Nov. 3, 2018 — At the Mapleton School District Board meeting held Tuesday night, the school board heard from several community members, both in person and in writing, about what design should be used for the gym floor logo. Instead of making a final decision, the board opted to put the decision up for a community vote.
At issue was whether or not the district should keep the traditional Salty mascot or update the logo entirely, a conversation that began when the school decided to resurface the gym floor as part of the school district’s multi-million-dollar remodel that was made possible by bond funds.
According to the district, the refinishing is needed to repair damaged flooring and allowing the installation of a vapor barrier to ensure the longevity of the gym floor.
While it was originally expected that the board would make a final decision on the matter during the meeting, there were concerns that by doing so, the community, including current students and alumni, would not be included in the decision.
To help alleviate this concern, the board decided to let community members decide.
“Anyone can cast their vote for the design they would prefer to see in the center of the Mapleton High School gym floor,” the district said in a press release.
The board defined “community” as students past and present, along with non-students.
“Everyone should get an equal vote,” the release said.
Whichever the community votes for, the board stated they will be committed to honoring the choice.
The board whittled down the choices to two renderings the community can choose from: Either the traditional Salty design that currently rests on the gym floor, or a big “M,” coupled with the phrase “Home of the Sailors.”
“The photos of the logo designs are ‘renderings,’ therefore, they may not be exactly as shown in the pictures, but we will get as close as we can (especially with Salty),” Mapleton School District Superintendent Jodi O’Mara said.
While there had been alternate designs of Salty presented to the school board, including one designed by a Disney artist, the board opted to stay with the more traditional Salty logo that has been seen on the gym floor since the 1970s.
The community can vote in one of two ways: Visiting the link on the Mapleton School District website at www.mapleton.k12.or.us, or by coming to the high school office between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Voting closes at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, November 13.
The gym floor design with the most votes will be approved at the Wednesday, Nov. 14 board meeting at Mapleton High School at 6 p.m.
While each choice comes with its own caveat, the board stated they chose the two options to ensure that the history of Mapleton is represented in the gym in the most responsible way. Both of the options for voting include preserving Salty’s presence in the gym.
If the community chooses the “M” design, this does not mean that Salty will disappear from the gym all together. While the floor design will change, a mural will be installed on the wall including the past iterations of Salty, Sally and any other mascots that have been designed throughout the school’s history.
If the community decides to keep the traditional Salty design on the gym floor, it’s possible that the school could be forced to change the design in the future.
The board received advice from the Oregon School Board Association that “a mascot should not discriminate in any way or have the effect of favoring one protected class over another.”
During the past year, there have been three statewide cases involving high school mascots that were deemed non-inclusive, including a controversy in South Eugene surrounding the name “Axemen.” The name was changed to simply “Axe.”
If state laws eventually do change prohibiting mascots from being non-inclusive, Mapleton could be forced to incur additional costs to replace the logo. The current estimate to sand, seal, stripe, paint and apply three coats of finish is $26,795.
Refinishing the gym floor is what began the current controversy surrounding Salty in the first place, when the school board began asking questions on whether or not mascot was inclusive of all Mapleton students and alumni, and if everyone was being represented by Salty. This led to a round of sometimes heated public comment, with the majority of the community asking to keep Salty as is.
This final community vote will only affect the gym floor logo, and not the use of Salty on the school district’s website, nor will it be a deciding vote on any other mascots the school uses, such as the anchor or schooner boat.
And, as stressed by the board, this will not affect the Mapleton’s use of the term “Sailors.”
“We will always be Sailors,” board members wrote in the press release.
And it’s as Sailors that the community will decide the fate of Salty on the gym floor.