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EVENTS

Mayor Neil Goldschmidt rings in the new year by announcing that police patrol cars will be equipped with shotguns.

Pedestrians and bus riders jam Southwest 6th Avenue sidewalks during Operation Big Switch, as Tri-Met reroutes traffic to build the new Transit Mall. Anticipated traffic jams fail to materialize despite street closures and altered routes.

Unemployed father of six Thomas Arthur Bornson holds three hostages at knifepoint at the state welfare office on Southeast 122nd Avenue. He surrenders when the sheriff agrees to give his wife and kids food stamps and a welfare check. "This is the only way I knew of to get attention and help," says Bornson, who lives in a school bus. He is later investigated for welfare fraud.

After 17 years of exile in Finland, house painter William A. Mackie, 66, returns to his Portland home after U.S. Sen. Mark Hatfield lets him off the hook. Mackie was deported in 1960 for violating a retroactive McCarthy-era law against joining "subversive organizations." He had joined the Workers' Alliance decades before, during the Depression.

Alarmed by the potential hazard to pedestrians, traffic and the sidewalk surfers themselves, the City Council unanimously decides to ban skateboards from downtown Portland.

Old Town police walk the beat "bobby"-style and don 1910 uniforms à la Keystone cops. The uniforms are part of a recommendation by the Portland Police Historical Society's museum committee to attract tourists. Most frequently asked question of the nostalgically coutured officers: "Are you for real?"

WW's first mention of punk rock appears in a review of Lou Reed's Rock and Roll Heart and the Patti Smith Group's Radio Ethiopia.

The last of Yamhill Street's open-air markets goes the way of penny candy and carriage rides when greengrocer Fugini Brothers closes July 31. Customers cry in their beans. "My family has been coming here for 40 years, and you can't buy nicer fruit anywhere," says Molly Flood. "I'm going to write the mayor."

Tilt! Pinball wizards flip when IRS agents raid 23 game parlors and confiscate 61 machines in August. Agents claim the owners failed to pay the $250 annual tax.

Waterfront Park's metamorphosis from skid road to showplace begins during Neighborfair. Israeli dancers hava nagila and swamis look into the future during a daylong festival that draws 50,000 visitors. The fair's success inspires city seers to predict that the formerly rundown area will continue to attract Portlanders in search of weekend fun.

WW reports that "romantic ballroom dancing is all the rage."

Cool cats jam weekly and mellow out at Earth Tavern's Hot Jazz Society, where Oregon Symphony maestros get down with bluegrass strummers. The Tuesday night sessions provide a smooth and reliable framework for the enjoyment of local jazz aficionados.

Italian opera inaugurates Portland State's new Lincoln Hall when Cosi Fan Tutte opens in the acoustically correct auditorium after five years of planning and $1.6 million in renovations.

In June, the Trail Blazers fire head coach Lenny Wilkins and hire Jack Ramsay.

Surburban video freaks zap enemy ships at the Electric Palace. The squeaky-clean arcade allows no profanity, drinking, smoking or loitering but features 40 newfangled games including Sea Wolf, Indy 800 and Stunt Cycle.

Former Portlander Lindsay Wagner, a.k.a. the Bionic Woman, flexes her celebrity muscle in support of Democrat Blaine Whipple's bid for
secretary of state. TV's techno-babe also provides plenty of photo ops for the rich and influential.

     
THE GOLDSCHMIDT ERA


BY RON BUEL
  Portland never had a better mayor.

Without Neil Goldschmidt, there would be no light rail, no transit mall, no Pioneer Courthouse Square, no Waterfront Park.

There would be no Nordstroms downtown, and no Wacker Siltronics plant. We'd have thousands of parking spaces downtown where buildings still sit today. There'd be no Hooper Detox center, and we might still be throwing drunks and addicts in jail. There would be no neighborhood-association office in City Hall, and neighborhoods would have far less say about land-use planning.

