Toledo Might Quickly Be Residence of the ‘Timbers,’ ‘Bigfoots’ or ‘River Runners’


By Claudia Yaw / [email protected]

Local sports fields could soon be home to the Toledo Timbers – or the Toledo Bigfoots, Steelheads, River Runners or Trappers. All are suggestions from community members as the school district tries to abandon its nickname “Indian” for a new mascot.

The Toledo Zombies and the Toledo Aliens have also been submitted. It is unclear which mascot is considered worthy by the community.

What is clear, however, is that despite the creative juices now flowing through the city, some residents still buried their heels in the rebranding.

The district reported on Facebook this week that the 450 responses were received on the first day of their online survey, several contributions were: “Indians”.

“I hope everyone realizes that this is not possible,” said the post.

Toledo’s recent rebranding comes at the behest of the state, which is poised to sign a law largely prohibiting public schools from using Native American mascots or images without the consent of local tribes. The legislation was passed to Governor Jay Inslee on Thursday.

The legislation received widespread support from both parties, including a yes vote from all Lewis County lawmakers. It was sponsored by the only Indian member of the legislature, Rep. Debra Lekanoff, D-Bow.

Home of the “Indians” for a century, Toledo has slowly phased out mascot costumes, “Chief Wahoo” caricatures, and other indigenous-themed imagery, often despite local outrage.

The account’s new profile picture – the normal T logo without the usual feathers – also drew the ire of some community members who called the change a “culture cancel” online this week.

The new image will serve as a temporary logo until a new mascot and corresponding images are selected. This process will include focus groups involving the Cowlitz Indian tribe, students, alumni, coaches, family members, staff and “distant friends of Toledo”, according to the district.

And so far the possibilities seem endless.

The volcanoes could, as one respondent suggested, refer to nearby Mount St. Helens, whose crater, formed by a violent eruption in 1980, can be seen across the region. Salmon or fish mascots could highlight the Cowlitz River and countless tributaries in southwest Washington. A Sasquatch mascot could make Toledo’s lure to Forks, a small town that is still referred to as the land of vampires and werewolves.

Julie McDonald, a Toledo-based historian and chronicle columnist, said she was in favor of the Sasquatch idea, pointing to Toledo’s unique role in developing the myth: Toledo’s Ray Wallace is still a household name, at least among Bigfoot enthusiasts .

In 2002, the community was shaken by news that Wallace had kept the joke alive for years with wooden feet. Others claim that it was Rant Mullins, who lived in Toledo, who should be credited with maintaining the legend.

“We should grab that name before anyone else does,” McDonald said in an email.

Other longtime Toledo residents, such as councilor Glenda Forga, are not thrilled with the prospect of losing the decade-old name of “Indian”. Forga, a 1980 graduate of Toledo High School, told The Chronicle that she, her mother, children, and grandchildren have all walked the district.

“Everyone sees it as an honor for the Cowlitz tribe. We have never considered it harmful, ”she said. “It just makes me sick with the heart.”

Forga noticed that she hadn’t looked at any other mascot suggestions.