List of Oregon state symbols
The U.S. state of Oregon has 27 official emblems, as designated by the Oregon State Legislature. Most of the symbols are listed in Title 19, Chapter 186 of the Oregon Revised Statutes (2011 edition). Oregon's first symbol was the motto Alis Volat Propriis, written and translated in 1854. Latin for "She Flies With Her Own Wings", the motto remained unchanged until 1957, when "The Union" became the official state motto. Alis Volat Propriis became the state motto once again in 1987. Originally designed in 1857, usage of the Oregon State Seal began after Oregon became the 33rd state of the United States on February 14, 1859. The motto and seal served as Oregon's only symbols until over 50 years later, when the Oregon-grape became the state flower in 1899. Oregon had six official symbols by 1950 and 22 symbols by 2000. The newest symbol of Oregon is brewer's yeast, declared the state microbe in 2013.
While some of the symbols are unique to Oregon, others are used by multiple states. For example, the western meadowlark, Oregon's state bird, is also an official symbol for Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wyoming. The North American beaver is also the state animal of New York, and the Chinook salmon (sometimes known as the king salmon) is also the state fish of Alaska. The square dance and milk are commonly used state dances and state beverages, respectively.
|Animal|| American beaver
|Found in most of the larger streams and rivers in Oregon, the beaver is the largest of the North American rodents. Once overtrapped by early settlers and prized for its fur, populations have recovered through management and partial protection. Oregon is known as "The Beaver State" and Oregon State University's athletic teams are called the Beavers.||1969|
|Beverage||Milk||Milk was recognized as the state's beverage because the production and manufacture of dairy products are major contributors to Oregon's economy. Tillamook County is particularly known for its dairy farms. Water had also been proposed as the state beverage in the same legislative session, but that proposal was tabled in favor of milk.||1997|
|Bird|| Western meadowlark
|Chosen as the state bird in 1927 by Oregon's school children in a poll sponsored by the Oregon Audubon Society, the western meadowlark is native throughout western North America and is known for its "distinctive and beautiful song."||1927|
|Crustacean|| Dungeness crab
|Based on lobbying from school children at Sunset Primary School in West Linn, Oregon, and citing its importance to the Oregon economy, the Oregon State Legislature designated the Dungeness crab as the state crustacean in 2009.||2009|
|Dance||Square dance||A folk dance with four couples (eight dancers) arranged in a square, the "lively spirit of the [square] dance exemplifies the friendly, free nature and enthusiasm that are a part of the Oregon Character." The "Oregon Waltz" had been proposed as the state waltz in 1997, but the proposal was rejected.||1977|
|Father||Dr. John McLoughlin||McLoughlin was the chief factor of the Columbia Fur District of the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Vancouver. In the late 1840s his general store in Oregon City was famous as the last stop on the Oregon Trail. He became designated as the "Father of Oregon" for his role in assisting the American cause in the Oregon Country.||1957|| |
|Fish|| Chinook salmon
|Salmon was essential for the coastal Native Americans' life, and was the subject of many legends and taboos. The largest of the Pacific salmon, the Chinook provides both sport and commercial fishing, but is under threat from dams and fishing.||1961|
|Flag||Flag of Oregon||Oregon's flag is navy blue with gold lettering and imagery, and is the only current flag in the U.S. to have a different pattern on the reverse side. The obverse depicts the state seal with "STATE OF OREGON" displayed above and "1859" displayed below (the year Oregon was admitted to The Union). The reverse depicts a beaver in the center.||1925||
|Native to the North American west coast, the Oregon-grape is an evergreen shrub that contains small purplish-black fruits that were included in smaller quantities in the traditional diets of Pacific Northwest aboriginal peoples. Today they are sometimes used to make jelly, alone or mixed with salal berries, another berry native to the Northwest.||1899|
|Fossil||Metasequoia||Dawn redwood flourished in the Miocene epoch and would become one of the most abundantly found fossils in Oregon today. While long extinct in the state, paleontologists discovered living 100-foot (30 m) Metasequoia trees in China more than 50 years ago and brought live trees back to the U.S. for propagation, thus ensuring their continued survival.||2005|| |
|Pear orchards flourish in Oregon's river valley growing regions, producing about 800 million pears per year. Pears are Oregon's number one tree fruit crop.||2005|
|Gemstone||Oregon sunstone||Sunstones are plagioclase feldspars, which when viewed from certain directions exhibit a brilliant spangled appearance. The gemstone has increased tourism and economic development in southeastern Oregon, attracting collectors and miners to the region.||1987|
|Hostess||Miss Oregon||Founded in 1947 as the Miss Oregon Pageant by merchants in the coastal city of Seaside, the competition is a regional scholarship contest and beauty pageant that selects the representative for Oregon in the Miss America pageant. The annual event includes contestants from across the state and awards scholarships to the participants.||1969|
