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The Oregon Constitution and the Proverbial Dog’s Breakfast


It’s not you. The Oregon Constitution is truly the proverbial Dog’s Breakfast (aka dog’s dinner, i.e. a mess and a muddle (edible but maybe not so eatable)). Everyone has known this for a long time and the Oregonian also Says It’s So in its October 11th, 2007, article by Janie Harr, “Tinkering with the constitution an Oregon tradition.”

Given how long the Oregon Constitution has been a dog’s breakfast, should that fact alone determine which way you vote (and there are always other facts to consider)? Or, maybe, we need a committee, commission, task force, whatever, to clean it up. And then again, maybe not. Our Constitution won’t fit into a nice neat pocket version (like this one), but that’s ok – maybe. You have to admit, pocket-size ones entice you to read them, but one the size of a small phone book, not so much.

When was the last time you read the Oregon Constitution?

Excerpt from the Oregonian article:

This is Oregon, where direct representation rules. And where voters have tinkered with the constitution 240 times since they voted back in 1902 to adopt an initiative system that made it easier to do just that.

Today, the document has come to contain a hodgepodge of detailed directives and entitlements that the framers in their handwritten simplicity never imagined.

Voters have legalized state-run gambling in the constitution, enshrined the right to a kicker tax refund and imposed strict limits on property tax increases. The document also specifies that prison inmates must work full time, that alcohol can be served by the glass and how gas tax money must be spent.

“I guess sacred is in the eyes of the beholder,” says Dan Meek, who has spearheaded initiatives on campaign finance and public utilities. He’s not involved in the Measure 50 campaign.

“I see it as a document that should reflect the will of the people, and it has been amended hundreds of times….”

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