Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

Zorn-Macpherson Bill Collection, 1926-1932

Historical Note:

The Zorn-Macpherson School Moving Bill (official title: Bill Moving University, Normal and Law Schools. Establishing Junior Colleges.) was an initiative petition on the November 1932 general election ballot. The bill provided for the consolidation of the University of Oregon and Oregon State College at the Corvallis campus to form the Oregon State University; moving of the normal schools from Monmouth, Ashland, and LaGrande to the campus in Eugene; moving the law school from Eugene to Salem; closing of the normal school at Monmouth; and creation of junior colleges at Ashland and LaGrande. The Zorn-Macpherson initiative petition campaign was the largest and most expensive in Oregon educational history up to that time. The bill was resoundingly defeated by a vote of more than 6 to 1.

Henry Zorn was a farmer near Champoeg in Marion County and President of the Marion County Taxpayers Equalization League, one of the sponsors of the initiative petition.

Hector Macpherson was a faculty member in economics and sociology at Oregon Agricultural College from 1911 until 1926, when he resigned his faculty position to offer his services to the movement for reorganization of higher education in Oregon. He was elected to the State Legislature in 1927, 1929, and 1939.

The Zorn-Macpherson Petition, 1932: A Study of the Development of Higher Education in Oregon by J. David Cunningham (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Oregon) includes a detailed analysis of this initiative petition as well as biographies of Zorn and Macpherson.


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