In this photo taken June 21, 2019, people demonstrating to raise awareness of climate change blocked streets in downtown Portland, Ore. The divide in Oregon between the state’s liberal, urban population centers and its conservative and economically depressed rural areas makes it fertile ground for the political crisis unfolding over a push by Democrats to enact sweeping climate legislation. Just three years after armed militia members took over a national wildlife refuge in southeastern Oregon, some of the same groups are now seizing on a walkout by Oregon’s GOP senators to broadcast their anti-establishment message. (AP Photo/Steven Dubois)

In Oregon, stark rural-urban divide fuels climate dispute

June 26, 2019 - 12:37 am

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The divide in Oregon between the state's liberal urban centers and its conservative rural areas makes it ripe for the political crisis unfolding over sweeping climate legislation.

Eleven Republican senators are entering the seventh day of a walkout to deny the supermajority Democrats the quorum needed to vote on a cap-and-trade bill that would be the second of its kind in the U.S.

The stalemate has drawn international attention to Oregon, in part because right-wing militias have rallied to the Republican cause.

Experts say the standoff was inevitable given the state's political make-up.

Big cities lean left, but about 40% of Oregon residents — mostly in rural areas — vote Republican.

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