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The Executive Republic of Portland, commonly called only Portland is a state located around the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. An elective republic with the gurus of the Church of the One as electors of the Chief Executive, Portland is considered an elective theocratic republic, and is also known as a city-state. As the head of the powerful Pact of Tualatin, Portland is one of the most powerful nations in the Cascadia region, with their vast coffers of wealth, they hire the finest mercenaries for their military, most notably the fabled Cascadian Pikes.
The origins of the Executive Republic are shrouded in mystery, as no records survived the Chaos, and the Portland area itself was presumed to be depopulated. The Pacific Northwest was one of the first regions to be abandoned by the US, around the late 1850s, owing to its distance from Washington DC and how remote the region was. The surrounding countryside was then plagued by wars and raids over farmlands and supplies until the self-proclaimed mayor of the city of Oswego (Lake Oswego after OTL 1950s), an ex-Army lieutenant by the name of Aaron Schwartz established control over many of the neighboring regions, circa 1877, via shrewd treaties, charisma, and a certain amount of military expertise.
Oswego, then a powerful regional city state, had what most other settlements nearby lacked, a strong leader and a strong system of government, with Schwartz as the benevolent dictator of the town. Many settlements were eager to join Oswego, but others were more hesitant, owing to the extension of Schwartz's full powers over their nation when annexed and his strange religious beliefs, as he was a proto-New Ager, with his religious beliefs having been developed during the Chaos.
A coalition against Oswego soon developed between the established towns of Wilsonville, Oregon City, Tigard, and Tualatin to contain the rapidly-expanding Lake Oswego. An uneasy peace became all-out war in 1879, when a skirmish broke out between fishing boats in the Willamette River between Lake Oswego and Oregon City. The Tualatin Valley War had begun. Oswego outfitted its fishing fleet for war and the first battles began. Most of the early fights were small and between a few fishing vessels in the Willamette River, as the Coalition was afraid to attack Oswego, as the nation had hired mercenaries from the disorganized lands to the east.
In the dead of night, however, Oswego sent out hired mercenaries eager for plunder at Oregon City, kick starting a long tradition by. The military of Oregon City moved to the hills to the southeast to distract them. The mercenaries, no stranger to fighting in the hills, dispersed and turned the fight into a drawn-out guerrilla war. Meanwhile, Oswego sent its navy into the almost-undefended Oregon City, with fireships destroying its fishing fleet, anchored below Willamette Falls, and soldiers leaving the ships to capture Oregon City. Oregon City itself emerged from the conquest mostly unharmed, as Schwartz rewarded those who fought bravely on both sides, and the town had a high population of Oswego-sympathizers.
Oswego's eyes were then on the rest of the coalition, namely Wilsonville, as it was the smallest town of the bunch, and due to the capture of Oregon City, Oswego had the capability to use boats above Willamette Falls, to sink the bridge crossing the Willamette, and blockade the town off with its military and its navy. Wilsonville was easily captured and it was looted and burnt to the ground, hoping to send a signal for the two remaining towns to surrender. The signal worked, and Tigard and Tualitan surrendered.
On November 1, 1879, the historic Treaty of Tualatin was signed between the coalition of the city-states of Tigard and Tualatin, and the city-state of Oswego. In the treaty, Oswego annexed Oregon City, and the lands around it, but established Oregon City as its southern border. Oswego was established as the Executive Republic of Greater Oswego, and most importantly, Tigard and Tualatin were mostly spared from the harsh consequences that they thought they would receive when they surrendered to the Oswegans establishing the historic Pact of Tualatin, an alliance of smaller city-states that had special trading rights with Oswego (later Portland), but had to provide tribute and soldiers for the military. The two city-states were later annexed, in 1889.
The next decade consisted of Greater Oswego gradually expanding across the area south of Portland, with towns such as Beaverton, Hillsboro, Forest Grove, Clackamas, and Milwaukie joining the Pact and later the nation. By 1887, Greater Oswego, now renamed the Executive Republic of the Upper Willamette was knocking on the door of the ruins of towns to the south of Portland. The Portland area was mostly depopulated during the Chaos and was split between a diverse group of settlers that had called the remnants of the region home.
Schwartz stated his intention to "hold glorious Oregon from the Willamette Falls to the Cascade Falls, and stopped at nothing to retake Portland, his home town. Boats were sent downriver to claim the southern waterfront region of the city, which was contested at the time. The Willametters, using more advanced weapons and tactics than the natives of the cities quickly drove them out and fortified a section of the coast, naming it "Elk Point" after the high amount of elk that grazed in the region.
