NEWPORT TO HOST TWO-DAY TOM McCALL SYMPOSIUM
Oregon’s most colorful, quirky, and accomplished governor, Tom McCall, will be the subject of a two-day symposium in Newport March 4th and 5th. The many larger than life facts and fabrications surrounding Tom McCall’s governorship from 1967 to 1975 will be explored by scholars and acquaintances of Oregon’s most beloved and, at times, controversial chief executive.
McCall, a television journalist and political commentator, served as Oregon’s Governor during the socially and politically turbulent years of the Vietnam War and the scandalous administration of President Richard Nixon.
All five sessions will run Friday, March 4th through Saturday, March 5th, at the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center on Newport’s Bayfront. The symposium kicks off Friday evening, March 4th at 6:00 p.m. with a screening of McCall’s landmark 1962 KGW-TV documentary, “Pollution in Paradise” plus an introduction and post-screening question and answer session led by William G. Robbins, Emeritus Distinguished Professor of History, at Oregon State University.
KGW-TV aired McCall’s famous documentary, “Pollution in Paradise,” the sharply critical report on the polluting of the Willamette River. “Pollution in Paradise” was a tour de force, pressing home the powerful notion that there was no contradiction between jobs and quality of life in Oregon.
Day two of the symposium will open at noon Saturday. “Frenemies: Tom McCall and Bob Straub” will be the topic of Charles K. Johnson’s biography of former Governor Bob Straub – Straub eventually following McCall as governor. Although McCall and Straub faced each other for the governorship twice, they often worked together to advance environmental causes. Johnson’s book is “Standing at Water’s Edge: Bob Straub’s Battle for the Soul of Oregon.” Also on the program: Lincoln County Commissioner Bill Hall, author of another historical novel about McCall, “McCallandia,” the product of extensive research and numerous interviews. Hall was a volunteer in McCall’s 1978 comeback campaign and met the former governor several times.
The Tom McCall symposium is co-sponsored by the Lincoln County Historical Society and the Tom McCall Legacy Project. The Project is a non-profit educational organization created by the McCall Day bill designating March 22nd as Tom McCall Day, and encourages all Oregonians to learn about McCall’s legacy.
Admission to the symposium is five dollars, and free for Lincoln County Historical Society members.
For more information about the Tom McCall Symposium, visit: http://oregoncoasthistory.org
For more information about the Tom McCall Legacy Project, visit: http://www.tommccall.org/
Lincoln County Commissioner Bill Hall is the author of “McCallandia,” a book based on 40 years of admiration for Tom McCall and the product of extensive research and numerous interviews. Hall, an Oregon native, followed Tom McCall’s example by beginning his early years in journalism as well, before making the transition to elective office. Hall was a volunteer in McCall’s 1978 comeback campaign and met the former governor several times.
Bill Robbins joined the faculty at Oregon State University in 1971, where he has taught courses in the History of the American West and Environmental History. He has authored and edited several books, including Oregon: This Storied Land (2006); Landscapes of Conflict: The Oregon Story, 1940-2000 (2004). His most recent book, A Man for All Seasons: Monroe Sweetland and the Liberal Paradox, was published in 2015 by Oregon State University Press.
Charles K. Johnson is a Portland writer, fundraiser, and activist. A native Oregonian, he has been active in environmental politics since childhood. After a decade in national politics, working with Physicians for Social Responsibility and as Executive Director of Nuclear Free America, Johnson returned to Oregon, where he was instrumental creating the Governor Robert W. Straub Archives at Western Oregon University’s Hamersly Library. He is the author of Standing At The Water’s Edge: Bob Straub’s Battle for the Soul of Oregon, published in 2012 by Oregon State University Press.