SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Legislative sessions can be dull and boring, but Oregon lawmakers Wednesday moved to commemorate the humdrum — even if no one is quite sure how.
Based on their mundane names, the rural communities of Dull, Scotland, and Boring, Oregon, formed an international partnership last year to build cultural and commercial connections. And Oregon House lawmakers took that a step further with a vote to make Aug. 9 Boring and Dull Day in the state, putting the name of the U.S. town first despite mild objections from their European counterparts.
The plan, which now heads to the state Senate, is intended to boost tourism, and the date this summer marks one year from the day the towns were officially dubbed a "pair for the ages."
Republican Rep. Bill Kennener, the proposal's sponsor, announced the measure with a meandering, tongue-in-cheek, 10-minute speech — that never got around to saying what Oregon residents might do in observance.
"While some might be inclined to call this frivolous, the reality is that this attention is attracting tourism and commerce to this Boring section of Oregon" he said, pun intended.
A fellow Republican, Rep. Kevin Cameron, quipped that he spotted an intern falling asleep during the address, drawing laughs from the chamber.
Stephen Bates, the unofficial mayor of Boring, said the idea to pair the communities came from a Scottish biker who had the rather interesting idea while cycling through the sleepy Oregon town last year. Excited by her Boring discovery, she brought news of the town's existence across the pond to Dull, prompting talks between the two lazily named towns.
Bates said he's amazed at the international attention the partnership has received.
When tourists "come to Boring I think they realize people aren't so boring or dull," said Bates, who is — officially — chair of the town's Community Planning Organization.
He and a handful of residents plan to visit the Scottish village with a population of 84 in October. Dull is located off a dead-end highway in a spot so precarious that the Boring visit hinges on whether the tour bus will be able to safely turn around.
The Oregon town of 8,000 is located in Clackamas County southeast of Portland and is home to the oldest guide dog training program in the country.
A former resident and ancestor of the town's namesake, Bob Boring said he's delighted the community is getting so much attention.
"It enjoys all the teasing it gets, and it does get a bunch," said the retired math teacher.
"A Boring math teacher," he joked. "What could be worse?"
It wasn't immediately possible to reach anyone in the village of Dull, set in the Scottish Highlands between the River Tay and the deer-filled Dull Wood.
An article published in June in the Scotland on Sunday newspaper said residents generally welcomed the pairing — even if one or two didn't see much humor in the stunt.
Business owner Donald Riddell was one of the supporters, saying: "People see it as a daft joke, but there is a very serious side to this."
"We employ 30 local people here, on a (side) road, in a recession," Riddell was quoted by the newspaper as saying. "Anything that can put us on the map and keep our staff in jobs has to be a good thing."
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Associated Press writer Raphael Satter in London contributed. Follow him on Twitter at http://raphae.li/twitter