Keeping Oregon Green

Since 1941

For 75 years the Keep Oregon Green Association has been educating the public on how to prevent wildfires. Beginning its efforts in April of 1941, after public outcry over the human-caused Tillamook Burns, roughly 250 Oregon leaders came together to form a Keep Oregon Green Association. KOG’s mission is to increase awareness of Oregon’s wildfire risk and educate the public in the prevention of human-caused wildfires.

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  • 1927
    1927
    Showboat Truck

    Two employees from the U.S. Forest Service and the Oregon Department of Forestry set out on a tour of the state in a truck presenting slides and movies to schools, granges, CCC camps, PTA meetings and service clubs. The program was known as the “Showboat”, and was one of the earliest, glitziest and new-fangled attempts in Oregon to provide statewide public education on forest fire prevention.

  • 1933
    1933
    Tillamook Burn

    Moving forward into the 1930s, the Tillamook Burn became the poster child for the importance of fire prevention, with two major human-caused fires that shaped public consciousness about the need to protect Oregon’s forests.

  • 1940
    1940
    John B Woods

    Around July, 1940, Oregon’s State Forester, Nels Rogers, John B. Woods Sr., Edmund Hayes, and others, started a limited Keep Oregon Green program. It was carried out at the Oregon Forest Fire Association office in Portland, with Woods serving as executive secretary and Carl Hersey as treasurer.

  • 1941
    1941
    THE BEGINNING OF KEEP OREGON GREEN

    On April 28, 1941, several hundred public officials, timber industry and civic leaders, and fire protection agency representatives gathered to lay the groundwork for a more permanent program. At a kick-off dinner and organizational meeting at the Portland Hotel, Governor Charles Sprague appointed a general committee of 65 people from all over the state. This general committee selected an eight-person executive committee, and discussed ways and means of making the program more effective. Keep Oregon Green would be an intensive and statewide effort to “reduce the number of man-caused fires, which could be accomplished by reminding all citizens frequently and in an arresting manner to be careful in the woods.”

  • 1942
    1942
    KOG Membership Card

    In the beginning, KOG was supported almost entirely by membership contributions. Membership ‘stations’ were set up all over the state at stores, filling stations, hotels and Chambers of Commerce. Interested individuals (e.g. local officials of labor unions) solicited memberships, and in return, members received tokens of appreciation for their financial support.

  • 1942
    1942
    Oregon Green Guard

    In the spring of 1942, Richard Kuehner, a 4-H Club extension agent from Lane County, was hired on a full-time basis as executive secretary. He was provided an office in the State Forestry building in Salem, the same location of the program today. Kuehner developed a unique fire prevention program for youth called the Oregon Green Guard. Kuehner was called into Army service, and Gene McNulty filled in until he was called away by the Navy. Charles Ogle, with years of experience in fire protection, took over the program.

  • 1945
    1945
    OREGON GREEN GUARD

    The main purpose of the Green Guard program was to encourage youth, 8-16 years, to remove the fuels around their farms, houses and outbuildings. Individuals or groups could participate in fire prevention projects and earn merit badges and other awards. The program was so popular that the Salem office was deluged with applications.

  • 1946
    1946
    Keep Oregon Green Song

    Reverend D.E. Millard had a strong interest in Keep Oregon Green and wrote a song for the Association. Several thousand were printed at his own expense and he furnished a supply to the KOG office for distribution to school music departments.

  • 1946
    1946
    Hugh Hayes

    In many ways, Hugh Hayes gave KOG its visual identity. His whimsical and often funny visual storytelling made people smile and take notice of KOG and the need for fire prevention. He developed posters, newspaper advertisements, leaflets, and envelope art to be mailed with bank statements. He used Hollywood movies as inspiration for his artwork and messages—Gone With the Wind, Tobacco Road, and Duel in the Sun.

  • 1946
    1946
    WELCOME TO OREGON

    Dedication of a rustic log sign marker at Rainier by civic and forestry leaders of both Oregon and Washington. It was the first of a series to be erected at every major highway entrance to the state, reminding visitors to “Keep Oregon Green.” Pictured from left to right, Charles Ogle, executive secretary of KOG; Dean Paul M. Dunn, Oregon State’s School of Forestry, Merle Chessman, state highway commissioner, R.H. Baldock, state highway engineer, and T.S. Goodyear, Washington state forester.

  • 1948
    1948
    Albert Wiesendanger

    Albert Wiesendanger was executive secretary from 1948-1980. At the time, he was a retired 39-year veteran of the US Forest Service. He is shown here hanging up the notorious Keep Oregon Green fire prevention signs which could be found all over the state.

