Tape 1 Side 1. This oral history interview with Owen Panner was conducted by Michael O'Rourke in Panner’s chambers in Portland, Oregon, from November 24, 1994, to June 1, 1995. In this interview, Panner discusses his family background and early life in rural Oklahoma, including his experiences during the Depression and the Dust Bowl, and his interest in playing golf. He also discusses the racism he observed during his childhood. Panner then talks about attending the University of Oklahoma and his service in the Army during World War II, including meeting his first wife, Agnes Gilbert, and moving to New York at the end of his service. He then discusses returning to the University of Oklahoma and studying law. Panner describes moving to Oregon and practicing law in Bend from 1950 to 1979, including his impressions of the area and people, and several cases he tried during his law career. He speaks at length about representing the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, particularly on cases regarding fishing rights at Celilo Falls, the development of Kah-Nee-Ta, and the termination of the Klamath tribe. Panner discusses national political events such as the Vietnam War, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and the Nixon administration, as well as local politics in Bend, including the divorce of Oregon State Representative Al Ullman. Panner then describes his experience as a judge on the U.S. District Court in Portland, from 1980 to 2018, including cases on civil rights, federal power, financial regulations, electrical utilities, and Tonya Harding. He also discusses the O.J. Simpson trial, mandatory sentencing, and the war on drugs. Panner discusses working with judges Otto Skopil, Robert Belloni, Gus Solomon, Jim Redden, and Edward Leavy. He also describes the relationship between the District Court and the Court of Appeals; the law system on the Warm Springs Reservation; and the day-to-day workings of the District Court. Panner closes the interview by discussing the modernization of the courts and his life outside the courtroom.
Panner, Owen Murphy, 1924-