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“Oregon, My Oregon” Official State Song: Under Assault

February 11, 2017

This past week, Oregon Legislators received the following email:

Dear Representatives,


We need to raise only an additional $4800 to place a two-sided granite memorial stone on the gravesite of the author of our official state song, “Oregon, My Oregon”, the Hon. Judge John Andrew Buchanan, at Ocean View Cemetery in Warrenton, Oregon.The stone will honor his significant accomplishments, contributions and service to Oregonians from McMinnville and Monmouth to Roseburg to Astoria.

The Buchanan Fund account is under the tax-deductible 501(c)(3) of the Clatsop County Historical Society, and now has almost 45% of the total amount ($8728) necessary to place the order for the granite stone. We have received promotional help from the Astoria Chapter of the Daughters of the Revolution (DAR), individual donations (including several from Europe), and a $750 grant awarded by the Clatsop County Cultural Coalition/Oregon Cultural Trust.

Judge Buchanan believed strongly in service for our fellow man. He was a Judge; a State Representative (1909-1912, Douglas and Jackson counties); a WWI Coast Artillery Captain stationed at Ft Stevens; a Civic Leader; an Historian of the Northwest and our Indian lore; and a Poet (author of two books of poetry: Indian Legends and Other Poems and Sunset at the Bar).

Contributions may be made at this link:


I was immediately drawn to help this fund and am now promoting it as the anniversary, the 90th Anniversary, is coming up this Feb. 14th.  But that’s not the end of the story!

On Thursday of this past week, on First Readings in the House, HCR 20 was introduced READ HERE

Why bring attention to this?  The sponsor would like to change the lyrics to “Oregon, My Oregon”.  Why?  Well as the resolution states: “to reflect cultural, historical, economic and societal evolution of State of Oregon.

What could possibly be wrong with the current lyrics, now 90 years old?  Let’s look at the lyrics:

Land of the Empire Builders,
Land of the Golden West;
Conquered and held by free men,
Fairest and the best.
Onward and upward ever,
Forward and on, and on;
Hail to thee, Land of Heroes,
My Oregon.
Land of the rose and sunshine
Land of the summer’s breeze;
Laden with health and vigor,
Fresh from the Western seas.
Blest by the blood of martyrs,
Land of the setting sun;
Hail to thee, Land of Promise,
My Oregon!
Here are the proposed NEW lyrics:

The song “Oregon, My Oregon” be modified by lyrics written by Oregonian Amy Shapiro, so that “Conquered and held by free men,” in the first verse is replaced with

“Land of Majestic Mountains,” and so that “Blest by the blood of martyrs,” in the second verse is replaced with “Blessed by the love of Freedom,”; and be it further Resolved, that as modified, the lyrics of “Oregon, My Oregon” be as follows:

“Land of the Empire Builders,

“Land of the Golden West;

“Land of Majestic Mountains,

“Fairest and the best.

“Onward and upward ever,

“Forward and on, and on;

“Hail to thee, Land of Heroes,

“My Oregon.

“Land of the rose and sunshine

“Land of the summer’s breeze;

“Laden with health and vigor,

“Fresh from the Western seas.

“Blessed by the love of Freedom,

“Land of the setting sun;

“Hail to thee, Land of Promise,

“My Oregon.”

There ya go!  While the GRANDDAUGHTER of the man who wrote this sweeping, wonderful song about our beloved State of Oregon is asking for help to make his gravestone a better memorial…..members of the Legislature seek to “improve” that song!  We MUST stop looking at history through our 21st Century eyes.  We may not always like what history tells us, but we must accept that it is history.  You don’t go changing the words to our State Song!

Wow, just wow!!  Please write the sponsor and leaders of the Legislature to say “Leave our song alone!”


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