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Only top-level descriptions Oregon. Legislative Assembly Oregon--Politics and government--20th century
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Oral history interview with Vern Cook

  • SR 1167
  • Collection
  • 1994-12-15 - 1995-10-15

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 Betty Roberts

  • SR 1126
  • Collection
  • 1992-03-24 - 1994-09-19

This oral history interview of Betty Roberts was conducted by Clark Hansen from March 24, 1992, to September 19, 1994, at Roberts' home in Portland, Oregon. In the interview, Roberts describes her early life and family background, including growing up in Texas during the Depression and her father's alcohol poisoning. She also discusses meeting her first husband, John Willard "Bill" Rice, as well as their marriage and starting a family in Oregon. Roberts discusses attending Portland State College and the strain it put on her marriage to Rice; discrimination she encountered as an older woman student; and pursuing a master's degree at the University of Oregon. She also talks about her divorce from Rice due to his objection to her working outside the home, the divorce's effect on her children, and her subsequent marriage to Frank L. Roberts. She also discusses her divorce from Frank Roberts in 1965.

Roberts discusses her career as an educator, including teaching at high schools in East Portland; serving on school boards; and her activity in the Oregon Education Association. She talks about meeting her third husband, Keith Skelton; civil liberties; her involvement in the Democratic Party; and practicing law. She then talks about her experiences in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1965 to 1968, including campaigning, sexist media coverage, and teaching high school and attending law school at Northwestern College of Law while in the Legislature. Roberts discusses legislation she worked on during her time in the House, primarily on education, including sick leave for teachers and universal kindergarten.

Roberts also discusses her 1968 campaign for the Oregon Senate against Tom Mahoney, as well as the 1968 presidential campaign, including the debate around the Vietnam War and her attendance at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois, with U.S. Senator Wayne Morse. She then discusses her experience in the Oregon Senate from 1969 to 1977, including legislation on taxes, particularly sales taxes; women's rights; abortion; environmental issues; rape shield laws; and child custody. She discusses working with Debbs Potts, John D. Burns, and Gracie Peck, and and talks about running for governor against Bob Straub in 1974. She also discusses her run for the U.S. Senate against Bob Packwood the same year. She talks about the various forms of sexism she encountered while in the Senate, the formation of the Women's Caucus in 1973, and support for the Equal Rights Amendment.

Roberts talks about her time as a judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals from 1977 to 1982, and about working alongside judges Herbert Schwabe and W. Michael Gillette. She describes being appointed to the Oregon Supreme Court by Governor Vic Atiyeh and the encouragement she received from Norma Paulus. She discusses several cases from the years 1982 to 1986, including cases regarding sex discrimination and misuse of taxpayer monies. She also talks about her law clerk, Maureen Leonard, and about working alongside judges Jacob Tanzer and Mercedes Deiz. Roberts relates her opinion on the efficacy and procedures of the judicial system in Oregon. She discusses her activities after resigning from the court, including her involvement with Oregon Women Lawyers and the Bob Packwood sexual harassment scandal.

Roberts, Betty, 1923-2011

Oral history interview with Irvin Luiten

  • SR 1120
  • Collection
  • 1988-03-16 - 1990-01-18

This oral history interview with Irvin "Irv" Herman Luiten was conducted by Jim Strassmaier from March 16, 1988, to January 19, 1990, at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland, Oregon. In the interview, Luiten discusses his family background and early life on wheat farms in Ritzville and Edwall, Washington, including his early education and the struggles his family faced during the Great Depression. He then describes studying journalism at Washington State University in the late 1930s, including the evolution of his political views and his interest in radio broadcasting. He discusses his early career as a journalist for the Colville Examiner from 1940 to 1941 and for the Northwest Farm News in 1941. Luiten also talks extensively about his service during World War II, including acting as defense counsel for his battalion and about soldier morale. He talks about his work with the Military Intelligence Service to teach escape and evasion tactics to airmen and setting up lines of escape in France.

Next, he describes his post-war life, including taking the editorship of the Northwest Farm News; marrying Ellen Boyde and raising a family; taking a job at Washington State University; and beginning his career with the Weyerhaeuser Company, doing public relations work as a writer for Weyerhaeuser News. He talks about aspects of Weyerhaeuser that made him loyal to the company, including the company's forest management practices and the management style of Phil Weyerhaeuser. Luiten also describes his experiences as a lobbyist for Weyerhaeuser from 1953 to 1978. He talks about the primary issues Weyerhauser was concerned with, including taxes, particularly timber taxes; pollution; land use; environmental law; and labor laws. Luiten also discusses his involvement with the Izaak Walton League of America and his conservation work; the Clemons Tree Farm; the workplace culture at Weyerhaeuser; and the company's relationship with the public. He goes on to talk about working with lobbyists for other Oregon timber interests, the different timber harvesting philosophies between Weyerhaeuser and Georgia-Pacific, and how those philosophies affected the economy of the state. He speaks at length on the importance of public relations work. He also discusses working with legislators such as Mark Hatfield, Dick Neuberger, Clarence Barton, Dick Eymann, and Vic Atiyeh. He closes the interview by talking about his life in retirement.

Luiten, Irvin H. (Irvin Herman), 1915-1997