With a definite chill in the air outside, the US Mint in association with the United States Forest Service officially unveiled Oregon’s 2010 Mount Hood National Forest Quarter to a standing room only crowd.
On Wednesday, November 17, 2010, the ceremony began at 10:30 AM Pacific Time (PT) and took place inside of Portland’s World Forestry Center located just a few miles from the border of the national forest. Co-hosting the event were United States Mint Deputy Director Andy Brunhart and Forest Supervisor Gary Larsen, Mount Hood National Forest. Master of Ceremony duties were fulfilled by Matt Zaffino, chief meteorologist for KGW-TV.
Pre-event entertainment was provided by students of Welches Middle School. Boy Scout Troop Number 64 followed with the presentation of the colors and led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. The entertainment continued with Warm Springs Tribe Chief Delvis Heath of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs who performed a short prayer in his native language before singing a Native American song.
Master of Ceremonies Zaffino welcomed all who attended. He also introduced each of the featured speakers before they took to the podium.
Forest Supervisor Larsen was the first featured speaker and immediately noted how honored he was to be part of such a special event and acknowledged several of the dignitaries who were in attendance. His interest in Mount Hood was easily apparent, especially with his introductory comments.
"Mount Hood, in a very special way, is the people’s mountain," declared Mount Hood National Forest Supervisor Gary Larsen. "It belongs to every citizen of Oregon, and they probably claim it as their own, and it also belongs to the people of the United States. The five million people per year who visit the mountain each have a special and individual relationship with the mountain."
Designed and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill, an image of Mount Hood is shown on the reverse side of the new quarter with Lost Lake portrayed in the foreground. The new strikes represent the fifth of five new 2010 releases from the US Mint of the America the Beautiful Quarters Program. The program itself debuted just this year but will run until 2021. A total of fifty-six locations will be honored when the program is complete with one site of national interest chosen from each state, the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories.
Following Larsen was Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler who took a few moments to proclaim the beauties of Oregon. He also pointed out the important geographical and historical significance that Mount Hood has played throughout history finally declaring Mount Hood "an Oregon Treasure."
United States Representative Earl Blumenauer’s field representative Hillary Barbour had a few comments for herself and for the congressman about Mount Hood before Kathleen Tom and Chris Mercier spoke representing the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Rhonde. A troupe from the Grand Rhonde Tribe then performed another Native American song.
Finally closing out the ceremony was United States Mint Deputy Director Andy Brunhart. His comments spoke of the beauty and spirit brought to the nation through the iconic Mount Hood, the quarter representing it as well as all of the US Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarters.
"When Americans see this coin," stated US Mint Deputy Directory Brunhart about the Mount Hood Quarter, "they will connect with it the splendid beauty of Mount Hood; the humbling presence; the spiritual essence which beckons to us today, as it did with our early inhabitants."
A ceremonial unveiling of the Mount Hood Quarter reverse design was completed before children aged 18 and under were given a free Mount Hood Quarter for attending the event. Adults then had the opportunity to exchange cash for rolls of the new strikes.
Although the official ceremony unveiling occurred on Wednesday, the Mount Hood Quarter was actually released into circulation earlier in the week on Monday, November 15, 2010. On that day, local banks and institutions who had received them as part of their orders from the Federal Reserve Bank were allowed to release the coins to the general public. The US Mint also started offering the coins to the public on that same day in bags and rolls.
The 100-coin bags contain 100 circulation quality Mount Hood Quarters struck at the buyer’s choice of the US Mint’s facility in Denver or the US Mint’s facility in Philadelphia. Each bag sells for $35.95. Each two-roll set sells for $32.95 and contains one roll of forty circulation quality quarters struck at the Philadelphia Mint and one roll of forty circulation quality quarters struck at the Denver Mint.
Both options may be ordered by calling the US Mint at 1-800-USA-MINT, or via their website of www.usmint.gov. The Mint’s standard shipping and handling charge of $4.95 per order will apply.