Using Elk Point as an outpost, a desperate guerrilla war was fought between the Portlanders (Portland, although being a small town, was the general name for the region at the time) and the Willametters over who would control the region. The lower reaches of the Willamette River were easily taken, and as the Willametter settlements spread out from the banks of Portland, the natives of the city were hard-pressed to join, leave, or die. By 1924, all of the Portland area was reclaimed by Willametters.
Land grants were given to trusted friends of Schwartz of the newly conquered land, and they were transformed into fiefs. Many people from the upper regions of the Willamette River were given the incentive to move north to the area around the mouth and Portland. Many moved into the region, kick starting its population, yet many stayed upriver in the established cities. This migration was the source of a future "upstream-downstream" rivalry.
Portland is an elective theocratic republic, with the chief executive of Portland being elected from one of five dynasties descended from the children of Aaron Schwartz. They are the Wilsons, Williams, Lees, Andersons, and Millers, with each dynasty nominating one member of their family to gain favor with the Elders of the One, the electors of the Executive Republic.
Portland, having been recently settled gave it little in the way of a unique culture compared to the rest of North America, having much of the same "American frontier culture" as the rest of the western US. However, due to the Great Chaos and isolation from the rest of North America, Portland (and most of the area around it) had time to develop a distinct culture in the years after the Great Chaos.
After the Chaos, many people in the region that would later become the Executive Republic thought that the God of Christianity had abandoned them, and many thought that the destruction of modern civilization was a result of mankind's industrialization, urbanization, and abandonment of a traditional lifestyle. Many then began to explore new religions and faiths. The American Indian population of this region, though reduced from its original count, was still common and many began to turn to Native American Shamanism, especially as the American Indian and White American populations began to mix, with elements of a New Age-esque "Mother Earth" figure, as the Pacific Northwest is extremely fertile and ecologically diverse, leading many to believe that the Earth had supported them through the catastrophe of the Chaos.
Though new faiths were emerging, they were confined to the very isolated regions around the Coastal Range, Klamath Mountains, and Cascade Mountains. The interior of what was once Oregon, where Portland would later emerge in, remained mostly Christian, if only in culture. That began to change around the 1870s when a semi-mythical monk by the name of John Franklin of one-quarter Chinese descent ventured down into the Tualatin Valley from the Coastal Range. Franklin, who had learned small amounts of Buddhism from his grandfather, began to get interested in religion and began trading the goods that his family and other nearby families made on their farms with the more heavily populated valleys to the east. He began traveling around much of the region, recording and codifying the faiths of various peoples throughout what was once Western Oregon.
Circa 1870, when Franklin traveled down into the Tualatin Valley, it was populated by several small city-states that loosely presided over nearby farms. The entire region was ripe for change, as the inhabitants of the region were merely eking out their lives, barely surviving on what they had after the Chaos. Over his time trading with the locals, he began to share his beliefs with people of the area, stating that he believed that the Chaos was caused by rapid urbanization and wars, and he began to preach to a local group of followers a mixture of Christian, Buddhist and shamanistic faiths that he had compiled in his book.
The faith, known simply as the "One" or the "Unity", stated that God is in everything and is everything and that there are several prophets that teach the ways of God, known as nonviolence, moderation, respect, honesty, and love. These codes have manifested themselves in several religious code of laws, such as the Ten Commandments and the Eightfold Path. Jesus was the re-incarnation of the Buddha. Franklin's followers began to believe that he was the next in a long line of prophets, and his views, slowly but surely, gained several followers.
The first leader to convert to the "One" was James Stanford, sheriff-count of the town of Forest Grove. Many soon followed and eventually, the new "Church of the One" was a major regional religion. Many other faiths came together over time in what was once Oregon under the umbrella of the Church of the One, and soon, John Franklin's original beliefs were a far cry from the various forms of the One that were being practiced throughout the Willamette Valley.
Not until Aaron Schwartz converted to the Church of the One was John Franklin anything more than one person in a long list of "founders" of the One. John Franklin's aspect in creating the Church began to be overplayed when Aaron converted to the Western branch of the Church of the One (the branch founded by Franklin) and he wanted to produce a holy book and code of laws for the religion. Schwartz hired scribes of the Western branch of the One to create a Holy Book of the One, and they inevitably exaggerated Franklin's role in the creation of the faith.