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Oral history interview with John D. Burns

This oral history interview with John D. Burns was conducted by Clark Hansen at Burns' office in Portland, Oregon, from April 22, 1992, to February 28, 1993. In this interview, Burns discusses his family background and early life in Condon, Oregon, particularly life on a ranch. He then discusses attending Notre Dame University, including his involvement in athletics; and attending Georgetown University Law School, including how his political views solidified during this time. He also talks about working for Senator Dick Neuberger. Burns discusses returning to Oregon to work as a lawyer, then as deputy district attorney in Multnomah County, including working with George Van Hoomissen, and cases he tried. He discusses his time as a lawyer in a firm with Pat Dooley, working on insurance cases. He also talks about his involvement in the Democratic Party and politics. He speaks briefly about his marriage to Brooke Claridge and their four children.

Burns discusses his legislative career in the Oregon Senate from 1967 to 1975, including his campaigns. He discusses legislation he worked on, including revising the criminal code, taxes, environmental legislation, abortion, transportation, mental health, his committee assignments, and Senate procedure. He also talks about his fellow legislators, including Tony Yturri, Stafford Hansell, Lynn Newbry, and Debbs Potts. He discusses the coalition of conservative Democrats and Republicans that controlled the Senate for many decades. Burns then discusses his time as president of the Senate from 1971 to 1973, including the process of getting elected to the position, reducing the number of committees, and reapportionment. He talks about many of the landmark pieces of legislation that passed during his tenure, including the Bottle Bill and the raising of the voting age to 18. He also discusses his relationship with the press; the election of Jason Boe as Senate president in 1973; and the land-use bill SB 100.

After a year-long break, the interview resumes with a discussion of Oregon politics in 1993, including politicians that Burns considered rising stars, such as John Kitzhaber and Gordon Smith. He also discusses his work as a lobbyist and lawyer after leaving the Legislature. He then returns to the topic of legislation during his time in the Senate. He discusses the changes in the Legislature and the Democratic Party in the years since he left. He closes the interview by discussing his current activities and hopes for the future.

Burns, John D. (John David), 1936-

Oral history interview with Alfred H. Corbett

This oral history interview with Alfred H. Corbett was conducted by Clark Hansen at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland, Oregon, from November 29, 1991, to April 24, 1992. In this interview, Corbett discusses his family background and early life in the Dunthorpe neighborhood of Portland and in eastern Oregon. He also discusses the political career of his father, Henry Ladd Corbett, and life during the Depression. He then talks about his education, including studying business at Harvard and law at Yale. He discusses meeting his wife, Nancy deCanizares, and her family background and early life. He briefly discusses his service in the U.S. Army during World War II, where he fought in Italy from 1943 to 1945. Corbett talks about practicing law in Portland and about some of his clients, including the Southern Pacific Railroad. He also talks about his brief service on the Portland Housing Authority at the time of the Vanport Flood; his year in the Defense Electric Power Administration; his involvement with the Democratic Party; and returning to Oregon to run for the state Legislature.

Corbett discusses his legislative career in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1953 to 1956. He talks about his campaigns, partisan politics, and his committee appointments. He discusses legislation he worked on, including on child care funding, education, civil rights, and budgeting. He also speaks at length about serving on the Ways and Means Committee. He then discusses serving in the Oregon Senate from 1957 to 1964, particularly his continued work on the Ways and Means Committee. He discusses some of the legislation he worked on, including on health care.

Corbett then discusses working on the 1956 presidential campaign of Adlai Stevenson and his own 1964 campaign for Oregon secretary of state. He discusses his work in the federal Office of Economic Opportunity in Washington, D.C., from 1965 to 1972, and then in the Legal Services Corporation until his retirement in 1978. He talks about some of the programs he was affiliated with in those positions, including educational, legal aid, and health care programs. Additionally, he discusses his dealings with U.S. Senator Wayne Morse and U.S. Rep. Edith Green. He also talks about clashing with the Nixon administration. He closes the interview by talking about his activities in retirement and his family life.

