Oregon is one of the Pacific coast states that are endowed with strong natural beauty. It is the home to beautiful beaches, forest and rivers. Also, it has high desert and mountains. It’s Cascade Mountains do separate western third that has most cities from dry eastern. It has a population of more than 4 million people. Although, it has modern electronics industry and it is the home to sportswear giant Nike, its main roots are agriculture and forestry. All these are important factors that have an impact on redesigning the Oregon Flag.
The history of Oregon dates back to 1859 when it was made a state. However, it is until 1925 when the adopted the state flag. This was the flag that was used by Oregon Military Department. It is the only flag that has remained for many years among the US states without being changed. Known as “The Beaver State”, it has a unique design on the reverse with beaver, which is regarded as the state animal.
Redesigning the flag
The idea of redesigning the Oregon Flag was launched by two Oregonian staffers who are Editor Joan Carlin and reporter Michael Milstein. It was the ideal time to come up with the idea for the celebration of 150th anniversary. Some of the reasons why the flag needed to be redesigned include:
- It had a poor design. It was quite hard to distinguish from the flags of other states
- The flag received a poor rating from NAVA’s 2001 survey of state flags
- It costs citizens and taxpayers a lot of money
The current flag that has been redesigned is great for the following reasons:
- It is part of the Oregon’s heritage
- It is unique
- The design is considered far better than other designs
The redesigning the Oregon flag contest gave designers one month to submit entries. After a month, there were over 2,500 entries during the deadline day. The contest duration was chosen to give schoolchildren enough time to participate. For instance, several class groups were able to submit large batches of entries. However, the majority of the designs came from the adults. An estimated 15% entries submitted were in electronic form. Some submitted were just verbal descriptions. However, these did not make it to the contest.
The designs that were shortlisted were mainly based on their basic motifs such as beaver, mountain, tree, fish, wagon, O for Oregon, geographic, field division, and other designs. The majority of the motifs were mountain and tree.
A panel of six judges was nominated to select the final ten designs. The judges had the freedom to use flag books and flag catalogs as references. From every motif, they came up with one finalist. With more discussion and consensus in most cases, they were able to pull down to 10 finalists.
The winner of redesigning the Oregon Flag was announced one week before the Oregon’s birthday. They announced that it was necessary to reverse orientation of beaver, and the artists should upgrade the design to make it a winning one. However, at the time the bill was proposed, it could not get a legislator to sponsor the bill. The redesign had to die at the moment.