Many Pugetopolitans are now worried about whether, in the process of industrialization, their paradise will be lost. "How can our state grow with grace?" asks Governor Evans. "We have been the beneficiaries of time and space, we have not suffered the silt and smoke of overindustrialization-- yet. We have not succeeded in completely obliterating the beauty of our countryside or polluting our waters--yet. But time, which has been on our side, is rapidly running out."-- Time, 27 May 1966
A motorist who drove from Pocatello to Portland and Seattle and then circled back to Spokane and the Coeur d'Alene mining region in 1950 and repeated that trip in 1990 would have sampled most visible changes that occurred in the Pacific Northwest following the Second World War. Not all changes were as dramatic as those from the growth decade of the 1880s or from the two world wars, but they were significant. This three-chapter overview of recent developments in Pacific Northwest history begins by reflecting on major changes such a traveler might have observed.
Between 1950 and 1990, two-lane U.S. 30, which once threaded its way west across the Snake River plain and along the south bank of the Columbia River, was supplanted by Interstate 84, a four-lane superhighway that was part of a forty-one thousand-mile national network authorized by Congress