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Living history, exhibits highlight special Founders' Day at Champoeg May 5

April 6, 2018

Champoeg State Heritage Area will host living history actors, a replica historic townsite and other family-friendly activities for the annual Founders’ Day celebration on Saturday, May 5. This year marks the 175th anniversary of the 1843 vote held in Champoeg that established the first provisional government west of the Mississippi River. The free event runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“That vote began Oregon’s journey to statehood,” said Dan Klug, interpretive ranger at Champoeg State Heritage Area. “Founder’s Day celebrates that achievement and is great way for the whole family to learn more about the history of our state.”

Activities will include a reenacted fur trappers’ camp, replica historic townsite with building facades, tradesmen demonstrating 19th century techniques and a post office with souvenir post cards. A 1 p.m. ceremony to honor the original May 1843 voters will feature distinguished speakers, a mock vote and a rifle salute. The afternoon concludes with a live stage coach run delivering the souvenir post cards to the St. Paul post office.

Founders’ Day celebrates a vote held in Champoeg by local settlers on May 2, 1843. A large group gathered that day to decide the future of the Oregon territory. After a spirited debate, a slim majority voted “aye” to form Oregon’s first provisional government, laying the groundwork for Oregon’s statehood in 1859. Founders’ Day has been held annually at Champoeg since 1901.

Event parking at Champoeg State Heritage Area will be free. Light refreshments will be available after the conclusion of the 1 p.m. ceremony. For more information visit oregonstateparks.org or call 503-678-1251.