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Reedsport high school has until July 1 to change 'Braves' mascot, remove imagery

Reedsport Community Charter School has until July 1 of next year to completely change the mascot, which means images like the one on the gym floor will have to be completely removed and repainted. (SBG/Jessica Waite)

REEDSPORT, Ore. -- Four years ago, an Oregon administrative rule prohibited public schools from using Native American mascots.

Wednesday night in Reedsport, the community talked about how to change the school's mascot from the Braves.

Reedsport Community Charter School has until July 1 of next year to completely change the mascot, which means images like the one on the gym floor will have to be completely removed and repainted.

The rule was amended in 2015, allowing schools to keep Native American imagery and nicknames, but only with formal permission of the local tribe.

"What I found in coming to Reedsport and reaching out with the three local tribes -- the Coos Lower Umpqua, Siuslaw, the Coquille, and the Siletz -- is they don't agree that it's an honorable way to represent their tribes," said Reedsport Superintendent Dan Forbess.

The goal is to find a more inclusive solution to keep the name without the Native American imagery.

"It is a big deal for the community; it's a long standing tradition,” says booster club board member Joe Zelinski. “This is a community that's had a lot of things taken away from it in the last 30 years. The timber industry, the fishing industry, lumber mills up and down the rivers here -- all gone now. It would be a shame to lose another core component of the community with the Brave name."

The idea is to take the ‘s’ out of Braves and keep the name Brave -- Reedsport Brave.

“…Because it does really keep the Brave name itself, which has strong ties in this community. We felt that was a way forward that preserved as much of the past as we could, but gave an opportunity to move forward and still be in compliance with the law," Zelinski said.

The name and image committee says they want more ideas from the community.

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