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Change On The Wing: How a Local Audubon Society is Reckoning With It's Namesake

Dieny Portinanni
Dieny Portinanni

Its hard to change the name of something familiar, but what if your change involves an institution or person’s name that was truly beloved and what if the change was due to something horrible in the past?

Well, that can be one of the most difficult things an organization can ever do, and for the preeminent birding institution in Oregon, they’ve decided the reward is worth the risk. For the Bird Alliance of Oregon, in an effort to distance itself from the racist past of its original namesake, has decided to cast off the world-famous name of John James Audubon and strike out with a new identity.

Today on Oregon On The Record you’ll hear from Stuart Wells, executive director of the organization on the why and how they decided to change the name, as well as from Natchee Barnd, an OSU professor who’s an expert on the reasons and processes of organization’s reckoning with the troubling names of the past.

Michael Dunne is the host of KLCC's public affairs show Oregon On The Record. He also hosts the business-focused podcast, Oregon Rainmakers. Do you have a suggestion for a guest or topic? Email Michael at mdunne@klcc.org.