Resolution would make Oregon tartan an official state symbol

The Oregon tartan. Under a proposed resolution in the Oregon House, the tartan may become an official state symbol.

SALEM — Under a proposed resolution in the Oregon House, the state may soon get its own official tartan — the multicolored stuff of which kilts are made.

A resolution in 2003 recognized the tartan’s distinct pattern, the many colors of which are intended to symbolize the state’s abundant natural resources.

The tartan has already been recognized by the Scottish Register of Tartans, and State Rep. Margaret Doherty, D-Tigard, who is behind this year’s resolution, says she has a state tartan pillow in her office.

But this year’s resolution would designate the tartan as an official state symbol — in the class of the state bird, state nut, and state microbe.

House Concurrent Resolution 13 is also a symbolic acknowledgment of the contributions of people of Scottish descent to the state of Oregon.

Scots had a role in the European settlement of the American Northwest, first hopping the pond in the late 18th century to participate in the fur trade.

Reminders of this history remain: David Douglas (1799-1834), a Scottish botanist who christened the Douglas Fir tree (coincidentally, the state tree), is also the namesake of a school district in Portland.

A fellow from Central Oregon — Robbie Harding, of the MacGregor Clan, of the High Desert Celtic Society and the New Caledonian Society of Bend — chose the following colors for the tartan, according to the resolution:

• “Blue representing the blue of the flag of Oregon, the deep blue waters of the ocean, the fishing industry, the deep blue lakes and the major inland rivers;

• Gold representing the center color of the flag of Oregon and the many and varied agricultural regions of the state;

• Green representing the many and varied forests;

• White representing the beautiful snowcapped mountains;

• Taupe representing the high desert and grasslands;

• Crimson representing the fiery volcanic past and the cinder buttes;

• Azure representing the streams and creeks, the wetland marshes, the shallow lakes and the wide sweep of the Oregon skies; and

• Black representing the obsidian buttes.”

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