Latest Blue Book features student essays about pandemic

Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, right, with Ashlyn Huang, a 6th grader at Corbett Grade School, and a copy of the 2023-24 Oregon Blue Book. Ashlyn's essay about the coronavirus pandemic was one of 10 chosen for publication in this edition, and it was personally chosen by Fagan for the lead essay. 

Secretary of State Shemia Fagan has added a twist to the latest edition of the Oregon Blue Book, the official state directory and unofficial almanac that has been published every two years in odd-numbered years since 1911.

For the 2023-24 edition, she invited student essays about their experiences during the coronavirus pandemic, which began early in 2020. Oregon lifted its remaining restriction — the wearing of face masks in health care facilities — on April 3 of this year, and President Joe Biden signed a congressional resolution to end the national emergency on April 10. Then-Gov. Kate Brown ended her emergency declaration a year ago, though she lifted most of the others by mid-2021, after a vaccine became widely available.

Peter Wong covers Oregon politics for Pamplin Media Group.


“When I decided to pursue reporting as a career five decades ago, I did so while living, learning and working in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. But aside from the fact that most young reporters do not get their start in those cities — at least back then — I felt something was missing. That was a more intimate connection with readers and audiences that cannot be acquired from working in large metro areas. So I’ve spent my entire reporting career with news organizations in smaller cities. “Pamplin Media Group is that rarity that combines local journalism in two dozen communities with the reach of a larger organization in a mid-sized metro area. Yes, I report on Oregon government and politics, but I do it with a sense of the readers living and working in our communities.”

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