|Insect|| Oregon swallowtail
|Containing the word Oregon in both its common and scientific names, this swallowtail species is native to the Northwest region, primarily found in the sagebrush canyons of the Columbia River and its tributaries.||1979|
|Microbe|| Brewer's yeast
|S. cerevisiae has been instrumental to winemaking, baking and brewing since ancient times as the yeast behind the most common type of fermentation. It is a unicellular fungus about 5–10 micrometres in diameter. In addition to its role in food production, the yeast is used as a model organism for the study of aging, genomics, and other topics.||2013|| |
|Mother||Tabitha Brown||Brown was a pioneer emigrant who traveled the Oregon Trail to the Oregon Country, where she helped to found Tualatin Academy, which would grow to become Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. Brown was titled the "Mother of Oregon" for representing the "distinctive pioneer heritage and the charitable and compassionate nature of Oregon's people."||1987|
|Motto||Alis Volat Propriis||Latin for "She Flies With Her Own Wings", Alis Volat Propriis was the motto of Oregon from 1854 until it was changed to "The Union" in 1957. Written by Judge Jesse Quinn Thornton, the original motto was adopted once again by the 1987 Legislature.|| 1987
|Mushroom|| Pacific golden chanterelle
|Most known for its "golden hue, chalice shape and delicate woodsy flavor", the Pacific golden chanterelle is a fungus found throughout Oregon's conifer forests. Tillamook State Forest annually produces one of the world's largest chanterelle harvests.||1999|
|Nut||Hazelnut||Hazelnuts, also known as filberts, are produced in commercial quantities in Oregon, which has an ideal climate for growing the nuts. According to the state, Oregon's Willamette Valley is home to 99% of the U.S. hazelnut industry.||1989|
|Rock||Thunderegg||Nodule-like geological structures similar to geodes, thundereggs are rough spheres found throughout Oregon, the largest deposits found in Crook, Jefferson, Malheur, Wasco and Wheeler counties. The world's largest thunderegg, a 1.75 ton specimen, is housed by the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals in Oregon.||1965|
|Seal||Oregon State Seal||In 1857, a resolution adopted by the Oregon Constitutional Convention authorized the president to appoint a committee consisting of Benjamin F. Burch, La Fayette Grover and James K. Kelly to design a new seal to be used once statehood was achieved. Harvey Gordon designed the seal, though additions were added through committee recommendations. Usage began after Oregon became the 33rd state on February 14, 1859.||1859|| |
|Seashell|| Oregon hairy triton
|Named oregonensis by conchologist John Howard Redfield in 1846 to honor the Oregon Territory, the Oregon hairy triton is covered with bristly periostracum and found along the West Coast, washing up at high tide.||1991|| |
|Soil||Jory soil||A very deep, well-drained soil that forms in colluvium derived from basic igneous rock and found in the foothills surrounding the Willamette Valley. These soils have been mapped on more than 300,000 acres (1,200 km2) in western Oregon and are named for the Jory family, who settled in the area in 1852 after traveling along the Oregon Trail. Jory soils are productive forest soils that support Oregon's stands of Douglas fir and Oregon white oak, as well as many Oregon crops, including Christmas trees, berries, filberts, grass seed, and the grapes used in the Oregon wine industry.||2011|| |
|Song||"Oregon, My Oregon"||In 1920, the Society of Oregon Composers held a competition to select a state song. The winning entry was a collaboration between lyricist John Andrew Buchanan and composer Henry Bernard Murtagh.||1927|
|Statehood pageant||Champoeg Historical Pageant||Each summer, the Champoeg Historical Pageant takes place at Champoeg State Park, where the first Oregon government was formed. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department encourages the development of the pageant and promotes increased attendance at its performances.||1987|
|Team||Portland Trail Blazers of 1990–1991||The Trail Blazers of 1990–1991 were designated as the official team of Oregon for their success in setting a franchise record of 63 victories, including a 16-game winning streak.||1991|
|Named after David Douglas, a Scottish botanist who traveled through Oregon in the 1820s, the Douglas-fir is an evergreen conifer dominant throughout the region, occurring in nearly all forest types and able to compete well on most parent materials and slopes. Due to its "strength, stiffness and moderate weight", the species is an invaluable timber product.||1939|
Unofficial symbols and unsuccessful proposals
While most states have an official nickname, the Oregon Legislature never officially adopted one. Oregon's unofficial nickname is "The Beaver State". Unofficial slogans for Oregon include "things look different here" and "Oregon, We Love Dreamers", the latter of which alludes to the "basic sense of idealism" of the state's culture.
Several symbols have been proposed for addition to the list of official state symbols but were never adopted. The "Oregon Waltz" was approved as the state waltz by the Oregon House in 1997, but the proposal did not succeed in the Senate. In 2001, legislation designating the Kiger Mustang, a horse breed unique to southeastern Oregon, as the state horse was introduced, but not adopted. It was suggested in 2003 that Oregon have an official state tartan, but the bill never passed out of committee.
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