Many items in the 'Made in Oregon' store made overseas

Many items in the 'Made in Oregon' store made overseas

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Made in Oregon store is supposed to sell items, well, made in Oregon, right?

But some customers are unhappy because they said they went to a Made in Oregon store to buy local and instead found tags that said "Made in China."

The KATU Problem Solvers went to a Made in Oregon store and found some items in the stores are indeed made in Oregon but a good number have tags saying they are made in faraway places like China, Vietnam, El Salvador, Indonesia, Korea and Mexico.

The general manager of Made in Oregon, Candace Vincent, said most items have an Oregon connection, like the company headquarters is in Oregon, though the product is made somewhere else. For example, the company buys blank t-shirts made overseas then designs and/or prints them in Oregon.

"It is supporting a lot of jobs here," said Vincent at the store's headquarters in Northeast Portland. "We have 500 vendors we buy from."

Some customers say that's not enough.

"My problem with that is, when you go into a Made in Oregon store, shouldn't it be made in Oregon?" said Tom Baze, who wanted to buy a hat at a Made in Oregon store in Salem but found it was made in China.

He said he wanted to shop at Made in Oregon specifically because, "I wanted to be able to help somebody here – somebody that's making a product here in the state of Oregon."

On the Made in Oregon website, under the "Frequently Asked Questions" section, there is a question that asks: "Are all of your products really made in Oregon?" The company's answer: "Yes."

"OK. That would probably be somewhat inconsistent with what we have," Vincent admitted during an interview.

She says it would be very difficult to make some of the items in Oregon. A Pendleton shirt, she says, could cost more than $200.

"So I would love to come up with a different name," she said. "Maybe we can come up with something – Oregonians can. I would love that. You know, rename it and have it be more representative of what the store is but it's still all about Oregon, which is what it is anyway."

When it was suggested to her the name could be "All About Oregon," she said: "Exactly. I think we have it."

Vincent said the company is changing because it has heard from many customers this year. She said they are re-evaluating what they sell and they are going to try to return more to products at least made in the United States.