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U.S. Mint’s Oregon Quarter Features Iconic Crater Lake

When the U.S. Mint asked Gov. Ted Kulongoski to come up with something to serve as an iconic image of the state, he took his wife’s advice.

The Oregon Encyclopedia reports that his wife, Mary Oberst, warned Kulongoski that it had to be something unique to Oregon and suggested Crater Lake, to which the governor replied, “And she was right.”  Other serious contenders were the Oregon Trail, Mount Hood and Chinook salmon.

The governor endorsed the selection on May 24, 2004, and it became the image placed on 720.2 million Oregon quarters that began circulating on June 6, 2005.  As the 33rd state admitted to the Union, Oregon’s coin was the 33rd to be commemorated by the U.S. Mint’s State Quarter Program.

To quote the Encyclopedia, “The tail side (of the coin) features Crater Lake as viewed from the south-southwest and includes Wizard Island, the Watchman, and Hillman Peak.  The head’s side has the standard bust of George Washington.”  A sculptor/engraver for the United States Mint designed the coin.

Gov. Kulongoski headed an Oregon quarter ceremony at Crater Lake National Park on Aug. 24, 2004.

The quarters have passed through many Oregon pockets by now.


Source: Juillerat, Lee. "Oregon Commemorative Quarter." Oregon Encyclopedia, Portland State University and Oregon Historical Society, 2017, https://oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/oregon_commemorative_quarter/#.WLCt5_krJPY. Accessed 24 Feb. 2017.

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.