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Oregon (U.S.)

Last modified: 2022-04-30 by rick wyatt
Keywords: oregon | different reverse | united states |
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Front (obverse)
[Flag of Oregon (front)]
image by Clay Moss, 16 March 2009
Back (reverse)
[Flag of Oregon (back)]
image by Clay Moss, 16 March 2009

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In 1859, a star was added, representing Oregon, bringing the total number of stars on the U.S. flag to 33. There were thirteen stripes representing the thirteen original colonies.

Flag Description

The flag of Oregon was adopted in 1925.
Its colors are navy blue with gold lettering and symbol. A shield is a part of the state seal, surrounded by 33 stars and under the shield is written "1859" - the year Oregon was admitted to the union as the 33rd state. The flag's reverse side depicts a beaver.
Dov Gutterman, 9 October 1998

Oregon is the only U.S. state flag that has an image/pattern on its backside/reverse that is different than what is shown on its front/obverse side. The other 49 states have the same image/pattern on their both sides.
Bill Garrison, 28 April 2022

Legal Description

Oregon Revised Statutes
Chapter 186
186.010 State flag; official colors. (1) A state flag is adopted to be used on all occasions when the state is officially and publicly represented, with the privilege of use by all citizens upon such occasions as may be fitting and appropriate. It shall bear on one side on a navy blue field the state escutcheon in gold, supported by 33 gold stars and bearing above the escutcheon the words "State of Oregon" in gold and below the escutcheon the figures "1859" in gold, and on the other side on a navy blue field a representation of the beaver in gold.
Joe McMillan, 19 February 2000

The term "navy blue" appears in the official definition of the Oregon flag. However, everyone seems to agree that what most people understand by "navy blue" is significantly darker than almost any representation or photograph of the Oregon flag that we can find. I have found images of the Oregon flag in colours ranging from 0:80:255, through 12:0:142, 0:102:153, 1:41:103 to 0:8:66 - this last one a real navy blue. Photos of the flag, including the one Ned found and ones at and, show what I would call a royal blue. Whatever you call it, I conclude that the phrase "navy blue" in the official description is no longer actually respected, if it ever was (anyone know of examples of historic Oregon flags?).

I observe in passing that the exact drawing of the state seal on the flag differs from one image to another, but I guess this is more acceptable, since presumably it is essentially a heraldic blazon. Despite Clay's remark that the de facto blue for state flags is Old Glory blue, I note that the photos seem to show a less dark shade, which I have taken to be 0:51:102 (used here).

André Coutanche, 29 October 2005

State Seal

186.020 Description of state seal. The description of the seal of the State of Oregon shall be an escutcheon, supported by 33 stars, and divided by an ordinary, with the inscription, "The Union." In chief -- mountains, an elk with branching antlers, a wagon, the Pacific Ocean, on which there are a British man-of-war departing and an American steamer arriving. The second -- quartering with a sheaf, plow and a pickax. Crest -- The American eagle. Legend -- State of Oregon, 1859.
Joe McMillan, 19 February 2000

State Military Crest

image by Joe McMillan, 21 April 2000

The state military crest, which is the crest used in the coats of arms of units of the National Guard, as granted by the precursor organizations of what is now the Army Institute of Heraldry. The official Institute of Heraldry blazon is "A demidisc bules charged with the setting sun with twelve light rays or, behind a beaver sejant proper."
Joe McMillan, 21 April 2000