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National & State Symbols
Oregon State Seal
Great Seal of the State of Oregon
Adopted in 1859.
The Seal of the State of Oregon is the official seal of the U.S. state of Oregon. It was designed by Harvey Gordon in 1857, two years before Oregon was admitted to the Union.
The seal was preceded by the Salmon Seal of the Provisional Government and the Seal of the Oregon Territory that ran from 1843 to 1849. The state seal is mandated by Article VI of the Oregon Constitution.
Oregon Great Seal
The first seal for Oregon was during the Provisional Government that ran from 1843 to 1849. That government used the Salmon Seal, a round seal featuring three sheaves of
grain and a single salmon. The salmon was at the bottom, with Oregon along the top. The salmon was designed to symbolize the fishing industry and the grain to represent
agriculture. Designed to be neutral concerning the Oregon Question and whether the U.S. or Britain would ultimately control the region, the seal was used until the Oregon
Territory was created and the territorial government arrived in 1849.
Whereas the existence of an Oregon state seal is written into Oregon's state constitution, the design of the seal itself is dictated by Oregon Revised
Statute (ORS) chapter 186. The statutes list two laws pertaining to design and usage of the seal.
Oregon Seal Law
2011 ORS > Vol. 5
(a) In any manner falsely implying official indorsement or sponsorship by the State of Oregon or any of its agencies of any product,
business, service or other activity; or
(1) In addition to any other liability or penalty provided by law, the Secretary of State may do one or both of the following:
(a) Petition the circuit court to enjoin violation of ORS 186.023 (Improper use of state seal); or
(3) The Secretary of State may assess a civil penalty under this section not exceeding $500. The Secretary of State may remit or reduce any penalty imposed under this section upon such terms and conditions as the Secretary of State considers proper and consistent with the protection of the integrity of the seal of the State of Oregon. In imposing any penalty under this section, the Secretary of State shall consider the following factors:
(a) Prior violations, if any, of the person under ORS 186.023 (Improper use of state seal);
(4) In any judicial review of civil penalties imposed under this section, the court, in its discretion, may reduce the penalty.
Oregon Constitution/Article V
Article VI: Administrative department
In days when communications were transcribed by hand and tediously undertaken, seals served to authenticate official government documents. In this day of computers and instant communications, seals still serve the same purpose.