Honoring Col. Baker

By Baker City Herald Editorial Board June 17, 2011 11:44 am

We have on occasion chastised the Oregon Legislature for dealing with inane topics while it’s in session in Salem.

Designating an official state soil, for instance, seemed to us an unjustified indulgence when Oregon’s coffers, or so we’re told, are $3 billion short.

And so it is with the understanding that we expose ourselves to charges of hypocrisy that we congratulate lawmakers for passing a bill designating Edward Dickinson Baker Day.

The day, honoring one of Oregon’s first two U.S. senators, will be recognized each Feb. 24, starting in 2012.

It will not be an official holiday, though — government offices, schools and banks will remain open.

Now we’ll concede that this sort of ceremonial legislation pales in significance compared with paying for schools, prisons and social services.

However, Edward Baker is an important figure in Oregon history, and he deserves to be honored as such.

Besides being the only member of Congress who was killed in combat during the Civil War, and a close friend of Abraham Lincoln, Col. Baker was the namesake for Baker County and Baker City.

Which is no small potatoes — no matter what kind of soil they’re grown in.