oregon-constitutionBy Saerom England
Since surviving Capitol fire in 1935, founding document has been largely out of public view

SALEM – Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne P. Atkins and State Archivist Mary Beth Herkert are asking students and their school communities to help restore Oregon’s original constitution.

Since surviving the Capitol building fire in 1935, Oregon’s founding document has largely been kept out of public view, in an environmentally controlled vault. Because of the Constitution’s poor condition, exposing it outside of the vault risks further deterioration of this important piece of history.
To fix this problem, the Oregon Constitution Challenge is raising money from school children to restore and preserve the Constitution and make it available for public viewing.
“In 1984, Oregon students raised over $37,000 to re-gild the golden pioneer on top of the Oregon State Capitol,” Herkert said. “In that spirit, we invite today’s Oregon school children to help us raise $60,000 to restore and display Oregon Constitution.”
As of September 2016, 24 schools have contributed $5,426.50 out of the $60,000 goal. The Secretary of State’s office is working to meet this goal before the end of this calendar year.
Here is how students and the community can help:
Donate on behalf of a school of their choice
Tell teachers and students about the Constitution and this challenge
Help start a drive at a school of their choice
Ask their friends and family to donate on behalf of a school of their choice
Any Oregon school – public, private, charter and homeschool – is welcome to participate. In recognition of their contribution, every school that raises a total of $250 or more toward the Constitution Challenge goal will have its school name engraved on a plaque to be displayed with the original Constitution.
“The Constitution helps remind us of our past – both good and bad – just as it serves as the foundational document upon which Oregon’s progress has been built since 1857 and continues to be built today,” Secretary Atkins said. “It should be restored, publicly displayed, and preserved for future Oregonians to learn about. The Oregon Constitution Challenge is a chance for our students to be a part of that legacy.”
For more information on how to participate in the Constitution Challenge visit sos.oregon.gov/constitutionchallenge or contact Saerom England in the executive office at saerom.england@state.or.us or Mary Beth Herkert at mary.e.herkert@state.or.us.