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More Than A Birthday.


Oregon Governor in waiting Kate Brown spoke at the Oregon Historical Society.

She could have dodged the event, which was Oregon’s birthday party.

But she didn’t.

Instead she gave history a nod.

At the same time she signaled what to expect under her leadership.

She gets history. Do you?

Anyone speaking at a history museum enhances their message.

Museums are repositories of our best and brightest. If you’ve got a treasure and it passes inspection, it finds a home in museum storage.

Your treasure will be accessioned, bagged and tagged, put on exhibit, and be restored on a regular schedule.

It’ll last forever, which is longer than it would have lasted in an attic box.

The piece of metal above is a branding iron.

Lewis, of Lewis and Clark fame, used the brand to mark his gear. You knew what belonged to who when saw his brand.

The same goes for business brands and labels. I’m writing on an Apple MacBook. We all know Apple.

Baby boomers and copyright infringement fans know the story between Apple Corps and Apple Computers. Lots of time and money passed between the Beatles and the Steve Jobs creation.

Both companies had a brand to protect. That it seemed like the same brand was sort of weird. Wouldn’t smart guys see the problem?

Right now Oregon has a brand to protect. We’re last in the nation for high school graduation, but first in governors who place their girlfriend before their oath of office.

Governor’s oath:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Oregon, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of Senator (or Representative as the case may be) according to the best of my Ability.”

Governor’s girlfriend oath:

“I will do my best to make sure my Governor is the best man he can possible be for as long as he can. I will support and engage him in ideas and activities appropriate for a great leader to execute. If in the event of problems arising from our relationship, I will put him first before my own needs.”

That’s an oath that would protect the Oregon brand the way Lewis and Clark protected their stuff.

As Oregonians we have an idea of our place in the nation.

From news sources we know Portland is a mecca for some. We know the natural beauty of the state is draw to all.

Our coastline might not be the Riviera of the Northwest, but it is spectacular in its own way.

The mountains will never be mistaken for the Rockies, but we’ve got the best alpine show in the nation on Highway 97 headed south.

The Oregon brand includes land and sea, farming and ranching, logging and fishing.

More than that it includes the Port of Portland as a major destination for the Pacific Rim. There’s a brand dispute at the Port between workers protecting their hard fought progress and those who want change.

Let’s hope they figure it out before Portland turns into a back-water.

Entrepreneurs and start-ups know the power of the brand from the beginning. The Nike swoosh, Adidas three stripes, and Columbia sportswear put their mark on as much as they can.

Look at a Nike shoe and count the number of swooshes. Even on the shoelace tips. Little tiny swoosh.

You know the Oregon brand is in good hands when governors take the time to make appearances at the Oregon Historical Society.

Senator Hatfield’s papers are there. So are Senator Packwood’s. An archive is one of the last places you think of for excitement, but a museum archive is different.

Good works and good ideas need to pass from one generation to the nest. They give us an idea of how far we’ve come.

Kate Brown protected the brand in more ways than one.

That’s a celebration all by itself.



About David Gillaspie
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