Curtin, Bill

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Curtin, Bill

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1942-

History

William Craib Curtin (1942- ) was a Catholic priest in the Albina Community of North/Northeast Portland in the late 1960s until 1981. Bill Curtin worked closely with the African American community and was involved in civil rights issues and community organizing. He grew up in Portland, and was inspired by his father’s work as a police officer serving the Albina Community and the respect his father held for the African American community, as well as by the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement.

Curtin served as a priest in the Archdiocese of Portland from 1968-1980, first at St. Charles Parish and from 1971-1981, at Immaculate Heart. He received his training at the Suplican Seminary of the Northwest.

His activism focused on the Albina neighborhood when the city rezoned a third of the parish for commercial use to make way for the expansion of Emmanuel Hospital, tearing at the community fabric and leaving blocks of abandoned housing. His work also extended to police-community relations and alcohol and drug recovery programs.

Curtin later worked in the security field, directing campus safety at Reed and Lewis and Clark Colleges. He retired in 2006, but continues to do consulting work with colleges and universities in the Northwest and across the country.

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