This Time, California Really is to Blame | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Opinion » Editorial

This Time, California Really is to Blame


We know what you're thinking: That morning sun is great and all, but getting home from work in the dark is the pits.

We also know what you're asking: Didn't we vote to get rid of this madness of changing the clocks forward and back two times a year? Yes, Oregon, we did. And the reason we're haven't yet stopped changing the clocks plays into one of Oregonians' favorite hobbies: blaming California.

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Real estate inventory getting low and prices high? Blame Californians.

Homelessness at a breaking point? Californians, obviously.

Ski resorts catering to the rich? It's all those Bay-Area skiers.

Too many Parkway speeders? It's the California transplants.

As much as we want to dismiss the generally overblown sentiment that Californians are to blame for everything bad in Oregon, in the case of the time change, the Golden State really is the culprit.

The Oregon legislature in 2019 approved a law that would have allowed Oregon to stay in daylight saving time—the time we just "fell back" from earlier this month—year-round. Provided that all three states in the Pacific time zone approve of the change, Congress would be more likely to make changes to the federal law that currently prohibits us from staying in daylight saving time all year long. Both Oregon and Washington approved their versions in 2019, and both governors have signed their respective bills, but California's legislature has yet to pass theirs. When and if that happens, the three states could make their case to Congress to change the law around daylight saving time.

With that, November would no longer be the month in which you wake up before dawn, unsure whether it's prudent to go back to bed or to somehow make use of this morning glory. (Morning people, we know you'll take exception to this characterization, but us normal schlubs maintain that you're in the minority.) It would no longer be the month where you're suddenly scrambling to find headlamps and reflective clothing just to take a walk after 4pm. Instead, we'd slide more slowly into the darkness that is inevitable this time of year.

The guardrails around standard time and daylight saving time were established over 100 years ago, and with the will of the people up and down the West Coast, we could see them changed. If California's lawmakers will not act, then the other option is to pass a new measure in Oregon that keeps us on standard time—something that doesn't require approval from Congress, but does require another round of voting for our state. But that option would still leave us in the same boat as we are now: scrambling for a scrap of daylight at the end of our days.

Maybe the age-old scapegoat of "blame California" is better after all.

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Correction: The original version of this story stated that Oregon voters approved a measure to stay in daylight saving time. It was the Oregon legislature that approved the move to stay in daylight saving time, not Oregon voters. We regret the error.

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