Jeff the Great not 'Made in Oregon'

I took the rare step today of picking up the Oregonian newspaper (I typically read the WSJ and NYTimes) and read an opinion column from an Oregonian staffer that just enraged me. Here is my response.

If you are from the Portland area, you are probably very familiar with the sign pictured here. Its currently referred to as the 'Made in Oregon' sign. When driving into downtown from the east you can't miss it in the beautiful skyline.

The 'Made in Oregon' sign is now in the middle of a controversy that would make the Housewives blush. See, the University of Oregon has owned the building and the sign for a number of years now. They recently finished a spectacular renovation of the space and cut the ribbon for the University of Oregon Portland center.

Naturally, since the sign and building no longer have anything to do with Made in Oregon, the company, the UofO wants to change the sign.

Enter a bunch of angry and aparently bored Portlanders, including Anna Griffin of the Oregonian.

Anna's opinion piece in the Dec 10th, 2008 Oregonian disgusted me. She showed that sometimes Portlanders like to bitch and protest just because. Her opinion is so empty of anything meaningful that she even goes as far as to bring Phil Knight, Nike, and Oregon Athletics into the argument. What? Is she serious?

Whats the problem, anyway? Why should the owner of the building be forced to advertise a private brand? Why can't the UofO tell all of Portland and it's visitors that they University is here to serve the community? Whats wrong with change? The sign changed in 1995 and the world survived, it can change again. Is PSU affraid that a sign will destroy their business in Portland?

Where were you, Anna, when the University first bought the building? Did you protest then? Did you stand up and demand that the University stay out of your city and not change anything in Old Town?

Where were you, Anna, when the sign was changed to read "Made in Oregon"? Did you protest then? Had you lived here, would you have? Would you have been that passionate about White Stag?

I didn't think so.

-Jeff the Great


Ramona said...

I grew up on both sides of the river and my grandma has always lived in NW Portland so I'm very familiar with the White Stag sign. I didn't complain when they changed the name to Made in Oregon- although I thought having it say White Stag was a nice nod to the past- because the deer was still there and that was what's important to me. Darn it! I love that deer. I look forward to seeing his nose light up every year. (I actually cried when I read the article about the death of the lady who paid to keep his nose lit.) As long as he remains where he is I don't care what the sign says or if the Ducks want to turn his nose green when they win. Besides, aren't the students getting an education that's "Made in Oregon"?

Anonymous said...

There is a larger issue at play here. Nike has made UO into a brand-centric institution that is out of control. I call it "Nike-governance". I have posted six videos on Utube about the problem. To watch them go to the Utube site and use the search there with keywords:nike university of oregon.

Jmartens said...


You couldn't be more wrong. You are talking an unrelated, perceived issue and applying it to this case.

Nike nor Phil Knight have anything to do with this. Using either as an excuse does nothing more than show your willingness to fight something just for the heck of it.

Now if your so called 'nike-governance' was a reality, so what? The UO has a top 25 business undergrad program, a top tier journalism school, an amazing architecture program, athletic programs that give kids opportunities they might not ever have otherwise or somewhere else, and the list goes on and on.

Is that so bad? Kids getting a GREAT education at a top public university?

Not to mention that the UO is the only school in the Oregon University System that pays its own way without draining additional state funds. As a matter of fact, UO has money taken away from it by the state so that it can be redistributed to the other schools in the state University system.

If we are lucky, the UO will go semi-private one day soon...then you and all the other haters can shut up and find another make believe issue to fight.

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