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Panel ready to select design for Oregon quarter.

Byline: David Steves The Register-Guard

SALEM - Oregon could have its own commemorative quarter - on paper at least - come Friday, when a panel of residents will decide among a salmon, Crater Lake, Mount Hood or an Oregon Trail scene.

The U.S. Mint won't actually start circulating coins with a scene on the back paying tribute to Oregon until mid-2005, but Friday's meeting of the Oregon Commemorative Coin Commission represents the end of a lengthy decision-making process.

It began last fall when the 18-member panel began sorting through hundreds of submissions from schoolchildren and others with an interest in helping design Oregon's quarter.

The Oregon quarter will be the 33rd issued since the Mint began making quarters honoring each state.

On Tuesday, the Oregon Treasury released final renderings of the four depictions proposed by the coin commission.

All four drawings by artists from the Mint have met standards for "coinability" and have been approved as acceptable options by the federal Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and the U.S. Commission for Fine Arts.

The drawings reflect some of the subtle changes requested earlier by the Oregon coin commission.

For instance, in the depiction of Mount Hood, the shoreline of the Columbia was redrafted to look more like a riverbank, the Crater Lake version shows Wizard Island more prominently and the Oregon Trail scene has enlarged the covered wagon and American Indian encampments to make them more discernible on coin with a diameter of fifteen-sixteenths of an inch.

The most striking change was in the rendering of a salmon with a waterfall in the background, said Kate Richardson, an aide to state Treasurer Randall Edwards. The salmon "has more energy in it," she said. "It's more engaged in the waterfall."

Coin commission member Nancie Fadeley, a University of Oregon administrator, said she entered the process last year favoring the idea of a salmon, but with the gradual refinements in the designs, it will be hard to decide.

The drawings are so good that Oregonians can be proud of whichever image ultimately represents the state, she said.

"I can barely wait to give all my relatives an Oregon quarter for Christmas in 2005," Fadeley said.

WHAT'S NEXT

Decision: The coin commission will choose the image that should appear on the state's quarter. Its final meeting will be Friday at 10 a.m. in Room 350 of the Capitol in Salem.

Comment: Oregonians wishing to submit comments for commissioners to consider and to become part of the public record can e-mail oregon.quarter@state.or.us and send correspondence to Oregon Quarter, Oregon State Capitol, 900 Court St. N.E., Salem, OR 97301
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Title Annotation:Government; Four finalists have been refined; the U.S. Mint is due to release the coin in 2005
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:May 5, 2004
Words:438
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