Corbett, Alfred H. (Alfred Hoyt), 1915-2000

Oral history interviews with John P. Cooney

Judge Cooney begins this interview by discussing his family history and his early years in Missouri. He explains the organization of professional baseball in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s and fondly recalls his time with the New York Giants. While he talks about law school and raising a family while achieving a career, the majority of this four-and-a-half hour interview focuses on Judge Cooney’s time with the District Court.

He discusses the unique role of the magistrate judge in Oregon, as well as the distinctions of Southern Oregon. Cooney explains the operation of the federal system, discusses the District Court’s jurisdiction in issues involving federal lands, and clarifies the kinds of cases tried by magistrate judges. He also talks about the roles of his two experienced law clerks, describing their duties and abilities and crediting them with an important place in court operations. In addition, Judge Cooney discusses relations between magistrates and Article III judges, the relationships between various agencies, and being a judge in a small town.

The impact of technological advances in the court’s operation is evident as Judge Cooney describes maintaining judicial collegiality in Southern Oregon through television appearances at the judges’ Monday lunches, teleconferences, and regular phone calls. The focus of the interview is on the types of cases tried, the court’s operations, and Judge Cooney’s experiences within that operation, rather than on specific cases. He describes the remodeling of the courtroom in Medford and the complexity and wonder of computers and monitors that provide new ways to present visual evidence. The interview closes with Judge Cooney’s perspective on family life, his travels with Eleanor-whom he also credits for his success-and his future retirement.

Cooney, John P.

Oral history interview with Bill Hedlund

This oral history interview with Bill Hedlund was conducted by Clark Hansen from September 4-25, 1990. In the interview, Hedlund discusses his family history and early life in Portland, Oregon, including notable people that his family knew, such as Oswald West; his memories of World War I; and his early involvement with the Democratic Party. He then discusses his experience during the Depression, and attending the University of Oregon and the Northwestern College of Law. He talks about his early career as a deputy U.S. marshal and on the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. He also discusses practicing law in Portland, then in the U.S. Attorney's office; the evolution of his political outlook; his father's political career; and his experience in the Coast Guard auxiliary during World War II. Hedlund then discusses his term in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1941 to 1942, including his campaign, his staff and office arrangements, and legislation. He then discusses working in the U.S. Attorney's office from 1943 to 1945, after leaving the Legislature. He also talks about his 33 years as a lobbyist, particularly for oil companies, from 1945 to 1977. He discusses issues the oil lobby was concerned with, including oil spills, gas additives, and environmental legislation. He also talks briefly about the plane accident that killed Secretary of State Robert S. Farrell, Jr., Senate President Marshall E. Cornett, and Governor Earl Snell. He discusses governors of Oregon and their staffs, as well as several legislators. He closes the interview by talking about the lobbying profession in more detail, particularly his work for oil companies, and his service as commissioner of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission from 1980 to 1987.

Hedlund, Bill (William Hancock), 1910-1994

Oral history interview with Lee Johnson

This oral history interview with Lee Johnson was conducted by Clark Hansen at Johnson's home, as well as his office, in Portland, Oregon, from April 20 to September 29, 1992. In this interview, Johnson discusses his family background and early life in Toledo, Oregon, during the Depression; he likens Toledo to a company town. He talks about moving to Portland at the age of 11, then attending prep school in New Jersey, and Princeton after that. He discusses how his education at Princeton changed his political outlook, and talks about volunteering for the Navy after the Korean War. He then talks about studying law at Stanford, including his interest in antitrust law, his involvement with the Law Review, and starting a family with his wife, Dorothy Marie Miller. He goes on to discuss his brief stint as a trial lawyer for the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., under both the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations, as well as practicing law in Portland. He briefly describes many of the judges before whom he argued cases. He talks about his involvement with the Trumpeters and the Republican Party.

