Hatfield remembered as Oregon’s first statesman


Through nearly five decades in public office, Mark Hatfield was both Oregon’s most durable politician and — after his rise to the chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee in 1981 — its most important.

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Through nearly five decades in public office, Mark Hatfield was both Oregon’s most durable politician and— after his rise to the chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee in 1981 — its most important.

The Republican lawmaker brought the state more than $3 billion in federal money that affected how Oregonians work, play and commute. He helped transform Oregon Health & Science University into a nationally recognized research institution that is now Portland’s largest employer. And he fueled creation of the region’s lauded and widely imitated light rail system.

Hatfield played the decisive role in the 1986 designation of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area as well as protection of several other wilderness areas, parks and scenic rivers. At the same time, he was an important ally of the timber industry in the 1980s and 1990s in the pitched battles over federal harvest levels.

As governor from 1959-67, he sought to diversify Oregon’s economy as he encouraged the growth of the high-tech industry and championed higher education. Oregon’s community-college system and the Oregon Graduate Institute — now part of OHSU — were both created under his watch.

Read more in today’s Oregonian.




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