Changing the slogan for the city of Roseburg would be a mistake.
The Timber Capital of the Nation is a long-running slogan that reflects the history of the area and explains what prompted Roseburg to prosper and grow.
No other city in Oregon or other region of the country has surpassed Roseburg to lay claim to the title, so why give it up? Roseburg Forest Products remains the county’s largest employer and this area continues to be known for its world-class forest products and a climate and soils where trees grow successfully.
Roseburg continues to attract college-educated foresters from across the country who want to work in the woods and demonstrate that timber can be harvested sustainably.
First-time visitors to Roseburg continue to marvel at our forested hillsides as they drive east to the nearly 1-million-acre Umpqua National Forest or west into the Coast Range. They stand in awe at the huge trees towering above them on hikes along the North Umpqua Trail or while visiting waterfalls, campgrounds and picnic areas.
Timber can mean the trees that still surround us, not just the logs that take a ride out of the forest to a sawmill, where the Douglas fir may become two-by-four studs framing a new home, the cedar a new deck, and the knotty pine a wall of decorative paneling.
Those who say Roseburg hasn’t been the timber capital since the 1980s are exaggerating. Just look at the recent recession. If the local economy is no longer influenced by the timber industry, why did the significant decline in housing starts affect our mills and our unemployment rate so dramatically?
Even if you don’t accept the argument that timber remains an important part of the Roseburg landscape, think of the unnecessary expense the city would undertake to choose a new slogan: Pay a firm to come up with a design, buy new patches for all of the uniforms, repaint city vehicles, order new stationery, letterhead and other accouterments for City Hall.
The expense of changing logos is one of the oft-cited reasons that Roseburg High School shouldn’t have to change its mascot from the Indians. The city shouldn’t be so willing to spend taxpayer dollars on such an endeavor.
Besides, the city’s Visitors and Convention Bureau has already been promoting Roseburg and its surroundings under the slogan of “Land of the Umpqua” for many years. It’s effective and rightly recognizes the importance of the Umpqua River system, which is unique for being such a large waterway completely contained within the borders of Douglas County.
Tying the Umpqua label to Roseburg is also wise because it coincides with the Umpqua Valley viticulture area for our local wineries, Umpqua Community College and growing businesses like Umpqua Bank and Umpqua Dairy.
Highlighting the Land of the Umpqua is a smart move. That slogan should take the lead, but there’s no reason to let our heritage slip away by shunning the city’s current slogan and attractive logo.