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Know the West

The Jefferson state bird is not the spotted owl, either

  It was exciting to see an article on the State of Jefferson. However, the article was not historically accurate. The State of Jefferson is not "a dream that has been around since 1941" as alleged by Emma Brown. Actually, a state was proposed for northwest California and southwest Oregon in 1852 — the State of Shasta. Southern Oregonians preferred that the state be named after Jefferson, and in 1854, a bill for creation of the State of Jefferson was introduced into Congress. Advocacy for the state did not die down until the creation of the State of Oregon in 1859.

The modern revival of the State of Jefferson did not begin with Brian Petersen and his friends as a response to "the Klamath water war" in the 1990s. In the early 1980s, a group of back-to-the-land bioregionalists promoted the State of Jefferson through Siskiyou Country, a monthly journal distributed throughout northwest California and southwest Oregon. Even earlier in the 1980s, a group of anthropologists and archaeologists sought to revive interest in Jefferson by naming their annual regional conference after it. It was that group that created the first State of Jefferson bumper sticker with the double X seal later adopted by Petersen and his friends.

Felice Pace
Klamath, California