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Oregon State Printer Essay

The early history of the people who held the position of state printer reveals how closely tied the position was to the publication of newspapers. Asahel Bush (see photo) established the newspaper the Oregon Statesman, an important voice for the Democratic Party, in 1851 (Oregon Historical Society). He was named State Printer in 1859 (Morrison). Asahel Bush (1824-1913), first State Printer (Oregon Historical Society) Eugene Semple was the editor of the Oregon Herald from 1869-1873, and he assumed the position of State Printer in 1872 (Corning, p.

219). From 1894-1901 (at least), the State Printer was W. H. Leeds. Leeds founded the Tidings, a newspaper in Southern Oregon in 1878 and accepted the nomination for State Printer in 1894 (Larson). Others who held the position include Henry L. Pittock (1862), T. Patterson (1870), W. A. McPherson (1870), W. P. Keedy (1880), W. H. Byars (1885), Frank C. Baker (1893), and J. R. Whitney (1903). These names are found by perusing lists of works published by the State Printer, as these works bear the name of the printer in the bibliographic information.

Oregon State Print Shop, 1890 Changes to the Position and its Oversight The 1857 Constitution calls for the State Printer to be an elected official, however this situation changed in 1913. In this year, the office of the State Printer became part of the Board of Control where it remained until the 1960s (DAS, p. 2). At this point, the State Printer was managed by the State Printing Board, a group comprised of Board of Control members (DAS, p. 2). The Printing Board was responsible for appointing the State Printer (DAS, p. 2).

This is an important change in the position of State Printer, as previously this had been an elected position. In 1967, responsibilities for state printing were transferred to the Department of General Services (DAS, p. 5). From 1971 to 1973, there existed, as part of the Department of General Services, a Task Force on State Printing (DAS, p. 6). House Bill 2235 eliminated the position of State Printer and assigned the Oregon Department of Administrative Services to perform the duties of State Printer (House Bill 2235, 2001).

The Department of Administrative Services was created in 1993 by combining the Department of General Services and the Executive Department (DAS, p. 1). Printing services are executed by the Procurement, Fleet, and Surplus Service Division of the DAS (DAS, p. 12). These numerous changes to the position and its oversight were discussed by the House Committee on E-Government in 2001. As Fariborz Pakseresht explained, mergers in the 1990s had essentially abolished the position of the State Printer (Minutes 2001). One problem with the position was the necessary experience, required by the Constitution.

As State Printer Mike Freese asserted, the ten-year experience requirement for the position of State Printer was considered outdated (Minutes 2001). Additionally, Representative Lowe brought up economic and ecological issues when he questioned whether changes to the position would end up saving the state money and would be more ecological in reducing paper consumption (Minutes 2001). Despite all of these changes, in 2005, the position of State Printer still existed as Mike Freese is listed as State Printer in minutes from meetings in both 2001 and 2005 (Minutes, 2001 and 2005).

Indeed, the 2008 version of the Oregon Constitution still provides for the position of State Printer: Laws may be enacted providing for the state printing and binding, and for the election or appointment of a state printer, who shall have had not less than ten years’ experience in the art of printing. The state printer shall receive such compensation as may from time to time be provided by law. Until such laws shall be enacted the state printer shall be elected, and the printing done as heretofore provided by this constitution and the general laws.

(Oregon State Archives, 2008 Constitution). What is intriguing about the wording of this article from the Constitution is that it seems to be deliberately vague: the State Printer may be elected (as in the 1857 Constitution) or appointed (as it was since 1913). Furthermore, this article still calls for the ten-years mandatory experience in the field that Freese had questioned in 2001. Duties of the State Printer As noted in the Constitution of 1857, when the position was created, the State Printer is responsible for all public printing for the State of Oregon.

According to House Bill 2235, priority is given to the publication of materials related to the work of the Legislative Assembly (including its officers and committees). In addition, the inaugural address of each new governor is required to be printed by the DAS. The Department of Agriculture may, but is not required to, use the DAS to publish reports and statistics. In accordance with House Bill 2235, any material that advertises or promotes products does not fall under the domain of this position (House Bill 2235, 2001).

Another duty of the State Printer is revealed in House Bill 2235. This Bill reveals that the State Printer had previously held the task of printing the register of firearm ownership (House Bill 2235, 2001). This responsibility had been transferred to the State Police in 1991 (Senate Bill 32). The State Printer also published volumes containing biennial reports from the State Penitentiary, from 1868 to 1913 (Oregon State Archives, Department of Corrections).

In House Bill 2235, the duties of the State Printer that the Department of Administrative Services is now responsible for include the following: control and manage all state printing, control all state printing purchases, determine and fix the price for all work done by those in this position, produce multiple copies of documents, purchase equipment for duplicating documents. Economic Issues As noted above, Representative Lowe had wondered in 2001 whether changes to the position of State Printer could save the state money.

