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State Symbols: Animal to Fish

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Animal, State
The American Beaver (Castor canadensis) was named Oregon state animal by the 1969 Legislature. Prized for its fur, the beaver was overtrapped by early settlers and eliminated from much of its original range. Through proper management and partial protection, the beaver has been reestablished in watercourses throughout the state and remains an important economic asset. The beaver has been referred to as “nature’s engineer,” and its dam-building activities are important to natural water flow and erosion control. Oregon is known as the “Beaver State” and Oregon State University’s athletic teams are called the “Beavers.”

Oregon beaver

   

Glass of milk

Beverage, State
Milk was selected in 1997 as the state beverage. The legislature recognized that milk production and the manufacture of dairy products are major contributors to the economic well-being of Oregon agriculture. Tillamook County has long been known for its dairy farms and now Morrow County has seen growth in the number and size of its dairy operations.

   

Bird, State
The Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) was chosen state bird in 1927 by Oregon’s school children in a poll sponsored by the Oregon Audubon Society. Native throughout western North America, the bird has brown plumage with buff and black markings. Its underside is bright yellow with a black crescent on the breast; its outer tail feathers are mainly white and are easily visible when it flies. The Western Meadowlark is known for its distinctive and beautiful song. (Image courtesy Noah Strycker)

(Image courtesy Noah Strycker)

   

Crab

Crustacean, State
The 2009 Legislature designated the Dungeness crab as the official state crustacean. The action followed petitioning by the 4th grade class of Sunset Primary School in West Linn.

   

Dance, State
In 1977 the legislature declared the Square Dance to be the official state dance. The dance is a combination of various steps and figures danced with four couples grouped in a square. The pioneer origins of the dance and the characteristic dress are deemed to reflect Oregon’s heritage; the lively spirit of the dance exemplifies the friendly, free nature and enthusiasm that are a part of the Oregon Character.

Square dancers

   

John McLoughlin

Father of Oregon
The 1957 Legislature bestowed upon Dr. John McLoughlin the honorary title of “Father of Oregon” in recognition of his great contributions to the early development of the Oregon Country. Dr. McLoughlin originally came to the Northwest region in 1824 as a representative of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

DeltaAlso see:
Notable Oregonian description
Oregon State Archives exhibit about McLoughlin.

   

Fish, State
The Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), also known as spring, king and tyee salmon, is the largest of the Pacific salmons and the most highly prized for the fresh fish trade. Declared state fish by the 1961 Legislature, the Chinook Salmon is found from southern California to the Canadian Arctic. Record catches of 53 inches and 126 pounds have been reported.

Chinook salmon

   

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