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October 11th, 2006 Claire Trageser | Rogue of the Week
 

Downtown Made In Oregon Store

     
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The Rogue desk went shopping last week after getting a tip that some jewelry at the downtown Made in Oregon store wasn't actually "made in Oregon."

Reader Ric Balfour had emailed us that he'd noticed the cardboard backing for Siskiyou-brand pewter bracelets he recently bought had been cut at a slant across the bottom. It was only when he looked closer that he saw the top half of a "Made in China" label above the slanted cut on one of the packages.

When WW visited the store at 921 SW Morrison St., we also found Siskiyou jewelry with the backings cut so that you couldn't see the "Made in China" labels. And we found Siskiyou money clips with "Made in Oregon" price tags placed over "Made in China" labels.

Made in Oregon general manager Candace Vincent says the company didn't mean to mislead and that it was Siskiyou that accidentally used backings with "Made in China" labels. Siskiyou owner Ken Stringer confirmed that account, saying the backings for Siskiyou's jewelry line made in China (but not ordinarily sold in Made in Oregon stores) were inadvertently used for all Siskiyou jewelry, most of which is made in Ashland. The company has since fixed its mistake.

But that still leaves the question of why the "Made in China" labels on the mistakenly labeled products were so hard to spot at the Made in Oregon shop. Vincent says the downtown store manager cut the Siskiyou cards so they would fit better on the display rack.

Yet the larger money-clip backings with the Made in Oregon tags managed to fit on the rack next to the pewter bracelet backings that had been trimmed.

Look, not all Made in Oregon items (such as college team sweatshirts) are actually made in-state. But selling jewelry made in China, and making it harder for consumers like Balfour to know their origin, makes the Rogue cut because customers who think they're supporting Oregon artisans shouldn't have to sleuth out the truth.

 
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