This seems to have been a concern for other government officials as economic concerns are frequently mentioned in debates about the position. In 1921, a law was enacted which allowed state offices outside of Marion County to do business with private enterprises that could underbid the State Printing Department (DAS, p. 3). It appears, however, that agencies had sought to do business with out-of-state companies. This ironic situation, with out-of-state businesses printing Oregon State documents, was addressed in 1931.

In this year, this law was further amended with the provision that these outside contracts must be for businesses in Oregon unless the prices quoted by these businesses were “excessive and not reasonably competitive” (DAS, p. 3). House Bill 2235 still allows for some of the printing work to be contracted out to other businesses. This Bill reveals that state agencies are not required to use the services of the State Printer (or, in this case, the DAS) if they can demonstrate that the same quality work can be found for a lower cost (House Bill).

This contingency is, as Mike Freese explained, a guard against individual agencies setting up small, inefficient printing shops (Minutes, 2001). The State Printer and Dissemination of Information In addition to fulfilling public printing for the state, the State Printer had other tasks that demonstrate how vital this position was to the dissemination of government documents and to making these documents available to the general public. In 1907, Senate Bill 136 was passed. This bill required the State Printer to deposit copies of state publications at the State Library (Wan).

In the early history of the depository program, numerous copies of the documents were submitted – up to 50 copies of legislative bills and calendars, and 125 copies of legislative interim committee reports (Wan). However, in 1979, the number of copies that the State Printer was required to submit to the library was standardized. From this point, 45 copies were required to be sent to the State Library (Wan). In 1994, more changes were instituted to the depository program, led by members of the Documents Interest Group of Oregon (Wan). In 2001 (according to House Bill 2235), 45 copies were still required to be submitted to the State Library.

Since July 2006, the Oregon State Electronic Depository has been in operation. This program aims to collect and archive electronic versions of state documents so that information that is held on the web does not get lost when pages are updated. Individual agencies are required to submit electronic copies of the appropriate documents to the Oregon State Library (Wan). However, agencies are still required to depose ten hard copies of each document (Wan). The publication of state documents is documented in the quarterly Checklist of Official Publications of the State of Oregon, published by the State Library beginning in the 1960s (Wan).

This publication ended in 1979 and was replaced by a microfiche edition of the library’s catalogue (Wan). The microfiche catalogue, however, was short lived and stopped being produced in the 1980s (Wan). Through the interaction of the responsibilities of the State Printer with the library system, we can see how the tasks of the State Printer affected the general public. References 71st Oregon Legistlative Assembly. (2001). House Bill 2235. Retrieved May 31, 2009 from http://www. leg. state. or. us/01reg/measures/hb2200. dir/hb2235. intro. html. Corning, H. M. (1989). Dictionary of Oregon History. Portland: Binfords and Mort Publishing.

Department of Administrative Services. (2003). Administrative Overview May 2003. Retrieved May 31, 2009 from http://arcweb. sos. state. or. us/recmgmt/sched/special/state/overview/20020011dasadov. pdf. House Committee on Advancing E-Government. (2001). Minutes. Retrieved May 31, 2009 from http://www. sos. state. or. us/archives/legislative/legislativeminutes/2001/house/advancing_egovernment/HAEG02_2. htm. House Committee on General Government. (2005). Minutes. Retrieved May 31, 2009 from http://arcweb. sos. state. or. us/legislative/legislativeminutes/2005/house/gengovernment/hgg0210. htm. Larson, T. (2006).

W. H. Leeds. Retrieved May 31, 2009 from http://boards. ancestry. myfamily. com/surnames. leeds/212/mb. ashx. Morrison, S. B. (2005). Salem Online History – Asahel Bush. Retrieved May 31, 2009 from http://www. salemhistory. net/people/asahel_bush. htm. Oregon Historical Society. (2002). The Oregon History Project – Asahel Bush. Retrieved May 31, 2009 from http://www. ohs. org/education/oregonhistory/historical_records/dspDocument. cfm? doc_ID=7FB69DC4-1C23-B9D3-684905C8E0A57C86. Oregon State Archives. (2009). Crafting the Oregon Constitution: Transcribed 1857 Oregon Constitution, Article XII to Article XVI.

Retrieved May 31, 2009 from http://arcweb. sos. state. or. us/exhibits/1857/learn/transcribed/trans9. htm. Oregon State Archives. (2009). Constitution of Oregon, 2008 Version: Articles XII through XVI. Retrieved May 31, 2009 from http://bluebook. state. or. us/state/constitution/constitution12-14. htm. Oregon State Archives. Department of Corrections Records Guide. Retrieved May 31, 2009 from http://arcweb. sos. state. or. us/state/odc/scope/scope. htm. Wan, J. (2007). History of the Oregon Document Depository Program. Retrieved May 31, 2009 from http://www. oregon. gov/OSL/GRES/ordochst. shtml.


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