Johnson discusses serving in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1965 to 1968, including campaigning, advocating for a sales tax, and his views on decriminalizing drugs. He also talks about some of the legislators he served with, including Monte Montgomery and Harry Boivin. He also speaks about Governor Mark Hatfield's administration; reapportionment; and the constitutionality of the Beach Bill. He then discusses serving as attorney general for Oregon from 1969 to 1975, particularly his campaigns. He also discusses some of the cases he prosecuted, his staff, and recruiting lawyers. He also speaks at length about the passage of the Bottle Bill. He discusses working in Governor Tom McCall's administration, as well as Governor Bob Straub's; his rivalry with Clay Myers; and working with George Van Hoomisen. He also talks about his work on cases regarding welfare reforms, particularly to help single mothers; antitrust law; regulation of fisheries; and crime prevention. He speaks often about the working relationship the district attorney's office had with the Oregon Legislature. He also describes his DUI arrest and the resulting trial; the gun control debate; the prison system and capital punishment; and whistleblower protections.

Johnson discusses his partial term as a judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals from 1977 to 1978, including his campaigns, the role of the judiciary, and working with juries. He also discusses judges he worked with, including Jacob Tanzer, Jason Lee, Hans Linde and Herb Schwabe. He talks about judicial decisions, including on abortion; procedures of the court; continuing education; the relationship between courts of different levels; and his views on the role of judges. He speaks at length about his time working for the administration of Governor Vic Atiyeh, as well as changes in the Legislature. He then talks about serving on the Multnomah County Circuit Court of Appeals from 1983 up to the time of the interview in 1992, including cases he worked on, his colleagues, and staff. He talks about how legislation has affected the job of judges, including the war on drugs, liability laws, and sentencing guidelines. He closes the interview with a discussion of the members of the Oregon delegation to Congress.

Johnson, Lee (Robertson Lee), 1930-2009

Oral history interview with Denny Jones

This oral history interview with Denny Jones was conducted by Clark Hansen at Jones' home in Ontario, Oregon, from July 27-30, 1992. Jones' wife, Mildred Jones, was also present. In the interview, Jones discusses his family background and early life in Eastern Oregon and Montana, including training and racing horses, daily life on a cattle ranch, and life during Prohibition and the Depression. Denny Jones and Mildred Jones then discuss their courtship and wedding, as well as her family background. He then talks about buying a cattle ranch and issues ranchers face, including water rights, livestock loss, and using federal land for grazing. Jones discusses getting involved in politics, including lobbying for the Oregon Cattlemen's Association.

Jones discusses serving in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1973 to the time of the interview in 1992, including his campaigns, his constituency, and legislation he worked on, particularly on agriculture and land use. He also discusses working with various governors' administrations, including those of Tom McCall, Bob Straub, Vic Atiyeh, and Neil Goldschmidt. He also discusses his relationship with the press, his conservative politics, and the procedures of the House. He talks about some of his fellow legislators, particularly John Kitzhaber and Vera Katz. He closes the interview by talking about his current family life and ranching activities.

Jones, Denny (Denzil Eugene), 1910-2012

Oral history interview with Sidney Leiken

This oral history interview with Sidney Leiken was conducted by Clark Hansen at Leiken's office in Roseburg, Oregon, on June 8, 1992. In the interview, Leiken discusses his family background and early life in New Haven, Connecticut, including the effect the Depression had on his family and his experience in the Civilian Conservation Corps, which brought him to Oregon. He then discusses working at sawmills, his marriage to Thora Hult, and the lumber business. He discusses moving to Roseburg, Oregon, starting a family, and getting into politics, including his involvement with the Democratic Party. Leiken talks about serving in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1961 to 1967. He describes his campaign and constituency in Douglas County. He talks about legislation, including on taxes, community colleges, timber, labor, and land use. He also talks about his fellow legislators, including Monte Montgomery, Al Flegel, Jason Boe, and W.O. Kelsay. He also discusses working on Bob Duncan's campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1966. Leiken talks about leaving politics, his wife's cancer diagnosis, and her subsequent death in 1969. He goes on to talk about the changes in the Democratic Party since then, as well as partisan politics during his terms in the Legislature. He closes the interview with some words of advice to aspiring politicians, and a discussion of his family life.

