Name and location of repository
Level of description
Oral history interview with Tom J. Imeson
- 1988-09-14 - 1988-12-09 (Creation)
.1 cubic feet; 16 audiocassettes (13 hr., 39 min., 51 sec.) + 3 photographs (color and black and white)
Name of creator
Thomas "Tom" James Imeson was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1950. He attended Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, then transferred to George Washington University in Washington, D.C., graduating in 1970. He began working as a legislative aide for U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield in 1969, and spent 16 years on the senator's staff. In 1972, he and fellow Hatfield staffer Brenda Thangmeyer were married. He also earned a bachelor of science degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1977. After leaving Hatfield's staff in 1985, he spent two years as federal affairs manager for PacifiCorp in Portland, Oregon. He then served as chief of staff for Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt from 1987 to 1991. He also served on the transition teams for governors John Kitzhaber and Ted Kulongoski. He was vice president of public affairs and communication at PacfiCorp from 1990 to 2000; public affairs director for the Port of Portland from 2006 to 2014; and vice president of public affairs at NW Natural from 2014 to 2019. He also ran his own consulting firm from 2000 to 2006. He retired in 2019, but continued to serve on the Portland State University Board of Trustees and the Oregon Board of Forestry.
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Scope and content
This oral history interview with Tom J. Imeson was conducted by Michael O'Rourke in Salem, Oregon, and at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland, Oregon, from September 14 to December 9, 1988. In this interview, Imeson discusses his family background and early life in Portland, including his early interest in politics. He then discusses studying political science at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, and at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He talks about how he became a member of U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield's staff in 1969 as a legislative aide specializing in natural resources. He describes legislation he worked on, other members of Hatfield's staff, and Hatfield's opposition to the Vietnam War. He talks about Hatfield's relationship with the Nixon administration, as well as Hatfield's relationship with other Oregon politicians. He speaks at length about Hatfield's 1972 re-election campaign. He talks about the changes in the staff after Hatfield was re-elected, including the increased role of Gerry Frank. Imeson also discusses his marriage to fellow staffer Brenda Thangmeyer and talks about the Watergate scandal. He speaks at length about legislation he worked on regarding environmental, Native American, and logging issues. He discusses Hatfield's opposition to nuclear power, Hatfield's work on the Appropriations Committee, and Hatfield's relationship with Oregon governors, particularly Tom McCall and Neil Goldschmidt.
Imeson discusses running Hatfield's Oregon office from 1981 to 1985. He talks about some of his duties, including working with the Army Corps of Engineers. He also discusses a real estate scandal that affected Hatfield's 1984 re-election campaign. He talks about Hatfield's main accomplishments and legislative agenda, and about Hatfield's personal and family life. Imeson discusses his career since leaving Hatfield's staff, including working for PacifiCorp and as chief of staff for Governor Neil Goldschmidt, as well as his continued relationship with Hatfield. He closes the interview by discussing at length the passage of the Wild and Scenic Rivers bill.
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Conditions governing access
Collection is open for research.
Conditions governing reproduction
Joint copyright for this interview is held by the Oregon Historical Society and Willamette University. Use is allowed according to the following license: Creative Commons - BY-NC-SA: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/. Copyright for the photographs has not been determined, and permission for use may require additional authorization from copyright holders.
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Related archival materials
Preferred citation: Oral history interview with Tom J. Imeson, by Michael O'Rourke, SR 1328, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.
Forms part of the Senator Mark O. Hatfield Oral History Project.
Incomplete transcript (144 pages) is available for in-person use at the Oregon Historical Society Research Library.
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Rules or conventions
Finding aid based on DACS (Describing Archives: A Content Standard), 2nd Edition.