This oral history interview with Dick K. Harmon was conducted by Kay Reid in two sessions, on December 15 and December 22, 1998, as part of the Legacy of Hope: Catholics and Social Justice Project, which collected interviews with Catholic clergy and social justice activists in Oregon about their work on social action in the Roman Catholic tradition.
In the first interview session, conducted on December 15, 1998, Harmon discusses his involvement with the Portland Organizing Project, an alliance of churches in Portland, Oregon, that was founded in 1985 to further social justice. He talks about the organization's work lobbying the Oregon Legislature to fund worker training programs, and about how the organization changed in the late 1990s. He speaks about the history of the post-World War II labor movement and how changes in the working class lifestyle are related to changes in social justice organizing by churches. He shares his thoughts about the importance of the church to American social life. He discusses his family, their lives, and their careers. He speaks about pollution in the Willamette River and talks about solutions to the issue that would also create jobs.
In the second interview session, conducted on December 22, 1998, Harmon discusses his work in family therapy, speaks at length about the Portland Organizing Project's work on affordable housing during the development of Portland's River District in 1995, and describes the organization's relationship with journalists. He reflects on his accomplishments as a social justice organizer in Chicago, Illinois, in Brooklyn, New York, and in Portland, Oregon. He shares his reasons for moving to Portland in the mid-1990s. He describes how he became involved in social justice organizing while in college in the 1950s, talks about the staff and volunteers of the Portland Organizing Project, and discusses the organization's current focus on public education. He closes the interview by talking about the growth of the POP.
Harmon, Dick K. (Richard Keylon), 1937-