Leiken, Sidney, 1916-2012

Oral history interview with Hector Macpherson, Jr.

This oral history interview with Hector Macpherson, Jr. was conducted by Clark Hansen at Macpherson's farm in Oakville, Oregon, from February 14-25, 1992. MacPherson's wife, Katharine "Kitty" Macpherson, was also present. In this interview, Macpherson discusses his family background and early life on a dairy farm in central Oregon. He speaks at length about his father, Hector Macpherson, Sr., and his activism regarding farm cooperatives and higher education. He then discusses his high school education, particularly his involvement in debate; the history of the land his family's dairy farm is on; and life for farmers during the Depression. He talks about studying science at Oregon State College, training for his military service during World War II, and meeting Kitty. He then discusses running a dairy farm, including water rights and milk pricing. He describes his interest in land-use planning in rural areas. Macpherson also talks about his time in the Oregon Senate from 1971 to 1974, particularly his work on Senate Bill 100, which concerned land-use planning. He also talks about his involvement with the Republican Party, his political campaign against Glenn Huston, and the election of John Burns as Senate president. He speaks about the nature of his constituency, and his thoughts on why rural areas tend to oppose environmental regulation. He then discusses other legislation he worked on, including on field burning, bicycle paths, the Bottle Bill, and additional land use planning. He talks about legislators he worked with, particularly Vic Atiyeh, Jason Boe, Ted Hallock, and Betty Roberts. He closes the interview with a discussion about serving on the Land Conservation and Development Commission, land-use laws in other states, and his impressions of the 1992 Oregon delegation to Congress.

Macpherson, Hector, Jr., 1918-2015

Oral history interview with John D. Mosser

This oral history interview with John D. Mosser was conducted by Clark Hansen at Mosser's home in Portland, Oregon, from November 15 to December 11, 1990. In this interview, Mosser discusses his family background and early life in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. He talks about attending Princeton and working on the school newspaper, as well as his service in the U.S. Army during World War II, which interrupted his education. He details his experience fighting on the front lines in France. He discusses studying law at Yale, his marriage to Priscilla Alexander, and coming to Oregon to practice law, primarily admiralty law, in 1950.

Mosser discusses his involvement with the Republican Party and his legislative service in the Oregon House of Representatives in 1957, including his campaign. He discusses legislation he worked on, particularly on education. He then discusses his activities before he re-entered the Legislature in 1963, including lobbying and raising a family. He goes on to talk about his return to the Oregon House of Representatives from 1963 to 1966. He discusses additional education legislation that he worked on, as well as legislation on taxes, labor, and land use. He speaks at length about the many legislators he worked with, particularly Vera Katz and Vic Atiyeh. He discusses his reasons for leaving the Legislature and his subsequent activities, including serving on the Board of Education and the Land Conservation and Development Commission, continuing his law practice, and leaving the Republican Party. He discusses serving on the Portland Waterfront Commission in the late 1960s, and his involvement in the creation of Tom McCall Waterfront Park. He closes the interview by talking about his family.

