Every two years the Archives Division publishes the Oregon Blue Book, which issued its 50th edition in March 2009. Work is well under way for the 2011-12 Edition, which will come out in March 2011. We asked Julie Yamaka, the Blue Book editor, to give us a sneak peak at what the next edition will look like.
First, what will be on the cover?
We’re a long way from that decision. The photo contest is under way right now so we won’t know what the front and back cover photos will look like until the end of the year. Secretary of State Kate Brown will make the final choice.
This will be the Blue Book’s 100th birthday. How will be new one be different?
For starters, we’ve added a few things to the almanac section. We have, for example a new state crustacean. I heard there was debate on the Senate floor whether it should be the Dungeness crab or Peter Courtney. The Dungeness crab won out.
There’s more information on highways. We’ve added Notable Highways, listing some of the special designations, like the Veterans Memorial Highway, which is the Oregon portion of Interstate 205. And we’ve added to the alternative energy section. New to the National, International and Tribal section: each of Oregon’s nine federally recognized tribes will have a column that will be an informational entry about their history, points of interest, economy, their culture and their treaty or tribal restoration date.
What will be in the center photo section?
A few pages will focus on the Capitol Building. We‘ll take some new photos of the newly refurbished governor’s suite and the House and Senate chambers. The main portion is devoted to commemorating 100 years of women’s suffrage in Oregon. The centennial of suffrage will be celebrated in 2012. And possibly we’ll do something commemorating 100 years of the Blue Book.
What was the 1911 Blue Book like?
It was 133 pages, without a table of contents or index, of information on state, district and county officers; the constitution; agriculture; education system; financial condition; and population statistics. It includes a wide variety of photographs depicting scenes common in Oregon in 1911. It has pictures of the State Capitol in 1911, tall ships in the Portland harbor, views of the Columbia, stacks of wheat, and teams of horses pulling combine harvesters. I was struck by the scope and interesting nature of these photos.
How did it come into being?
According the Preface, it had been the custom of the Department of State to publish an official directory biennially. Increasing demand for more information on Oregon’s commercial and industrial development and natural resources necessitated an expanded publication that was compiled as the Oregon Blue Book.
What is the Blue Book Lite?
The Blue Book Lite will be an abbreviated version of the Blue Book containing all the important civics information, aimed at high school students, or students in general, really. It will have 42 pages, of content, great color and graphics. It’s adapted from information contained in the on-line Oregon Blue Book.
What will be in it?
The content is civics information, with discussion of our initiative and referral system, government’s legislative branch, executive branch and judiciary. There will be information on the distinction between state, county and local governments, about tribal governments and the national government. Additionally there’s a lot of fun stuff: state symbols, notable Oregonians, movies filmed in Oregon, sports trivia, Oregon oddities, and it ends with games, word scrambles, and a pop quiz.
What’s its purpose?
Secretary Brown wants to do more with civics education at the high school level. And while the regular Oregon Blue Book contains all of this, we wanted to extract the civics information and present it in a focused, abbreviated way. It’s the Blue Book in smaller pieces, tweets, if you will.
Well, there is the groundbreaking Oregon Bottle Bill in 1971 requiring a five-cent refund for bottles and cans; there are the world’s oldest shoes, 9,000-year-old sandals made of sagebrush and bark found in Central Oregon in 1938. They’re in the museum at the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History. There’s the Tillamook Air Museum. It was a blimp hanger in World War II. It’s the largest wooden clear-span building in the world. The blimps patrolled the coastline looking for signs of attack by submarines.
What’s in the Blue Book online?
It‘s the print version Blue Book expanded. For example the print version doesn’t include the notable Oregonians. That’s a big section. The Executive Section in the print version lists basic information about the state agencies, boards and commissions, and the Local Government section lists all 242 incorporated cities all 36 counties with contact and basic information. The online versions of the Executive Section and Local Government Section are greatly expanded to include a lot more information and links. The online version is probably four or five times bigger than the print version. The online version includes a kid’s section with trivia, games, quizzes, coloring book and links – there’s everything necessary in there to complete a school project or report on Oregon. That’s where a lot of the really interesting stuff is. We’ve pulled some of that into the Blue Book Lite.