Introduction from the Secretary of State
Jeanne P. Atkins is the current secretary of state. This introduction was written before Kate Brown resigned as secretary of state to become governor on February 18, 2015.
Dear Fellow Oregonians:
The Oregon Blue Book is an Oregon institution. It has been published regularly for over 100 years, and the Blue Book holds a special place in the hearts of Oregonians. But like any institution of government, there is always room for improvement. For this installment, we have taken four steps to make the Blue Book more reflective of Oregon, her people, history and government.
First, while the Blue Book has been published for over a century, twenty of Oregon’s thirty-six counties have never been featured on the front cover. With this edition of the Blue Book, I am very pleased that the front cover features a beautiful photograph from Lithia Park, Ashland, in Jackson County, one of the previously unrepresented counties. Oregon is a large and diverse state, and I hope that future Blue Book covers continue to celebrate beautiful landscapes from all parts of Oregon.
Second, I am very proud to introduce a new voice to the Blue Book — the voice of Oregon’s future. This year we asked school children to submit essays about Oregon, with the winners to be published in the Blue Book. We are pleased to announce that this year's inaugural winners of the Oregon Blue Book Essay Contest are Cierra Shapley, a fourth grader at Milwaukie’s Candy Lane Elementary School, for her essay titled “Why I Like Oregon” and Inessa Garrey, a sixth grader at Salem’s Judson Middle School, for her essay titled “Visiting Yaquina Bay.” In addition to the wonderful essays submitted by Cierra and Inessa, you’ll also find essays earning an Honorable Mention designation submitted by students from Astoria, Portland, West Linn, Scotts Mills and Echo. As you read these essays preserved forever in the Blue Book, I hope you feel the same pride for our state that is expressed by our youngest Oregonians. Our future is bright, and I am as proud of these young people as they are of our state.
Third, we have updated the timeline of Oregon’s history to reflect some important dates that were previously not included. These dates include the adoption of Oregon’s public accommodation law in 1953 and the Oregon Equality Act in 2007. Life is an exercise in constant improvement, and Oregon has a long and proud history of progress. Including more of Oregon’s history helps tell the story of our common struggles and mutual successes, and hopefully it will challenge us to make even further progress in the future.
Finally, we asked all state agencies to take a fresh look at their Blue Book entries. The Blue Book is a tool citizens can use to access their government, so it is important that the information truly reflect the mission and role each agency plays in Oregon’s government. I am pleased that the agencies welcomed this opportunity to update their descriptions, and I hope the citizens of Oregon find the information useful.
I hope you enjoy these improvements to the Blue Book, and I’d like to especially recognize Oregon State Archivist Mary Beth Herkert and her team for all of their hard work on this year’s edition. For the next edition, we’ll continue to look for ways to make the Blue Book better while maintaining its special place in the hearts of Oregonians.
Former Secretary of State
P.S. Don’t forget that you can also use this Web site to help us update the Blue Book and make it better and easier to use. Just click on the Contact us link at the bottom of each page.