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Strassmaier, James Series
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Oral history interview with Tim Gauthier, by Jim Stassmaier

Gauthier discusses his personal and professional life, including his career in National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), with special attention to his role, in tandem with President Ed Barnes of I.B.E.W. 48 [International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers], in establishing the Market Recovery Program (M.R.P.) in 1982. He also discusses the union response to the economic downturn of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Strassmaier, James

Oral history interview with Charles O. Porter

This oral history interview with Charles O. Porter was conducted by Jim Strassmaier at Porter's office in Eugene, Oregon, from July 18 to November 7, 1986. In this interview, Porter discusses his family background and early life in Eugene, including his education at Eugene High School, working for newspapers in the area, and his early political ambitions. He then talks about attending Harvard. He speaks at length about his experiences in Panama, and later in Europe, during World War II. He then talks about returning to Harvard, job prospects, and returning to Oregon to take a job on the state Highway Commission. He discusses practicing law in Eugene, including his experience with various judges, some of the cases he worked on, and the administration of justice. He then talks about getting involved in politics, including being offered the position of assistant to the U.S. attorney general by Monroe Sweetland. He turned down the offer and ran for Congress instead.

Porter discusses representing the Fourth District of Oregon in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1956 to 1960, particularly his campaigns. He talks about his fellow legislators, including Wayne Morse, Maurine Neuberger, Edith Green, and Joseph McCarthy. He discusses parliamentary procedure and legislation he worked on, particularly on foreign policy in Latin America. He also talks about his relationship with the press; his involvement with Amnesty International; and his activities as a lawyer after his 1960 re-election loss. He discusses many of the cases he worked on, including on prisoners' rights, fluoridation, sterilization, and a case against the Air Force. He closes the interview by talking about his family and the livability of Oregon.

Porter, Charles O. (Charles Orlando), 1919-2006

Oral history interview with Cecil L. Edwards

This oral history interview with Cecil L. Edwards was conducted by Jim Strassmaier at the Capitol building in Salem, Oregon, on October 31, 1991. In the interview, Edwards discusses the life and political career of Jason Boe, a conservative Democrat who was president of the Oregon Senate from 1973 to 1980. He discusses the improvements Boe made to the Capitol building; his political influence on the House; and his relationship to Governor Tom McCall. Edwards briefly discusses the balance of powers between the executive and legislative branches in Oregon. He talks about Boe's political ambitions, his efforts for school financing, and his role in passing some of the landmark legislation of the 1970s, including on land use. Edwards also describes Boe's personality and sense of humor. Edwards closes the interview by discussing his own career as legislative historian.

Edwards, Cecil L.

Oral history interview with Robert Y. Thornton

This oral history interview with Robert Thornton was conducted by Jim Strassmaier at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland, Oregon, from May 21 to September 10, 1990. In this interview, Thornton discusses his family background and early life in the Ladd's Addition neighborhood of Portland. He talks about his education, including his study of Japanese and music, and attending Stanford University. He also describes his experiences during the Depression and how it and the New Deal shaped his political views. He then discusses studying law at the University of Oregon and George Washington University. He discusses his career path, from working for Congress, the Court of Appeals, and the Interior Department in Washington, D.C., to his return to Oregon, where he practiced law in Medford and Tillamook. He briefly discusses some of the cases he worked on before he joined the U.S. Army in 1941. He talks about his military experience during World War II, particularly his work teaching Japanese and conducting interrogations of Japanese prisoners of war. He then talks about returning to law practice in Tillamook after his discharge in 1946. He mentions his continued occasional intelligence work for the U.S. Army throughout the interview.

Thornton discusses his political career, beginning with his term in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1951 to 1952. He talks about his involvement with the Democratic Party, his campaign, and his constituency. He discusses legislation he worked on, including on law enforcement, fishing, and relations with Japan. He also discusses some of his fellow legislators, including Dick Neuberger and Maurine Neuberger, and Rudie Wilhelm. He then discusses his service as Oregon attorney general from 1953 to 1967. He discusses his campaigns, his relationships with district attorneys throughout Oregon, and working with various Oregon governmental agencies. He talks about some of the cases he prosecuted, including on vice, particularly the Jim Elkins case. He also talks about his efforts toward a crime prevention program, as well as his observations on the corruption of law enforcement. He briefly talks about running for other offices during his term as district attorney, including his 1962 campaign for governor. He also discusses the court case surrounding his re-election defeat by Lee Johnson in 1966. He goes on to discuss his service as a judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals from 1971 to 1983. He speaks about the role and procedures of the judicial branch in Oregon. He also talks about his fellow judges, including George Joseph and Betty Roberts. He also gives his opinions on national politics of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, including the John F. Kennedy administration, the Vietnam era, and the economic policies of the Ronald Reagan administration. He closes the interview with a discussion of recent U.S. Supreme Court cases, particularly regarding gun control.

Thornton, Robert Y.

Oral history interview with Tony Yturri

This oral history interview with Tony Yturri was conducted by Jim Strassmaier at Yturri's office in Ontario, Oregon, from November 19-21, 1990. In this interview, Yturri discusses his family background and early life in Jordan Valley, Oregon, including Basque culture and his father's store. He talks about attending the University of Oregon, and discusses studying law, his social life, and his professors, including Orlando Hollis and Wayne Morse. He then talks about relocating to Ontario, Oregon, to work in the district attorney's office, and his experience as city attorney. He briefly talks about his military experience during World War II, from 1942 to 1946, particularly his counterintelligence work, and the adjustment to civilian life after the war.

Yturri then discusses his service in the Oregon Senate from 1963 to 1972. He talks about his campaigns, his involvement with the Republican Party, and his constituency. He describes the organization and procedures of the Senate. He talks about legislation he worked on, including on taxes, trucking, reapportionment, and water rights. He talks about his fellow legislators, including Monroe Sweetland, Bob Duncan, Vic Atiyeh, John Burns, Monte Montgomery, and Jason Boe. He describes working with the Mark Hatfield and Tom McCall administrations, the transportation commission under Glenn Jackson, and lobbyists. He also talks about his opinion on the Vietnam War; health issues that prevented him from considering a run for the governorship; and the rise of the conservative branch of the Republican Party. Yturri talks about serving as chair of the Oregon Transportation Commission from 1979 to 1987, particularly regarding a misunderstanding he had with the director of the Department of Transportation, Neil Goldschmidt. He closes the interview by talking about his retirement activities and family life.

Yturri, Anthony, 1914-1999

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 interviews with John Helmer, Jr, by Jim Strassmaier

A model life history including: Swedes in Oregon; intergenerational family relations; retail business in three generations; personal spiritual conversion (Presbyterian); military service as pilot in World War II, Pacific theatre; postwar experience in Japan; Helmer clothing store, fortunes through recession of early 1980s.

Helmer, John, 1923-