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Oregon Cultural Symbols

Oregon’s ten official cultural symbols focus heavily on people, similar to Massachusetts.

Cultural Symbols  
Colors navy blue and gold 1959
Mother of Oregon Tabitha Moffatt Brown 1987
Father of Oregon Dr. John McLoughlin 1957
Hostess Miss Oregon 1969
Team Portland Trail Blazers 1991
Pie marionberry pie 2017
Beverage milk Redundant Symbol 1997
Dance square dance Redundant Symbol 1977
Statehood Pageant The Champoeg Historical Pageant 1987
Outdoor Pageant and Wild West Show Happy Canyon Indian Pageant and Wild West Show 2011
Oregon Cultural Symbols(Paul Allen: By Miles Harris – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, link.)

Oregon’s state beverage and dance, milk and the square dance, have been adopted by many states. They’ve become among the least meaningful state symbols.

Another question mark is Oregon’s official team, the Portland Trail Blazers. The team was owned by Paul Allen, a very sleazy man who was born in Seattle, Washington. Allen co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates and became a multi-billionaire. Yet he used his power to rip off ordinary citizens, even making them pay for his Seattle sports stadium. (Members of Allen’s soccer team advertise Xbox on their Jerseys.)

However, Oregon also adopted a couple respectable people. Dr. John McLoughlin was named the official Father of Oregon because of his contributions to the development of the Oregon Territory. Ironically, he wanted Oregon to become a sovereign nation, not a state.

Tabitha Moffatt Brown is the official Mother of Oregon. She joined a wagon train bound from Missouri to Oregon in 1846—at the age of 66!

After enduring much hardship and loss, Tabitha arrived in Salem, Oregon, where she built a home and school for orphans. She also helped start Tualatin Academy in Forest Grove, which later expanded into Pacific University. Brown left a valuable record of early Oregon in her writings.

Oregon’s history is also recalled by its official statehood pageant, the Champoeg Historical Pageant. Yet another historic symbol is the Happy Canyon Indian Pageant and Wild West Show.

Oregon apparently has an official tartan, though it appears to be a closely guarded secret. According to some sources, it was adopted in 2017.

The color blue recalls the state flag and Oregon’s rivers and the sea. Streams, creeks, wetlands, shallow lakes, and the sky are represented by azure. (What about deep lakes?) Gold (also from the flag) represents Oregon’s agricultural regions.

Taupe (light brown) represents the high desert and grasslands. White is for snow-capped mountains, while black represents obsidian buttes (hills of volcanic glass).


There was an unsuccessful attempt to make the marionberry Oregon’s state berry or fruit. However, it wasn’t a complete failure, because marionberry pie is now the official state pie.

The marionberry, by the way, is a type of blackberry bred at the Oregon State University.

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