  • 1950
    1950
    Bob Hope

    Bob “Keep America Green” Hope takes time off from his tour through the Lake States to display this fire prevention poster, designed by American Forest Products Industries for use in schools. Bob holds the national version of the “Keep Green” reminder that was localized for various states. (Courtesy of the Forest History Society.)

  • 1952
    1952
    Governor McKay

    Ex-Governor Douglas McKay relinquishes the job of president of the Keep Oregon Green Association to his successor, Governor Paul Patterson.

  • 1955
    1955
    Red Hat Days

    Carelessness was straining relations between sportsmen and landowners. As a result, hunters and fishermen were facing tighter restrictions and limited access. Irv Luiten, of the Izaak Walton League's Portland Chapter, helped found "Red Hat Days" to educate sportsmen to fight litter and vandalism, respect property rights and obey fish and game laws. The program was modeled after and supported by Keep Oregon Green. The campaign kickoff was typically one week prior to deer hunting season. Red hats were sold, and pledge cards and buttons were distributed. SOLV (Stop Oregon Litter and Vandalism) eventually took over this role in 1969.

  • 1959
    1959
    SMOKEY BEAR

    Photo of Smokey Bear at the Lamb Show in Turner, Oregon.

  • 1960
    1960
    GOVERNOR MARK O. HATFIELD

    Governor Mark O. Hatfield gets a friendly warning from Smokey Bear to Keep Oregon Green

  • 1963
    1963
    Loud and proud.

    KOG slogan painted on the side of the First National Bank of Portland.

  • 1976
    1976
    Governor Robert Straub

    Governor Robert Straub, honorary president of Keep Oregon Green Association Inc., addressed a gathering of radio-TV station managers, newspaper editors, and foresters at the Western Forestry Center (World Forestry Center today) in Portland, in the interest of forest wildfire prevention. He told the group that forest fire prevention involves a multitude of activities. Prevention programs are aimed at all ages including local residents, tourists, campers, fisherman, hunters, cyclists and Sunday drivers. The continued increase in new visitors to our state increases the need for cooperation to reach them with the Keep Oregon Green message.

  • 1980
    1980
    John Mingus

    John Mingus was executive secretary from 1980-2001. He previously worked as public relations manager with Georgia-Pacific’s Coos Bay Division, Oregon, and brought a wide range of experience in press relations, advertising, governmental affairs, public relations and communication to Keep Oregon Green.

  • 1985
    1985
    KOG TRIMET TRANSIT CAMPAIGN

    KOG has always been experimenting with new forms of advertising and outreach. In the 80’s, public transportation offered a unique opportunity to carry prevention messages into the Portland Metro area. At that time, Tri-Met’s ridership was estimated to be four million people per month.

  • 1986
    1986
    WILDFIRE PREVENTION ARTWORK

    The Klamath Falls Herald-News gave Keep Oregon Green some clever forest fire prevention ads in 1984. KOG converted the artwork into thousands of coloring sheets for school children. In 1986, they extended the use of the ads by converting them into color posters for distribution to forestry district field offices all over the state.

  • 2003
    2003
    Mary Ellen Holly

    Mary Ellen Holly was President/CEO from 2003-2013. She began her fire career with the USFS Rigdon Ranger District as a prevention specialist, and spent two years in the national office in Washington DC as the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention Officer. She served as Deputy Fire Marshal with Eugene Fire & EMS, as well as Incline Village and Dayton in Nevada before joining KOG.

  • 2008
    2008
    KOG Rangers Program

    This interactive, web-based wildfire prevention education program is geared for children 8 to 12 years of age and encourages parent and teacher involvement. Kids learn about Oregon's forests, the types of human-caused wildfires that threaten our forests, and explore ways they can help prevent wildfires. Individuals, students, classrooms or entire schools can participate. Upon completion of the program, kids are rewarded with a certificate and patch. The link to the program, teacher lesson plans, and printed activities can be found in the Kids Corner section of our website.

  • 2013
    2013
    KOG Road Signs

    As of 2013, there were 299 Keep Oregon Green signs all over our great state.
    -6 large interstate signs at state entrances
    -96 on our state highways
    -182 on our county roads
    -15 on Bureau of Land Management roads.
    Have you seen them?

