Commemorative Coin Should Reflect
Determining the design on the flip side of our state's commemorative quarter may have reopened the divide between east and west in our state.
Nearly two-thirds of our state's area is east of the Cascade crest, but the population of Western Washington is much larger and the west side generally dominates on statewide matters.
That may be the case again with the quarter. It is up to Gov. Chris Gregoire and the U.S. Mint to make the final decision on the design, expected to be officially announced this summer.
Meantime, in a public opinion poll on three competing designs, 45 percent responding favored one that shows a salmon jumping above the surface of a lake with a tree-fringed Mount Rainier in the background.
Nothing the matter with that. Snow-covered Mount Rainier is the tallest and most prominent peak in the Cascade Range in this state. And salmon are the most prominent commercial and sport fish.
That's two outstanding things for which this great state is renowned, among our many attributes.
But a close second, with 40 percent of the survey vote, was a design with the motto and image of apples, as well as Mount Rainier and a salmon. And in this one they are surrounded by an outline of our state's boundaries.
Washington, with its highly successful Red Delicious apple variety, along with others, has been known as the "Apple Capital of the World." Our apples from east of the Cascade crest have made this state famous.
Supporters of the runner-up design could make the case that the salmon is primarily representative of Western Washington (although, granted, they migrate each year into Columbia River tributaries in Eastern Washington). Mount Rainier, near the crest and also visible in part of Eastern Washington, is a more visual unifying symbol of the state. The apple primarily represents Eastern Washington and the tremendous agricultural production there so important to this state's economy.
These elements are unified with an outline that shows a possessor of the quarter (say someone from New York City) what our state actually looks like.
It would be even better if the slogan "The Evergreen State," showing a tree or two (reflecting their importance) could be added to this design.
The State Quarter Advisory commission has recommended its design preference to Gregoire, but hasn't revealed what that is.
We hope the final choice will adequately reflect the best of the entire state, not overlooking Eastern Washington, and when the coin is minted and released next year it will be something we can be proud of among the commemorative collectors' item coins of all 50 states.
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