Kitzhaber Creates Commission To Study Statue Squabble

Aug 27, 2014

Each state is represented by two statues in the United States Capitol Building. Some Oregon lawmakers have tried repeatedly to replace one of their state's specimens. Now, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is pulling together a commission to try to settle this statue squabble once and for all. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

Oregon's current carved representatives in Washington DC are early pioneer missionary Jason Lee and John McLoughlin, a fur trader who played a prominent role in settling the Oregon Territory. It's Lee whose stone-faced presence is in jeopardy. Supporters of Lee say he represents Oregon's Christian heritage. Others aren't as impressed. They say Lee only spent a few years in the Oregon Territory.

A statue of early pioneer missionary Jason Lee stands in the U.S. Capitol Building ... for now.
Credit Architect of the Capitol

Congress started to allow replacement of the statues in 2000. Alabama has swapped in Hellen Keller. California used it to get Ronald Reagan in.

Two efforts to replace Lee's statue with one honoring former Oregon governor and U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield have faltered in the legislature.

Now, Governor Kitzhaber has stepped into the fray. He has empaneled a commission to make a recommendation to Oregon lawmakers for another possible round of debates next year.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network