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May 20th, 2009 HENRY STERN | News Stories
 

Oregon’s Cloudy Forecast

In his own words, Gov. Ted Kulongoski.

     
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When Gov. Ted Kulongoski spoke in March 2008 to City Club of Portland, he told the crowd, “I stand before you today certain in my conviction that this great state is on the threshold of a dream.”

Fourteen months later, when the governor returned to City Club last Friday (to read details of his speech proposing 12,000 new temporary jobs, go here), the dream is a nightmare.

The state’s March 2008 unemployment rate of 5.7 percent has more than doubled—to about 12 percent. And the state now faces a $4 billion budget hole.

Here’s one unscientific but intriguing way to measure what’s happened in the past 14 months: Using word clouds, see what words Kulongoski magnified—or didn’t magnify—in the two speeches.

Among the governor’s “in” words last year at City Club: “green” (13 mentions) and “sustainable” (9). This year, not so much “green” (6 mentions) or “sustainable” (0).

And among Kulongoski’s new “in” words this year during the economic freefall as compared with last year: “jobs” (24 mentions this year vs. 5 in March 2008) and “tax” (13 vs. 6).

 
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