  • 2016
    2016
    KOG's 75th Year

    On April 28th, KOG officially turned 75 years old. We are proud to be the oldest Keep Green program in the country. Here is a list of some of the other states that also had Keep Green programs and the years they were initiated:
    1940: Washington
    1941: Oregon
    1944: Minnesota
    1945: Indiana, Montana*, Virginia, Mississippi, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island
    1946: Idaho*, Missouri, Florida, North Carolina, and Arkansas
    1947: West Virginia, California, Utah, Texas and Georgia
    *Still active

  • 1927
    Showboat Truck

    Two employees from the U.S. Forest Service and the Oregon Department of Forestry set out on a tour of the state in a truck presenting slides and movies to schools, granges, CCC camps, PTA meetings and service clubs. The program was known as the “Showboat”, and was one of the earliest, glitziest and new-fangled attempts in Oregon to provide statewide public education on forest fire prevention.

  • 1933
    Tillamook Burn

    Moving forward into the 1930s, the Tillamook Burn became the poster child for the importance of fire prevention, with two major human-caused fires that shaped public consciousness about the need to protect Oregon’s forests.

  • 1940
    John B Woods

    Around July, 1940, Oregon’s State Forester, Nels Rogers, John B. Woods Sr., Edmund Hayes, and others, started a limited Keep Oregon Green program. It was carried out at the Oregon Forest Fire Association office in Portland, with Woods serving as executive secretary and Carl Hersey as treasurer.

  • 1941
    THE BEGINNING OF KEEP OREGON GREEN

    On April 28, 1941, several hundred public officials, timber industry and civic leaders, and fire protection agency representatives gathered to lay the groundwork for a more permanent program. At a kick-off dinner and organizational meeting at the Portland Hotel, Governor Charles Sprague appointed a general committee of 65 people from all over the state. This general committee selected an eight-person executive committee, and discussed ways and means of making the program more effective. Keep Oregon Green would be an intensive and statewide effort to “reduce the number of man-caused fires, which could be accomplished by reminding all citizens frequently and in an arresting manner to be careful in the woods.”

  • 1942
    KOG Membership Card

    In the beginning, KOG was supported almost entirely by membership contributions. Membership ‘stations’ were set up all over the state at stores, filling stations, hotels and Chambers of Commerce. Interested individuals (e.g. local officials of labor unions) solicited memberships, and in return, members received tokens of appreciation for their financial support.

  • 1942
    Oregon Green Guard

    In the spring of 1942, Richard Kuehner, a 4-H Club extension agent from Lane County, was hired on a full-time basis as executive secretary. He was provided an office in the State Forestry building in Salem, the same location of the program today. Kuehner developed a unique fire prevention program for youth called the Oregon Green Guard. Kuehner was called into Army service, and Gene McNulty filled in until he was called away by the Navy. Charles Ogle, with years of experience in fire protection, took over the program.

  • 1945
    OREGON GREEN GUARD

    The main purpose of the Green Guard program was to encourage youth, 8-16 years, to remove the fuels around their farms, houses and outbuildings. Individuals or groups could participate in fire prevention projects and earn merit badges and other awards. The program was so popular that the Salem office was deluged with applications.

  • 1946
    Keep Oregon Green Song

    Reverend D.E. Millard had a strong interest in Keep Oregon Green and wrote a song for the Association. Several thousand were printed at his own expense and he furnished a supply to the KOG office for distribution to school music departments.

  • 1946
    Hugh Hayes

    In many ways, Hugh Hayes gave KOG its visual identity. His whimsical and often funny visual storytelling made people smile and take notice of KOG and the need for fire prevention. He developed posters, newspaper advertisements, leaflets, and envelope art to be mailed with bank statements. He used Hollywood movies as inspiration for his artwork and messages—Gone With the Wind, Tobacco Road, and Duel in the Sun.

  • 1946
    WELCOME TO OREGON

    Dedication of a rustic log sign marker at Rainier by civic and forestry leaders of both Oregon and Washington. It was the first of a series to be erected at every major highway entrance to the state, reminding visitors to “Keep Oregon Green.” Pictured from left to right, Charles Ogle, executive secretary of KOG; Dean Paul M. Dunn, Oregon State’s School of Forestry, Merle Chessman, state highway commissioner, R.H. Baldock, state highway engineer, and T.S. Goodyear, Washington state forester.

  • 1948
    Albert Wiesendanger

    Albert Wiesendanger was executive secretary from 1948-1980. At the time, he was a retired 39-year veteran of the US Forest Service. He is shown here hanging up the notorious Keep Oregon Green fire prevention signs which could be found all over the state.

  • 1950
    Bob Hope

    Bob “Keep America Green” Hope takes time off from his tour through the Lake States to display this fire prevention poster, designed by American Forest Products Industries for use in schools. Bob holds the national version of the “Keep Green” reminder that was localized for various states. (Courtesy of the Forest History Society.)

