Name and location of repository
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Oral history interview with Irvin Luiten
- 1988-03-16 - 1990-01-18 (Creation)
.1 cubic feet 34 audiocassettes (28 hr., 27 min., 40 sec.) + index (109 pages) + 5 black & white photographs (2x3 in.)
Name of creator
Irvin "Irv" Herman Luiten was born in Odessa, Washington, in 1915. His parents moved him and his six siblings to a wheat farm in Ritzville, Washington, in the early 1920s, then to Edwall, Washington, in 1926. He was an avid student and he won a scholarship to Kinman Business University in Spokane, Washington, which he attended during the winter of 1935. In 1936, he began attending Washington State University and studied journalism. After he graduated in 1940, he was a reporter for the Colville Examiner in Colville, Washington, until 1941, when he began working for Northwest Farm News in Bellingham, Washington. After Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor that same year, Luiten immediately joined the army, where he served as an intelligence officer and defense counsel in the 103rd Anti-Tank Battalion. He was deployed to England, where he spent the bulk of the war working with the Military Intelligence Service to teach escape and evasion tactics to airmen. After leaving the service in 1946, he returned to Washington and took over as editor for the Northwest Farm News. He married Ellen Boyde the same year. After their daughter was born in 1947, Luiten took various jobs, motivated by higher salaries, until he began his career with Weyerhaeuser Company as a writer for Weyerhaeuser News. He did public relations work for the company and then became a Weyerhaeuser lobbyist to the Oregon Legislature, serving from 1953 to 1978. After retiring at age 63, he did public relations consulting work for various Oregon companies. He died in 1997.
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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.
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Copyright held by the Oregon Historical Society. Licensed under Creative Commons, BY-NC-SA: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/
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Preferred citation: Oral history interview with Irvin Luiten, by Jim Strassmaier, SR 1120, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.
Forms part of the Oregon Legislature Oral History Series.
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Finding aid based on DACS (Describing Archives: A Content Standard), 2nd Edition.
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Name access points
- Clemons Tree Farm (Wash.) (Subject)
- Georgia-Pacific Corporation (Subject)
- Izaak Walton League of America. Oregon Division (Subject)
- Oregon. Legislative Assembly (Subject)
- United States. War Department. Military Intelligence Service (Subject)
- Weyerhaeuser Company (Subject)
- Weyerhaeuser Timber Company (Subject)
- Luiten, Ellen, 1916-1971 (Subject)
- Weyerhaeuser, John Philip, 1899-1956 (Subject)
- Strassmaier, James (Subject)