Taoiseach is an Irish word meaning ‘the leader’, or, more specifically, the Prime Minister of the Oireachtas, which is the Republic of Ireland’s legislature. The current Taoiseach is Bertie Ahern of the governing Fianna Fail party.
Oregon, with its rich green geography and singular cultural offerings, is in some ways America’s own Ireland. Both share a population of about 4 million, for example. Both have fairly active Green Parties (though few notice it in Oregon), and the distance between Oregon’s two cultural capitals, Portland and Eugene, is about the same distance between Ireland’s two, Dublin and Galway. But enough about that.
Taoiseach prefers all things geographical to just about everything else but local and state politics. The preference is highest, though, when the two categories combine in the form of districts, boundaries, senses of place and the spaces themselves. Oregon is full of high places, low places, open spaces and urban traces.
Beaver Boundary represents an exploratory project to link Oregon politics more thoroughly with Oregon places. As for Oregon itself, the Blue Book references the original boundaries of Oregon when it was accepted into the union of the states on February 14, 1859. To wit:
Beginning one marine league at sea, due west from the point where the forty-second parallel of north latitude intersects the same, thence northerly, at the same distance from the line of the coast lying west and opposite the state, including all islands within the jurisdiction of the United States, to a point due west and opposite the middle of the north ship channel of the Columbia River; thence easterly, to and up the middle channel of said river, and, where it is divided by islands, up the middle and widest channel thereof, to a point near Fort Walla Walla, where the forty-sixth parallel of north latitude crosses said river, thence east, on said parallel, to the middle of the main channel of the Shoshone or Snake River; thence up the middle of the main channel of said river, to the mouth of the Owyhee River; thence due south, to the parallel of latitude forty-two degrees north; thence west, along said parallel, to the place of beginning, including jurisdiction in civil and criminal cases upon the Columbia River and Snake River, concurrently with states and territories of which those rivers form a boundary in common with this state.
It is these words that have created the beautiful borders of our state today.