Process to select new mascot at Columbia River High School off to ‘creative’ start


Chieftains mascot and logo was retired in September

Unity and identity.

That is one of the themes for Columbia River High School’s athletic teams this school year, should there be athletics, according to Nick Davies, the school’s athletic director.

Columbia River High School is asking for the public’s input on a new mascot. Photo by Mike Schultz
Columbia River High School is asking for the public’s input on a new mascot. Photo by Mike Schultz

Fitting, because school leaders are hoping the community will unite as Columbia River begins the process of coming up with a new mascot.

The Chieftains, if you recall, are no more. 

The Board of Directors of Vancouver Public Schools voted unanimously to retire the name and logo in September. The action was immediate. No more Columbia River Chieftains. 

Last week, the school district announced a timeline for the process to find a new mascot. That includes asking community members to submit suggestions. 

“It’s going really well at this point,” Davies said.  “Kids are creative. The community is creative. We’re getting a lot of suggestions already. It’s really nice to see the amount of support, the amount of suggestions people are throwing out there.”

An online survey will be up through Oct. 31 to accept suggestions:

https://vansd.sjc1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_dmL4Vnwhcjd11cx

The mascot transition team, which consists of 26 people, will go over the suggestions and provide the superintendent with at least three but no more than five finalists. The team includes students, current faculty, former faculty, alumni, community members and parents. The team covers the generations of Columbia River, going back to the school’s opening in 1962.

Davies said there is a large representation of the current study body. 

“We need their voice,” he said.

Davies acknowledged that the community is split on this issue. Many Chieftains did not want the name to be changed. The school board made its decision. Now, the school looks toward the future.

“We still want to honor all the great things people before us have done as we move forward to something new,” Davies said.

Respect.

Integrity.

Value.

Excellence.

Responsibility.

Davies said that is what RIVER stands for, and that will remain.

“Keep our same ideals but change the image of what that looks like,” he said.

VPS suggests that the new mascot should reflect the “geographic or historical features” of Hazel Dell, Vancouver, the state, or the Northwest. It should avoid names that would cause confusion with other local mascots. And the new mascot should celebrate the traditions and history at the high school. 

Columbia River High School is no longer using the Chieftains as a mascot and logo. Vancouver Public Schools has a timeline for the renaming process. The school is expected to announce a new mascot in April 2021. Photo by Mike Schultz
Columbia River High School is no longer using the Chieftains as a mascot and logo. Vancouver Public Schools has a timeline for the renaming process. The school is expected to announce a new mascot in April 2021. Photo by Mike Schultz

Clark County Today learned that there is a push by many in the Columbia River community to go with no new mascot. Just Columbia River. Davies confirmed that he knows that is among the many suggestions that the committee will take under advisement.

The district also provided a timeline for the process.

The survey will be up through Oct. 31.

• By Dec. 17: The transition team gives the superintendent its finalists.

• Jan 14, 2021: Superintendent presents finalists to board of directors for their approval.

• Feb. 26, 2021: Current Columbia River High School students select mascot by a majority vote.

• March 2021: Transition team solicits and selects an artist to come up with imagery of the new mascot; also in March there will be an event to honor Columbia River’s history and milestones. 

• April 2021: The transition team presents the new mascot to the community.

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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