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Heritage Designations

Learn more about designations!

Oregon Heritage offers a variety of designations to recognize significant history and heritage efforts in the state. Explore the designations to learn if your community has or is eligible this kind of recognition.

The Oregon Heritage All-Star program is a way to recognize communities that make the most of their historic resources. By safeguarding important elements of the past, communities advance both “quality of life” and economic objectives while enhancing their unique community character.

Designated Communities

  • Albany
  • Astoria
  • Bend
  • Coos Bay
  • Cottage Grove
  • Oregon City
  • Roseburg
  • Salem

Designation Process

To be considered for Oregon Heritage All-Star designation, a community must meet at least 15 of 24 criteria outlined in the guidelines.

Deadline: Rolling.

Timeline: Oregon Heritage staff will review the applications, make any necessary inquiries, and provide a recommendation to the Oregon Heritage Commission. Complete application will be reviewed and a determination made by the Commission at its next regularly scheduled meeting. Commission meets quarterly.

Application Process:

  1. Review the All-Star Designation Criteria & Guidelines
  2. If your community meets 15 of 24 criteria, use this checklist to help gather documentation from your community, and apply online by completing the OHAC Designation Application. 
  3. If your community is striving to be a Heritage All-Star Community and meets at least 10 criteria, apply online by completing the OHAC Interest Form
  4. Refer to the OHAC Online Instructions Manual to navigate the online application system

Designation: Designated communities will receive a certificate, signage, a logo, recognition on the Travel Oregon website, and technical support to maintain the designation.

Maintaining Designation: Designated communities will receive "check-in" visits every four years, or as deemed necessary. A checklist of required renewal documentation can be found here.

The Oregon Heritage Tradition designation recognizes events more than 50 years old that represent what it means to be an Oregonian. Designated events are unique locally, regionally, and statewide. In short, these events add to the livability and identity of the state.

The purpose of this designation is encouraging tourism activity related to heritage resources. This is an ongoing designation unless the Oregon Heritage Tradition is discontinued or no longer meets criteria.

Deadline: Rolling.

Timeline: The Heritage Commission meets quarterly. Please submit an application at least 60 days prior to a Commission meeting to allow for processing. An ad hoc committee will review the application and make a recommendation to the Commission for approval a its next meeting.

Application Process:

  1. Complete an Oregon Heritage Tradition Application Form
  2. Include up to five supporting materials that illustrate how the event meets the criteria of an Oregon Heritage Tradition.
  3. If your event is similar to other events in the state or region, be sure to provide a thoughtful explanation of what distinguishes your event.

Designation: For events receiving the designation, the Commission will provide an Oregon Heritage Tradition logo and provide a presentation of the designation at a time determined by the event and the Commission. The Tradition’s name will be posted on the Commission’s website and the designation will be included with the description in the online Oregon Blue Book.

Designated Oregon Heritage Traditions
Oregon State Fair, Salem (1858)
Wasco County Fair and Rodeo, Tygh Valley (1885)
Linn County Pioneer Picnic, Brownsville (1887)
Astoria Regatta (1894)
Clackamas County Fair, Canby (1907)
Portland Rose Festival (1907)
Lebanon Strawberry Festival (1909)
Pendleton Round-Up (1910)
Happy Canyon Pageant and Wild West Show (1916)
Portland Midsummer Festival (1928)
Fourth of July Pet Parade, Bend (1932)
Klamath Basin Potato Festival, Merrill (1937)
Brookings Harbor Azalea Festival (1939)
Portland Greek Festival (1952)
Pear Blossom Festival, Medford (1954)
Pacific City Dory Days (1959)
Bohemia Mining Days, Cottage Grove (1959)
Scandinavian Festival, Junction City (1961)
Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest (1964)
Woodburn Fiesta Mexicana (1964)
Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival (1968)
University of Oregon Mother's Day Powwow (1969)
Oregon Country Fair (1969)
Great Oregon Steam-Up, Brooks (1970)
The Christmas Ships Parade (1954)
Aumsville Corn Festival (1968)
Eastern Oregon Livestock Show (1908)

The Statewide Anniversary Commemoration designation recognizes historic events that have a proven significance to Oregon as a whole and are commemorated with activities that provide Oregonians meaningful opportunities to learn about and engage with the historical event. Statewide anniversary commemorations are opportunities to educate the public about historic events, communicate the value of heritage across the state, and present multiple perspectives of history.

Deadline: Rolling.

Timeline: The Heritage Commission meets quarterly. Please submit an application at least 60 days prior to a Commission meeting to allow for processing. An ad hoc committee will review the application and make a recommendation to the Commission at its next meeting.

Application Process:

  1. Review criteria
  2. Complete the Oregon Heritage Statewide Commemoration Application Form (2 pages)
  3. Include at least two letters of support from partner organizations that explain how the partner organizations are participating in the proposed activities and how the activities meet their missions.

Designation: This designation is honorific. Events receiving the designation will be presented an official notification of the designation, which organizations may find helpful in leveraging additional participation, collaborative partnerships, funding, and outreach.

Statewide Commemorations declared by the Heritage Commission include:

  • 2016        Historic Columbia River Highway Centennial
  • 2014        Centennial of Birth of William Stafford
  • 2012        Centennial of Women’s Suffrage in Oregon
  • 2010        Pendleton Round-up Centennial    
  • 2005-2009     Oregon Statehood Sesquicentennial
  • 2005        Treaty with Tribes of Middle Oregon Sesquicentennial
  • 2005        Walla Walla Treaty Council of 1855
  • 2003-2006    Lewis and Clark Bicentennial
  • Every May    Asian-American Heritage Month

The purpose of the State Heritage Area program is to recognize and promote heritage conservation and economic development in regions with a distinct and significant historic character that represent important aspects of Oregon’s history. Designation recognizes both the high quality of the resources in the area and the effective performance of the organization responsible for furthering the goals of the heritage area.

Deadline: Rolling.

Timeline: This is a significant designation with high standards. It is recommended you contact Oregon Heritage prior to filling out the application. Applications will be reviewed by staff before being presented to the Heritage Commission for approval. The Heritage Commission meets quarterly. Please allow at least 60 days for this process.

Application Process:

  1. Contact coordinator for initial conversation about the project
  2. Complete a State Heritage Area Application
  3. Submit all required attachments and documentation in both hard copy and electronic format.

Designation: The State Heritage Area designation is purely honorific. An area that received the designation will be provided a formal notice of the designation.

Remember to leverage any designations to should the value of heritage resources and projects in your organization and community. Learn more about how to do this with our heritage engagement tools.


Katie Henry
(503) 877-8834