Resolution to recognize potato as official Oregon vegetable packs a peel

By Brian Bull (KLCC)
March 23, 2023 6:27 p.m.

The Oregon Senate hashed out a decision on Wednesday that may have taken the starch out of some lawmakers: a resolution to recognize the potato as the official state vegetable.

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Sen. Bill Hansell, R-Athena, is one of the sponsors of Senate Concurrent Resolution 3. In a passionate — one might say spudtacular — display, Hansell sang the potato’s praises while holding what appeared to be a brown russet in the Senate chamber.

In the grand scheme of things, there are no "small potatoes", especially when determining the official state vegetable.

In the grand scheme of things, there are no "small potatoes", especially when determining the official state vegetable.

Brian Bull/KLCC

“Twenty-five percent of Oregon’s frozen french fries are shipped overseas,” Hansell said. “Oregon potato farmers have donated over one million pounds of potatoes annually to the Oregon food bank. And lastly, the iconic tater tot — was developed by two brothers in Ontario, Oregon, who also created the Ore-Ida potato company. No other state can claim the tater tot as their own.”

Other lawmakers praised the potato’s part in making lefse or vodka. With no fiscal or revenue impact, enacting this proposal would be done on a shoestring budget.

The resolution passed 29-0 and now heads to the Oregon House, where Hansell seems content to let the chips fall where they may.

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