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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Secretary Of State Launches Crowdfunding Effort To Restore Original State Constitution

Oregon's original constitution is badly in need of some TLC. Secretary of State Dennis Richardson launched a crowdfunding campaign Tuesday to restore and protect the document.

Richardson stood inside the state Capitol rotunda wearing white gloves, holding the original Oregon Constitution -- and asking for money.

"Contribute whatever you can," Richardson said. "It can be a dollar, it could be as much as you can afford.” 

Richardson wants Oregonians to pitch in $100,000 to restore the document and build a new display case for it. Richardson said the current case leaves the historic document vulnerable.

"Anybody that came could break that glass and just grab the document and take off,” he said. “So we need to make sure that it's protected in all ways."

The new case would also be climate controlled to protect the thin pages from further deterioration.

The effort to restore the document started several years ago under then-Secretary of State Kate Brown with a pitch to Oregon schoolchildren to contribute coins. That has yielded about $6,000 so far, according to the Secretary of State's office.

The fund raising efforts are now open to all Oregonians, through a donation site that includes such incentives as a commemorative lapel pin or a personally signed thank you note from Richardson.

The Oregon Constitution has been amended dozens of times since statehood. The original version contains provisions that would be repugnant to modern-day sensibilities, including a section that banned African-Americans from moving to the state. The section wasn't removed by Oregon voters until 1926.