthday as a state this Saturday, Feb. 14, some might wonder why we're partying.

After all, the state's unemployment rate is 9 percent, the Legislature faces a budget shortfall in the billions, and many businesses are in freefall.

But don't fear—local astrologers say the year ahead for our state, born under the sign of Aquarius, may be an age worth celebrating.

Mark Dodich, a professional astrologer since 1980, says Jupiter—the planet of expansion and blessings—will align with Oregon's sun, a very auspicious sign.

Dodich predicts a big year for entrepreneurs, and thinks Oregon may move forward by pushing for new innovations in energy or concentrating on high tech. But he also foretells that we'll be "shifting gears" for most of the year.

"Clearly this is a year for experimentation and innovation," he says, adding cryptically that the state must first cleanse itself spiritually.

Emily Trinkaus, who has served as the in-house astrologer for and taught astrology workshops at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, Calif., also thinks Oregon will see improvements after what may appear to be a slow start to the next 150 years.

She explains that "a rare alignment of Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune" could bring "us closer to having a state government that is truly by and for the people" (Abraham Lincoln, author of the phrase "of the people, by the people, for the people," in his Gettysburg Address, was also an Aquarius).

But Trinkaus forecasts we're probably due for some disappointment as we realize our leaders have human flaws. She lands on the recent revelation by Mayor Sam Adams that he had lied about his sexual relationship in 2005 with then-18-year-old Beau Breedlove as an augur.

"What's been happening with Sam Adams could be a preview of the kinds of political scandals that we're likely to see on a much bigger scale," Trinkaus explains.

"Printing and publishers, education and schools, the telecommunications industry, and transportation" are all industries that Trinkaus predicts have "good potential for prospering in Oregon this year."

On the flip side, she's less sanguine about "the film industry, legal and illegal drugs and pharmaceuticals, and the conditions of oppressed or impoverished peoples."

Trinkaus recommends that Oregonians focus on community, consciousness and compassion to make the best of 2009 because "we're going to need our friends and neighbors in a very real way."

Of course, one doesn't need to read the stars to see that.