Kalapuya County

The Kalapuya can be our guides for appropriate stewardship of the Willamette River Valley’s natural resources. In the ’70s, the state established the Willamette Greenway and has undone part of the damage caused by well over a century of exploitation by European explorers bent on owning, exploiting, degrading, destroying, excluding and imprisoning any people or natural resources they encountered. The assumptions of superiority related to such “manifest destiny” continue to this day.

The current residents of the Willamette River Confluence area must have a name to match the mission of stewardship of irreplaceable natural resources that are essential to all life in this valley. I believe that name should be Kalapuya, not Lane. All life matters. Those treated as “other” have already paid the price of a signage change many times over.

The conversation to change the name has begun again, 150 years after such a change should have been enacted. The issue must not be tabled again. Otherwise, good luck explaining to the world’s athletes why we cling to a standard-bearer who would have assumed many of them to have no human rights.

Ellen Otani