Oregon Focus: State Symbols: Song

Oregon’s official state song, "Oregon, My Oregon," was adopted through Legislative action in 1927. The song was written in 1920 by John A. Buchanan, a former Oregon State Representative and municipal judge from Astoria, and the music was composed by Henry B. Murtagh for a competition to identify a state song, sponsored by the Society of Oregon Composers.

The original song lyrics​ to "Oregon, My Oregon" contain racist, outdated and exclusionary language and references that do not accurately reflect the whole history of Oregon. The song also doesn’t account for the experiences of indigenous people who have lived here since time immemorial. Those lyrics include references to "Empire builders," and a land “conquered and held by free men, fairest and the best” and "blessed by the blood of martyrs."View the existing song lyrics here

The Secretary of State has made it a priority to establish equity at the core of this agency and to center equity and anti-racism in our work. We support discussions to consider alternatives to this current state song. A proposal in front of the Oregon Legislature for the 2021 Legislative session, House Concurrent Resolution 11​, would modify the existing lyrics of the song to “reflect historical traditions and the cultural, historical, economic, and societal evolution of the state.” 

The updated lyrics, as proposed by HCR 11, would be: 

“Land of Majestic Mountains,
“Land of the Great Northwest;
 “Forests and rolling rivers,
 “Grandest and the best.
 “Onward and upward ever,
 “Forward and on, and on;
 “Hail to thee, Land of Heroes,
 “My Oregon. 

“Land of the rose and sunshine
 “Land of the summer’s breeze;
 “Laden with health and vigor,
 “Fresh from the Western seas.
 “Blessed by the love of freedom,
 “Land of the setting sun;
 “Hail to thee, Land of Promise,
 “My Oregon.”