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Oregon heritage organizations show economic, social value

The Fort Rock Museum in Fort Rock, Oregon
Dan Meyers
The Fort Rock Museum in Fort Rock, Oregon

The Oregon Heritage Commission has released a report that it says demonstrates the significant economic value of Oregon’s heritage organizations and traditions.

Heritage organizations include institutions such as libraries, museums, and historical sites, while heritage traditions are events that have been happening for 50 years or longer.

Using pre-pandemic data, the commission determined that heritage organizations and tourism support $343 million in total economic activity for Oregon each year. Heritage tourism also supported a total of 1,325 jobs for Oregonians.

But Oregon Heritage Commission Coordinator Katie Henry notes that these institutions and events have a social and cultural impact that’s just as valuable as their economic benefits.

“Shared stories that bring the community together, preserving important stories and bringing forth important stories about our history," said Henry. "Having difficult conversations together as a community and engaging the community. The volunteer-ship is pretty critical in heritage organizations.”

For a list of annual Oregon heritage traditions, visit the Oregon Heritage Destinations page located on the Oregon Heritage website. Coming up soon is Portland’s historic Christmas Ships Parade, getting ready to set sail for its 68th year.

Jasmine Lewin was a freelance reporter in 2022 and 2023. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Lewin wrote for the University of Oregon quarterly magazine Ethos before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
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