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Solomon, Gus J. (Gus Jerome), 1906-1987
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Oral history interview with Bob Christ

This oral history interview with Bob Christ was conducted by Jack G. Collins on September 28, 1990, with introductory comments by William F. White. White introduces the recording with the title "The Mover for the Shakers." In the interview, Christ briefly describes his early life in Portland, Oregon; his education; and his early career as a lawyer. He then discusses how he began his career as a law clerk at the U.S. District Court of Oregon in Portland, including his initial conversation with George Juba; assembling his staff; and the duties of the job. Christ talks about the procedures of the District Court and about judges he worked with, particularly Gus Solomon. He also talks about the transition to the digital age and other changes to the court. He closes the interview with an anecdote about finding what he thought was a bomb in the court bathroom, and the story of the impeachment of Judge Harry Claiborne of Nevada.

Christ, Bob (Robert Marvin), 1927-2019

Oral history interview with Donal D. Sullivan

This oral history interview with Donal D. Sullivan was conducted by Michael O'Rourke in Sullivan's chambers at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Portland, Oregon, on July 6, 2006. In the interview, Sullivan discusses his early career as a lawyer in Salem, and as assistant district attorney with Sid Lezak in the Multnomah County district attorney's office in Portland, then as a clerk for the U.S. District Court of Oregon. He describes working with judges Gus Solomon and William East. Sullivan also talks about serving as a bankruptcy judge. He closes the interview by talking about his personal life and family.

Sullivan, Donal D. (Donal Dennis), 1931-2009

Oral history interview with Jerry C. Harris

This oral history interview with Jerry C. Harris was conducted by Mary Ann DeLap on May 17, 2006. In this interview, Harris discusses coming to Portland, Oregon, from Colorado to meet his future wife, Zola M. Barnes. He talks about working as a court reporter for the Multnomah County courts and his experience as the only black court reporter for the county. He discusses moving to the federal court system and working for U.S. District Court Judge Gus Solomon. He also talks about working for other judges on the U.S. District Court of Oregon. He discusses the discrimination he's faced, his retirement activities, and some of the lawyers he worked with. He describes the process of court reporting, as well as how technology has changed the profession.

Harris, Jerry C. (Jerry Charles), 1936-2011

Oral history interview with Allan Hart

  • SR 1200
  • Collection
  • 1986-04-15 - 1986-07-22

This oral history interview with Allan Hart was conducted by James Strassmaier at Hart's office in the KOIN Center in Portland, Oregon, from April 15 to July 22, 1986. In this interview, Hart discusses his family background and early life in Portland, Oregon, including his education at Moran School. He talks about his education at Stanford University and Yale Law School, including his social life, his friendship with Boyd McNaughton, working for the Stanford and Yale papers, and the relationship between Yale and Harvard. He then discusses returning to Portland, joining his father's law firm, and cases he argued. Hart talks about serving as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1936 to 1938 and cases he prosecuted, including liquor and narcotics cases. He also discusses the Lawyers Guild and the Oregon State Bar; his investigations into the Red Squad; the De Jong case; and his work on an antitrust case involving the American Medical Association. He then discusses his work as counsel for the Bonneville Power Administration from 1938 to 1941, including the beginnings of BPA, as well as dealing with private utilities and aluminum companies, particularly PGE and Alcoa. Hart also describes his experience during World War II as an officer in the Judge Advocate General Corps in the Pacific Theater, and then during the occupation of Japan.

Hart discusses his return to law practice in 1946. He talks about taking on the Kenji Namba v. McCourt case as a way to overturn the Alien Land Law. He briefly discusses his involvement with the Oregon Democratic Party, as well as raising a family. He talks about establishing the Hart, Davidson, and Veazie firm in 1956, including working with Jebbie Davidson, as well as the subsequent changes the firm underwent, which ultimately led him to the law firm of Lindsay, Nahstoll, Hart, and Krause. He discusses his involvement with the American Civil Liberties Union and civil rights cases that he worked on. He discusses his involvement with education, including serving on the board of the Sylvan School District from 1952 to 1956, and facing issues of school funding; serving on the State Board of Higher Education; and serving on the board of Catlin Gabel School. Hart speaks at length about discriminatory practices at many Portland social clubs, as well as U.S. District Court Judge Gus Solomon's efforts against them. He then discusses his relationships with Solomon and U.S. Supreme Court Justices William O. Douglas and Abe Fortas. Hart talks about his stymied aspirations of being appointed as a judge; political infighting in the Democratic Party; and additional cases he worked on. He revisits the topic of the Bonneville Power Administration, describing the changes it underwent after World War II, as well as the WPPSS crisis of the 1980s. Hart closes the interview by discussing his retirement activities.

