If you thought the Willamette Meteorite was finally old news
after owner Darryl Pitt stopped the sale of the 30-pound crown piece of the 10,000-year-old rock when it failed to conjure up more than $300,000 at last Sunday's New York auction (it was expected to bring in about $1.3 million), you're wrong
Rep. John Lim brought the meteorite back into the headlines
when he announced today that he would be leading a statewide campaign to bring the meteorite back to its home state.
You might remember this is not the first time Rep. Lim has taken interest in the Willamette Meteorite—
he took the issue up in the last legislative session when he tried to bring the full 15.5-ton iron mass back from the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where it has been for nearly a hundred years, to its home state of Oregon. You might also remember his attempt was unsuccessful
, since not even the state's Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, who call the meteorite Tomanowos and view it as a sacred and spiritual part of their culture, supported Lim's legislation.
But now, with Sunday's failure to sell the crown piece of the Willamette Meteorite
to New York's less-than-enthusiastic buyers, Rep. Lim is once again pushing for its return. Lim says he sent a letter to Pitt, who still owns the meteorite, letting him know he aims to buy the 30-pound piece for around $360,000
. He says if he and Pitt can agree on a reasonable price, he will begin a statewide fundraising campaign to bring the stone back to Oregon. “I'm willing to donate a reasonable amount towards the campaign, about $1,000,”
he says. And he says the rest of the money will come from elementary schools, high schools, indigenous peoples, and members of the Legislature,
each of whom he will ask to donate just $1 towards the campaign.
He also noted that the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde have heard his proposal and are willing to work with Lim to bring a piece of the Willamette Meteorite back to Oregon.
Lim says he'd ultimately like to see the crown piece end up at Portland's Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
(OMSI) “so everyone could come see what it is and what it looks like.” He's personally “very attached” to the stone and feels it “belongs to the people of Oregon.”
Lim thinks he will have no problem fundraising for the meteorite, since it's such an important issue to so many people.
Rep. Lim also intends to bring the issue up again in next year's Legislature
, in order to get “official approval from the state.” And “hopefully," he says, “it won't have any opposition” this time around.