Party Planned For Pioneer’s 80th

Put on your favorite party duds, or dress up like a golden pioneer, and join us at the Oregon State Capitol on Tuesday, September 18, between 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. as we celebrate the Oregon Pioneer’s 80th birthday.  We will be unveiling a new exhibit dedicated to the Oregon Pioneer, Ulric Ellerhusen’s statue on top of the Capitol, and celebrating with free cupcakes. 

The Pioneer’s timeline will take you back to his commission in 1936, when he arrived in Salem on September 16, 1938 and when he was put on his pedestal – September 18 – through to his 80th birthday party.

We will be making ornaments to honor our favorite octogenarian during the party too. The ornaments will be forwarded to decorate the U.S. Christmas Tree (coming from the Willamette National Forest). We will have mini pioneers, wagon wheels, and wagons to color and decorate, or bring your own handmade ornament to drop off during the celebration. For ornament guidelines, visit and download the brochure. 

At 3:30 p.m. we will have guest speakers in the Galleria saying a few words, including Jenny Borden. Borden was a third grader in 1983 when she toured the Capitol. She noticed the Oregon Pioneer was dingy, so she started to formulate a plan. She reached out to her representative with a plan for school children to collect dimes to help re-gild the Pioneer. This plan eventually led to the collection of more than $46,000 by Oregon school children. Borden is now an elementary teacher and will talk a little bit about her first experience making a difference in Oregon.   

If you dress up like an Oregon Pioneer we will have some special prizes just for you, and you are sure to make it onto our social media pages! We will have a special tour, and photo opportunity, at the top of the tower at 4 p.m., weather permitting. 

This event is part of the Capitol History Gateway, a project of the Oregon State Capitol Foundation.  For more information on the Pioneer’s 80th birthday celebration call Visitor Service at 503-986-1388 or visit the events page at

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