This oral history interview with Travis Cross was conducted by Jim Strassmaier in Cross' office at St. Vincent's Hospital and at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland, Oregon, from October 8 to November 23, 1987. In this interview, Cross discusses his family background and early life in Salem, Oregon, including growing up in the same neighborhood as Mark Hatfield. He then talks about attending Willamette University at the same time as Hatfield, and how they became more closely acquainted. He talks about Hatfield's early life, military service during World War II, and college experiences at Stanford University and Willamette University. He talks about Hatfield's admiration for Herbert Hoover and Dwight D. Eisenhower; and about working at Willamette University at the same time as Hatfield.
Cross then discusses acting as an aide throughout Hatfield's Oregon political career, from 1957 to 1967. He discusses Hatfield as Oregon secretary of state, including helping with campaigns, and the make-up of Hatfield's staff. He describes the duties of the secretary of state, including running the elections division and serving on the board of control; some of their accomplishments during that time; and working with Governor Bob Holmes.
Cross talks about Hatfield as Oregon governor from 1959 to 1967. He discusses the appointment of Howard Appling as secretary of state, Hatfield's relationship with the Oregon Republican Party, and Hatfield's attempts to reorganize state government. He discusses working with the Oregon Legislature, appointments Hatfield made, and dealing with the press. Cross talks about Hatfield's political opponents, including Howard Morgan and Robert Y. Thornton. He also discusses Hatfield's opposition to the Vietnam War, and his support for Barry Goldwater during the 1964 Republican presidential primary. He talks about Hatfield's 1966 campaign for the U.S. Senate, and his decision to leave Hatfield's staff. He discusses Hatfield's Washington, D.C., staff, including Gerry Frank. He also describes Glenn Jackson and Monte Montgomery. Cross closes the interview by discussing his activities after leaving Hatfield's staff and their continued friendship.