PORTLAND -- Rachel Berry has stepped down from her position as Miss Oregon over questions regarding the residency requirements for the competition.
After a subsequent review of the residency requirement, Miss Berry was not able to prove she satisfied the residency requirement six months prior to competing in the Miss Willamette Valley pageant in April 2012, according to a statement released by Dana Phillips, CEO and Executive Director for the Miss Oregon Scholarship Pageant.
The rules state that a woman must be an Oregon resident for at least six months before competing in the state pageant. Berry was not available for comment to KGW Thursday, but records show that she did not get an Oregon driver's license until last January. Also, video posted from her job as a reporter with the city of Hawthorne, Calif. aired in November.
Now Berry will not be competing in the Miss America pageant in Las Vegas in January of 2013. Instead, the runner-up will likely get that opportunity.
Photos: Miss Oregon 2012 contestants
To compete for Miss America is a dream I have worked toward since I was young, but I accept this decision to do the right thing and relinquish this title. In the spirit of what Miss America stands for, I would not want to deprive another contestant of the opportunity to represent the beautiful State of Oregon at the Miss America Pageant, Berry said.
It was unclear whether Berry would return the $10,000 scholarship that she won, along with the crown.
The first runner-up was 24-year-old Nicole Mead of Three Rivers. Pageant officials had not officially declared that Mead will become Miss Oregon. Kayla Bowker, 21, of Klamath County, and 18-year-old Shalese Curle of Coos County were the second and third runners up, respectively.
The Miss Oregon Pageant was started in Seaside, Oregon in 1947 and it continues to be held at the Seaside Convention Center. In 2012, between the local and state pageants, the Miss Oregon Scholarship Program made available $452,000 in cash and tuition scholarships.
The Miss America Pageant was started in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1921 and moved to Las Vegas, Nevada in 2006. The Miss America Organization is a not-for profit organization that is the largest private provider of scholarship money to young women in America.