“Keep Oregon Green®” is a registered trademark of the Keep Oregon Green Association, Inc.

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In the beginning about July 1940, Oregon’s State Forester, Nels Rogers, John B. Woods, Edmund Hayes, and others, started a Keep Oregon Green program. Early in 1941, Governor Sprague called an organizational meeting and a KOG Committee of some 65 public-spirited citizens was established. From this group was named an executive committee which included Edmund Hayes, Row River Lumber Co., Chair; Dean Johnson, C.D. Johnson Lumber Company, Vice Chair; John B. Woods, Oregon Forest Fire Association, Executive Secretary; H. J. Cox, Willamette Valley Lumbermen’s Association; Nels Rogers, State Forester; John C. Kuhns, U.S. Forest Service; and Walter Wiesendanger, businessman, Klamath Falls.

A full-scale KOG program was launched by Richard Kuehner, 4-H Club extension agent from Lane County, in 1942. About 65 prominent and influential people, willing to lend their names to the cause, were appointed to a KOG “General Committee.” Then a public-spirited individual from each county was appointed as “County Chairman,” and this chairman appointed a local committee within his/her county. Statewide newspaper and radio committees made up of influential leaders in these fields were appointed.

During this time also, the Oregon Green Guard program for youth participation was initiated. Mr. Kuehner developed a program unique in nature that maintained the identity of KOG, yet was flexible enough for individual participation in fire prevention or group participation on a project basis by which merit badges and other awards could be earned. At first, applications were distributed statewide, mainly through the schools, 4-H clubs, Boy Scouts, and other youth groups. The response was so immediate and tremendous that the Salem office was deluged with applications to process, posters and fire prevention material to mail out and barely enough funds on which to operate. The main purpose of this program was to get the youth to remove the fuels around their farms houses and outbuildings. Isn’t it amazing that in 1940, we were asking the same thing we ask of residents today…remove the fuels that carry fire from around their homes to protect it should a wildfire occur.

In 1948, Albert Wiesendanger, District Ranger, U.S. Forest Service, took an early retirement from the Mount Hood National Forest and most successfully maintained enthusiastic support of the program for over 20 years. Albert Wiesendanger is the personification of Mr. KOG.

In The Beginning