Mosser, John D. (John Daniel), 1923-1996

Oral history interview with Lynn W. Newbry

This oral history interview with Lynn W. Newbry was conducted by Clark Hansen at Newbry's home in Talent, Oregon, from May 6-7, 1993. In this interview, Newbry discusses his family background and early life in Talent, including life on the family farm and the Depression. He also discusses the political career of his father, Earl T. Newbry. He talks about his education in Talent, as well as attending Oregon State College, and then Pomona College. He also briefly discusses serving in the Air Force during World War II. He discusses his courtship with Charlotte Short and their subsequent marriage in 1943. He discusses his return to Oregon in 1945 and taking over the family orchards and fruit business in 1949 when his father was appointed secretary of state, as well as several community organizations he was involved with. He discusses his involvement with the Republican Party, serving on the Talent school board, and running for the Oregon Senate in 1960. He discusses his legislative career in the Senate from 1961 to 1974, including his committee assignments. He also talks about his fellow legislators, including Harry Boivin, Grace Peck, Ted Hallock, Stafford Hansell, Debbs Potts, Bill Holmstrom, and Jason Boe. He also discusses legislation he worked on, including on land use, labor, taxes, health care, and agriculture. He talks about the administrations of governors Mark Hatfield, Tom McCall, and Neil Goldschmidt; coalitions in the Senate; the procedure of creating legislation; and reapportionment. He closes the interview by discussing SB 100, the land-use planning bill of 1974.

Newbry, Lynn W. (Lyndel Warren), 1923-2012

Oral history interview with Earl T. Newbry

This oral history interview with Earl T. Newbry was conducted by Clark Hansen at Newbry's home in Ashland, Oregon, from July 23-24, 1990. In this interview, Newbry discusses his family background and early life, mostly in Eastern Oregon and northeastern Washington. He talks about working on and running the family orchard, Newbry Orchards. He then discusses his involvement in local politics in Jackson County, Oregon. He talks about his legislative career in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1939 to 1942 and in the Oregon Senate from 1943 to 1948, including his campaigns; balancing work and family; lobbyists; and his constituency. He also discusses many of his fellow legislators, including William McAllister, Truman Chase, and Eugene Marsh. He talks about legislation he worked on, including on labor, transportation, and taxes. He then discusses being secretary of state from 1949 to 1955, as well as his 1954 run for the governor's office. He discusses the duties of the secretary of state, including overseeing the Department of Motor Vehicles. He also talks about being a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1954 and his involvement with the Republican Party. He then discusses Oregon governors and legislators who served after he left politics, and reflects on his own accomplishments. He closes the interview by talking about his family, particularly his son, Lynn Newbry, and his political career.

Newbry, Earl T., 1900-1995

Oral history interview with Bob Straub

This oral history interview with Bob Straub was conducted by Clark Hansen at Straub's home near Salem, Oregon, from May 14 to June 17, 1991. Pat Straub was also present. In this interview, Straub discusses his family background and early life in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. He then discusses attending Dartmouth College; meeting his wife, Pat Stroud; and serving in World War II. He then talks about running his own business as a building contractor in Springfield, Oregon; his involvement with the Democratic Party; and getting into politics by running for Lane County commissioner in 1954. He discusses serving in the Oregon Senate from 1959 to 1962, including his campaign and constituency. He also discusses his fellow legislators, including Charles Porter, Alfred Corbett, and Howell Appling. He also discusses legislation he worked on, including on taxes. He talks about working with prominent politicians while chairman of the Democratic Party in Oregon, including Monroe Sweetland; serving on the Board of Control; and serving as state treasurer from 1965 to 1973 under Governor Tom McCall. He then discusses ranching in the years before he served as governor. He discusses his 1974 campaign for governor against Vic Atiyeh; his staff, particularly Stafford Hansell; and administrative and judicial appointments he made, including appointing Ron Wyden to the Nursing Board, Wally Carson to the Marion County Circuit Court, and Betty Roberts to the appellate court. He also discusses his working relationship with the Legislature. He talks about many of the issues he dealt with as governor. He speaks briefly about his involvement in the creation of the Willamette Greenway. He then speaks briefly about several national and state politicians, including President Jimmy Carter, U.S. Senator Wayne Morse, and congressman Bob Duncan. He closes the interview by discussing his family life and activities since leaving politics.

Straub, Robert W.

Oral history interview with Maurine Neuberger

Neuberger describes her experience as a teacher in Oregon, how she met her husband, Senator Dick Neuberger, her experiences as a legislator and women in the Oregon House of Representatives and later in the United States Senate. She talks about her relationships with and impressions of many prominent politicians of the 1960s, including Wayne Morse and John F. Kennedy.