  • 1952
    Governor McKay

    Ex-Governor Douglas McKay relinquishes the job of president of the Keep Oregon Green Association to his successor, Governor Paul Patterson.

  • 1955
    Red Hat Days

    Carelessness was straining relations between sportsmen and landowners. As a result, hunters and fishermen were facing tighter restrictions and limited access. Irv Luiten, of the Izaak Walton League's Portland Chapter, helped found "Red Hat Days" to educate sportsmen to fight litter and vandalism, respect property rights and obey fish and game laws. The program was modeled after and supported by Keep Oregon Green. The campaign kickoff was typically one week prior to deer hunting season. Red hats were sold, and pledge cards and buttons were distributed. SOLV (Stop Oregon Litter and Vandalism) eventually took over this role in 1969.

  • 1959
    SMOKEY BEAR

    Photo of Smokey Bear at the Lamb Show in Turner, Oregon.

  • 1960
    GOVERNOR MARK O. HATFIELD

    Governor Mark O. Hatfield gets a friendly warning from Smokey Bear to Keep Oregon Green

  • 1963
    Loud and proud.

    KOG slogan painted on the side of the First National Bank of Portland.

  • 1976
    Governor Robert Straub

    Governor Robert Straub, honorary president of Keep Oregon Green Association Inc., addressed a gathering of radio-TV station managers, newspaper editors, and foresters at the Western Forestry Center (World Forestry Center today) in Portland, in the interest of forest wildfire prevention. He told the group that forest fire prevention involves a multitude of activities. Prevention programs are aimed at all ages including local residents, tourists, campers, fisherman, hunters, cyclists and Sunday drivers. The continued increase in new visitors to our state increases the need for cooperation to reach them with the Keep Oregon Green message.

  • 1980
    John Mingus

    John Mingus was executive secretary from 1980-2001. He previously worked as public relations manager with Georgia-Pacific’s Coos Bay Division, Oregon, and brought a wide range of experience in press relations, advertising, governmental affairs, public relations and communication to Keep Oregon Green.

  • 1985
    KOG TRIMET TRANSIT CAMPAIGN

    KOG has always been experimenting with new forms of advertising and outreach. In the 80’s, public transportation offered a unique opportunity to carry prevention messages into the Portland Metro area. At that time, Tri-Met’s ridership was estimated to be four million people per month.

  • 1986
    WILDFIRE PREVENTION ARTWORK

    The Klamath Falls Herald-News gave Keep Oregon Green some clever forest fire prevention ads in 1984. KOG converted the artwork into thousands of coloring sheets for school children. In 1986, they extended the use of the ads by converting them into color posters for distribution to forestry district field offices all over the state.

  • 2003
    Mary Ellen Holly

    Mary Ellen Holly was President/CEO from 2003-2013. She began her fire career with the USFS Rigdon Ranger District as a prevention specialist, and spent two years in the national office in Washington DC as the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention Officer. She served as Deputy Fire Marshal with Eugene Fire & EMS, as well as Incline Village and Dayton in Nevada before joining KOG.

  • 2008
    KOG Rangers Program

    This interactive, web-based wildfire prevention education program is geared for children 8 to 12 years of age and encourages parent and teacher involvement. Kids learn about Oregon's forests, the types of human-caused wildfires that threaten our forests, and explore ways they can help prevent wildfires. Individuals, students, classrooms or entire schools can participate. Upon completion of the program, kids are rewarded with a certificate and patch. The link to the program, teacher lesson plans, and printed activities can be found in the Kids Corner section of our website.

  • 2013
    KOG Road Signs

    As of 2013, there were 299 Keep Oregon Green signs all over our great state.
    -6 large interstate signs at state entrances
    -96 on our state highways
    -182 on our county roads
    -15 on Bureau of Land Management roads.
    Have you seen them?

  • 2016
    KOG's 75th Year

    On April 28th, KOG officially turned 75 years old. We are proud to be the oldest Keep Green program in the country. Here is a list of some of the other states that also had Keep Green programs and the years they were initiated:
    1940: Washington
    1941: Oregon
    1944: Minnesota
    1945: Indiana, Montana*, Virginia, Mississippi, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island
    1946: Idaho*, Missouri, Florida, North Carolina, and Arkansas
    1947: West Virginia, California, Utah, Texas and Georgia
    *Still active

Oregon Fire History: Enlarge / Print / Share:
ODF Fire History Chart
Oregon Fire History