Hart, Allan (Charles Allan), 1909-2002

Oral history interview with Robert C. Belloni

This oral history interview with Robert C. Belloni was conducted by Jim Strassmaier from September 19, 1988, to July 28, 1989. In this interview, Belloni discusses his family background and early life in Coos County, Oregon, including his education. He talks about studying pre-med at the University of Oregon and his service as a U.S. Army medical officer in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He describes landing in Japan just as it surrendered. He talks about returning to civilian life and deciding to go to law school, attending the University of Oregon, and his friendship with Ted Goodwin. He discusses his early law career in Coos County. He also talks about his early political career, holding the offices of chair of the Democratic Central Committee for Coos County and mayor of Myrtle Point. He also talks about his relationship with Wayne Morse. He discusses serving as a Circuit Court judge in Southern Oregon from 1957 to 1967, particularly presiding over juvenile cases. He then discusses serving on the U.S. District Court of Oregon from 1967 to the time of the interview, including the politics of his appointment. He discusses his fellow District Court judges, including Gus Solomon, John Kilkenney, and Otto Skopil. He also talks about the variety of cases that came before him, including on land fraud, asbestos, consumer protections, and several cases involving Native American rights. He discusses his law clerks, judicial process, and ethics. Belloni discusses serving as chief judge on the District Court from 1971 to 1976, and the duties and responsibilities of that position, including his work in establishing the magistrate system and the sentencing council. He closes the interview by discussing changes in the court systems over the 20th century, his experience as a senior judge, and his personal life.

In addition to the audio recordings of the interview, this collection includes several photographs of Belloni and a signed photograph of Robert D. Holmes.

Belloni, Robert C. (Robert Clinton), 1919-1999

Oral history interview with Libby Solomon

This oral history interview with Libby Solomon was conducted by Jim Strassmaier at Solomon's apartment in Portland, Oregon, from October 25 to November 22, 1989. In this interview, Solomon discusses her family history and early life in Russia and Portland, including assimilating to American culture as a young child; the death of her older sister, Roza Willer; her Jewish upbringing; and her education. She then discusses her brief education at Reed College and her love for microscopic work. She briefly discusses her Democratic politics. She talks about working in medical labs with various doctors, particularly Edmund Sears. She discusses her involvement in the Democratic Party and the Oregon Commonwealth Federation, as well as the people she met through those organizations, including Monroe Sweetland, Ruth Haefner, and Gus Solomon, who became her spouse. She speaks at length about Gus Solomon's appointment to the U.S. District Court of Oregon. She discusses some of her later activities, including taking classes at the Portland Art Museum School, and serving on the Portland art and zoo commissions. She also talks about her and Gus Solomon's decision to quit all clubs and organizations that had discriminatory admittance policies. She closes the interview by discussing her work on integrated housing.

Solomon, Libby (Elisabeth), 1909-2004

Oral history interview with Charles E. Wright

This oral history interview with Charles E. Wright was conducted by Karen J. Park in the offices of Bullivant, Houser, and Bailey in Portland, Oregon, from April 29 to July 1, 1993. In this interview, Wright discusses his family background and early life in Portland, including his education, memories of World War I, social life, and working at First National Bank. He then discusses attending Yale, including his part-time jobs, his favorite subjects, and social life during Prohibition. He goes on to talk about attending Yale Law School. He describes some of his professors, including William O. Douglas, as well as some of his classmates. He talks about returning to Portland in 1933 and practicing law at Platt, Platt, Fales, Smith & Black, then later with the Bullivant firm in 1943. He describes the lawyers he worked with at the firms. He also talks about his marriage to Elisabeth Knowlton Strong and starting a family. He discusses working for the Securities and Exchange Commission in Seattle, Washington, from 1937 to 1943, including his frustration at the lenient sentences handed down for white-collar crimes. He also reflects on going to high school with Gus Solomon and on Solomon's later judicial career; passing the Oregon bar; and his involvement with the Portland Art Association. He speaks at length about practicing law at the Bullivant firm in Portland, including his clients, the firm's growth, and his interest in probate law. He also briefly talks about his feelings about the greater number of women practicing law since the women's movement of the 1960s and 1970s. He closes the interview by talking about his children and grandchildren, and his plans for the future.

Wright, Charles E. (Charles Edward Pares), 1906-1999

Oral history interview with Owen Panner

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-

Oral history interview with Jerome Kohlberg, Jr.

This oral history interview with Jerome Kohlberg, Jr. was conducted by Michael O'Rourke at the St. Regis Hotel in New York, New York, from May 19-20, 1999. In this interview, Kohlberg discusses his experiences as a law clerk for Judge Gus Solomon from 1952 to 1953, including some of the cases Solomon heard, and Solomon's commitment to helping Jewish lawyers. He also briefly describes many of the lawyers and judges he met while in Portland, Oregon. He then talks about returning to New York to practice law and his continued relationship with Gus Solomon and Libby Solomon. He speaks at length about purchasing Fred Meyer in 1981 through his investment firm, Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts (KKR & Co.), including his interactions with Fred G. Meyer, Oran B. Robertson, and Gerry Pratt. He closes the interview by briefly discussing how KKR has continued to manage Fred Meyer since its purchase.

Kohlberg, Jerome, Jr., 1925-2015