Oregon History

Halfway, Ore., renaming and branding


Mayor: Hey, the photographer for the postcard company is going to be here tomorrow to take some shots of our town.

City manager: Well, let’s spruce it up a bit – we can get some paint from Johnson’s old farmhouse – make ‘er look nice.

Councilperson: Um, the photographer came yesterday.

Postcard photographers were like Google Street View cars nowadays- ya never know when they’re gonna swoop in and start snapping.

And Halfway? Remember them from the late 1990s? They sold the naming rights to their town to, Ore.

Here’s a great update by Design Observer from a couple years back that gives the lowdown on the hows and whys of renaming your town – and going so far as to let a company buy your rights or choosing other  ill-fated names.

Here’s a graf from the article:

Other towns have reconfigured their identities by renaming their towns themselves. Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania renamed itself Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania in 1954, when the widow of the sports star agreed to bury him there. in 1950, the town of Hot Springs, New Mexico, renamed itself Truth or Consequences — after the game show by the same name. More recently, Ismay, Montana changed its name to Joe, Montana — hoping to build profitably upon the name of the football superstar by the same name.

Don’t get me started on city taglines, either. I’m not the biggest fan of taglines in general [“committed to exceptional service,” “price, value, service.”] Ugh. If you’re going to write a tagline, make it relevant to the brand at least. Or make it memorable.

Regardless, here are the Tagline Guru’s  The Top 50 U.S. City Slogans.

Oh, and Halfway? Nowadays it looks like a friendly, well-kept Oregon small town. The town took the money and used it to renovate their town. Kudos, Halfway!

5 replies on “Halfway, Ore., renaming and branding”

I’m delighted to have stumbled upon your blog – it’s right up my alley. The Top 50 Slogans link was super – for some reason “City of Paved Streets” killed me. I also enjoyed your post about the alternative newspapers of the 70s. We had a couple in Boston, one still exists. There’s a great movie, Between the Lines from 1977, that was filmed in Boston and Cambridge and was based on the defunct weekly The Real Paper. Those were the days – I look forward to more excerpts.


I think I prefer the postcard shots to Google street view. More mockable. This was hilarious! A good laugh and read is what I need early on a Friday morning.

If they had a worst 50 slogans, my town would be at the top! We paid a branding agency to come up with “Where renewal is a way of life” along with a new logo featuring a swoosh.

Kind of makes you feel like you live in a corporate retirement village. Ick.

I was in Halfway for the first time last year for 2 days of Cycle Oregon – I swore to go back someday soon. I met some local folks I’ll never forget – just striking up conversation at the tavern or on the street. Such a genuine and unique place in a gorgeous setting. Just one of the many things to love about Oregon. I can’t wait to visit again.

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