Neuberger, Maurine B. (Maurine Brown), 1907-2000

Oral history interview with Vern Cook

This oral history interview with Robert Vernon "Vern" Cook was conducted by Clark Hansen at Cook's law office in Gresham, Oregon, and Cook's home in Troutdale, Oregon, from December 15, 1994, to October 15, 1995. In the interview, Cook discusses his family background and early life during the Depression in Las Animas, Colorado, and in Gresham. He also describes being a young man during World War II; being denied enlistment in the Navy due to polio; and his rehabilitation from polio. Cook discusses studying political science at Reed College and law at the University of Oregon, all while working concessions at various businesses in California with his brother. He talks about practicing law in Gresham; his involvement with the Democratic Party; and his first campaign for the Oregon House of Representatives in 1956. Cook discusses the legislation he worked on while serving in the House, including taxation, education, and worker's compensation. He also talks about serving on the judicial committee and related issues. He discusses some of the legislators he worked with, including Pat Dooley and Monroe Sweetland, as well as Governor Mark Hatfield.

Cook then describes his experience in the Oregon Senate, including serving on the judiciary committee and legislation on taxation, particularly sales taxes, as well as health insurance, education, land use, agriculture, domestic violence, and labor. He also talks about working with senators Tom Mahoney, Edith Green, Walter Pearson, Debbs Potts, Monte Montgomery, Alice Corbett, Ted Hallock, Jason Boe, and Vic Atiyeh. Cook also discusses party politics and its influence on the effectiveness of the Legislature during his tenure; the 1968 Democratic National Convention; and working with Governor Tom McCall and Portland Mayor Neil Goldschmidt. He also talks about his unsuccessful campaigns for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate; his involvement in Frank Church's campaign in the Democratic presidential primary in 1976; and the financial difficulties he faced as a legislator. He closes the interview by discussing his career as a lawyer since leaving the Legislature in 1980.

Cook, Vern (Robert Vernon), 1925-2008

Oral history interview with Robert F. Smith

This oral history interview with Robert F. Smith was conducted by Clark Hansen at Smith's office in Medford, Oregon, from August 30 to September 1, 1995. In this interview, Smith discusses his family background and early life in Burns, Oregon. He talks about his interest in basketball while attending Willamette University. He also talks about running a ranch and multiple other businesses after graduation; his flying hobby; and his involvement with a number of civic organizations. He goes on to talk about being recruited to run for the Oregon Legislature by members of the Oregon Republican Party, and his time in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1960 to 1973. He discusses his campaigns, committees, fellow legislators, and legislation that he worked on. He talks about Tony Yturri, Monte Montgomery, Bill Holmstrom, Stan Ouderkirk, Clarence Barton, and Stafford Hansell. He discusses legislation on agriculture, taxes, labor, forestry and land use. He also talks about how his leadership style as speaker of the House from 1969 to 1973, and about his legislative agenda. He closes the interview by discussing the social life of legislators.

Smith, Robert F. (Robert Freeman), 1931-

Oral history interview with Otto J. Frohnmayer

This oral history interview with Otto J. Frohnmayer was conducted by Clark Hansen at Frohnmayer's office in Medford, Oregon, from November 28 to December 1, 1989. In this interview, Frohnmayer discusses his family background and early life in Portland, Oregon, including facing anti-German sentiment during World War I, his education, and vacations to Seaside. He discusses working in hotels and attending the University of Oregon, including his social life and studying law. He then talks about his early law practice in Medford. He also talks about the effects of the Depression and World War II on the Medford area. He briefly describes some of the judges he argued before. He speaks at length about notable cases he worked on, as well as changes in laws over the 20th century. He then talks about his wife, MarAbel Fisher Braden, and their family life. He talks about the politics involved in judicial appointments; jury trials; and the profession of law. He closes the interview by talking about his plans for the future.

Frohnmayer, Otto J. (Otto John), 1905-2000