Goldschmidt pioneered a broad-scale crime-prevention program and brought in a police chief who thought police should provide service, not just fight crime--a precursor to what became "community policing."

City Hall might still be dominated by the old-boy network had Goldschmidt not brought women and African-Americans into key jobs there for the first time. Without Goldschmidt, bulldozers most likely would have rolled through Lair Hill, Buckman and Richmond-Sunnyside and around Emanuel and Good Samaritan Hospitals.

No, Goldschmidt didn't do all of these things by himself. But, as mayor, he did provide the main impetus, with the help of his staff, the City Hall employees he brought in, sympathetic commissioners and hundreds of citizens.

In his odyssey from City Hall to Washington, D.C., and later back to Salem, Goldschmidt had his share of critics. But during his long career in public office, Goldschmidt epitomized the promise of the generation before the Baby Boomers, the generation that produced Bobby Kennedy, Ralph Nader, Bill Bradley and Gloria Steinem--the generation that believed in the idea of using the power of The System to transform society from within.

Goldschmidt's political career began in 1956, at age 16, when he attended Beaver Boys State--an annual conclave held at the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis for hundreds of high-school freshman and sophomore boys to learn about government. The gathering's top honor was to be elected governor. Goldschmidt ran--and lost. It was the last time he would ever lose a race.

Goldschmidt next surfaced at the University of Oregon, a cocky, pipe-smoking young man just back from a year in Europe, including a stint in an Israeli kibbutz. Passionate about his ideas, he was elected student-body president and spent his tenure trying to connect students to the rest of the world. He established a project to help migrant workers and brought in his friend Allard Lowenstein to encourage the student senate to take a stand on international issues such as apartheid.

After he graduated, Goldschmidt traveled to the deep South and invited Aaron Henry, the Mississippi president of the NAACP, to his home in Eugene, where they hatched a plan to recruit students for the famous 1964 Mississippi Summer Project. Goldschmidt visited Reed College, Lewis & Clark and the University of Portland, urging students to go south for their summers to fight for civil rights. This was no ordinary internship--three young civil-rights workers died in Mississippi that summer.

When he returned to Oregon, Goldschmidt moved to Portland and worked as a legal-aid lawyer in Albina. Then, in 1969, he decided to run for city commissioner--a job then held only by gray-haired old men. He was just 28 years old.

Goldschmidt held 200 neighborhood coffees during the 16-month campaign and recruited hundreds of Portlanders to his new organization. Goldschmidt could do three coffees a night, and his rap changed for every one. He couldn't say the same thing twice. He talked to ladies in curlers in North Portland, and he found his way into the biggest homes in the city's future. He would listen and absorb, learning about the city, its neighborhoods, its government and its problems.

As a newly elected city commissioner, Goldschmidt put into practice what he what he had learned--that government had to be an extension of the electoral process if it were to work. He brought people who were involved in the campaign into City Hall, as volunteers, on task forces, on city commissions, or with jobs in the government.

Less than a year into his first term, Goldschmidt decided he was going to run for mayor, a move at age 30 that seemed incredibly ambitious, almost absurd. But as fate would have it, in 1972 Mayor Terry Schrunk suffered a heart attack and decided not to seek another term, and Goldschmidt beat industrialist and School Board member Bill deWeese in a walk.

What made Goldschmidt a great leader was his ability to draw from others their best efforts, their best ideas, and the better parts of themselves. He was a true innovator, but the ideas were not usually his. He stole cheerfully from others, often disagreeing with them before he took their ideas. He was a master of synergy.

Goldschmidt engineered a process of open debate that began in those neighborhood coffees and surged into City Hall, involving other city commissioners, his own talented staff, city bureaucrats and ordinary citizens. The result of this open political debate was that when the City Council was ready to vote, people were willing to create sweeping change.

Ronald A. Buel, the founding editor and publisher
of this newspaper, served as campaign manager, commissioner's assistant and executive assistant
to Goldschmidt from 1969-73; he also attended Beaver Boys State and the University of Oregon
with Goldschmidt.

 

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