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Oregon state song

Does Oregon need a new state song?

State Rep. Jack Zika, R-Redmond, is among legislators sponsoring a bill to change it. The bill he is a sponsor of — House Bill 2329 — directs the secretary of state to develop a public process for coming up with a new one. Another bill, House Concurrent Resolution 11, just rewrites the existing lyrics to the song.

Let’s start with 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 the 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.”

Zika’s bill says the lyrics “are entrenched in racism, that fail to recognize the suffering of Native people who were forcibly removed from this state and that fail to recognize the pain and suffering of Black people who were subject to exclusion laws targeting Black people.” And it says the process to select a new one “is to be inclusive to people of all backgrounds, races and ethnicities who call Oregon home.”

The proposed new lyrics from HCR 11 are:

“Land of Majestic Mountains, Land of the Great Northwest;

Forests and rolling rivers, Grandest 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.”

If Oregon is going to change its state song, we like Zika’s approach better. Let’s see what Oregonians can come up with. The suggestion in HCR 11 is just one idea.

The Legislature should open up the process to the public, not just decide based on one suggestion that only modifies the lyrics. Tell your legislator what you think or write a letter to the editor.