Californication (portmanteau)

Californication is a portmanteau of California and fornication, written about in Time on August 211972 and seen on bumper stickers in the U.S. states of Colorado, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington. It refers primarily to a "haphazard, mindless development that has already gobbled up most of Southern California", which some attribute to an influx of Californians to other states in the Western U.S.


Californication as a pejorative was a culmination of sentiments known in the 1940s, typified by Stewart Holbrook, author and The Oregonian columnist, who campaigned through the fictitious James G. Blaine Society against development and unchecked population growth. Similar groups—such as The Miller Society—jokingly promoted measures like building a high fence all along Interstate 5 to prevent exiting between California and Washington, expelling non-native Oregon born residents, and instituting a $5000 immigration fee.

In 1965, Eugene, Oregon's first planning commission began to question decades of promotion by chambers of commerce and developers. They referred to a 1959 pro-growth development plan and rampant road building as "All the way to San Jose" —an allusion to freeways decreasing neighborhood livability. Interstate 5 from California was completed the year before. Previously, the main route into Oregon from California was through twisty, two-lane Oregon Route 99.

Governor Tom McCall was interviewed by Terry Drinkwater and appeared on national television January 121971 for his acclaimed conservation experience. Extemporaneously he said, "Come visit us again and again. But for heaven's sake, don't come here to live." Almost overnight, bumper stickers that discouraged Oregon immigration were widely seen: The famous radioactive vapors of the Columbia River will get you!, and Oregonians don't tan; they rust. The banner Don't Californicate Oregon became the symbol of James Cloutier's line of "Oregon Ungreeting Cards", which carried sentiments such as "Tom Lawson McCall, governor, on behalf of the citizens of the great state of Oregon, cordially invites you to visit... Washington or California or Idaho or Nevada or Afghanistan".


On November 71972, in a statewide referendum, Colorado voters rejected a bond issue to fund the hosting of the 1976 Winter Olympics. The venue for the games would have been spread over , and was widely viewed as license for unbridled development. As part of the opposition to the bond, the slogan Don't Californicate Colorado was coined, appearing on bumper stickers and placards across the state. This rejection by Colorado voters followed a trend in the western states to blame the arrival of Californians for the urban growth problems experienced in states like Colorado, Montana, New Mexico and Oregon.

See also


Search another word or see Portmanteauon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature