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Neil Goldschmidt

From Academic Kids

Neil Edward Goldschmidt (born June 16, 1940) is a former politician and businessman living in the State of Oregon and a member of the United States Democratic Party. He served as mayor of Portland (1973 - 1979), and as governor of Oregon (1987 - 1991), as well as Secretary of Transportation.

Considered at one time to be the most powerful private citizen in Oregon, Goldschmidt's political influence was sharply reduced in 2004, after he admitted to a lengthy sexual relationship he held with a girl in the mid-1970s starting when she was 14 years old .

Political history

Goldschmidt was born in Eugene, Oregon, where he attended the University of Oregon. He studied law at the University of California, Berkeley's Boalt Hall until 1967.

As city commissioner (1967 - 1973) and later as mayor of Portland, Goldschmidt led in the revitalization of the downtown section of that city, as well as in the creation of TriMet, and earning much good will from both the electorate and the business community by the time he left to become Secretary of Transportation under President Jimmy Carter in 1979.

In between positions in public office Goldschmidt was a Nike executive during the 1980s.

Goldschmidt became the first Democratic Governor of Oregon in nearly a decade in 1987. His policy for economic development gained him support in all parts of the state. However, citing marital problems, he declined to run for re-election in 1990, despite the widely-held perception that he could have been easily re-elected. His Children's Agenda was very important in Oregon with its community initiatives. In 1991, he helped create the Oregon Children's Foundation, and SMART (Start Making a Reader Today), which puts 10,000 volunteers into Oregon schools to read to children.

In 1991 he founded a law and consulting firm, Neil Goldschmidt, Inc. in Portland. His clients include Schnitzer Investment, Nike, Inc., PacifiCorp, Paul Allen, and Betchel Enterprises (a subsidiary of Bechtel Corporation). He has worked for the State Accident Insurance Fund.

Goldschmidt has drawn criticism in recent years for some of his business activities. In 2002, he lobbied business and political leaders to support Weyerhaeuser in its hostile takeover of Willamette Industries. In early 2004, he headed a purchase of Portland General Electric (PGE) funded by Texas Pacific Group, which put on hold city and county studies to acquire PGE by condemnation.

2004 public confession

On May 6, 2004 shortly before a planned article in the local Willamette Week newspaper, Goldschmidt publically announced that he had engaged in a lengthy sexual relationship with a girl, 14 years old at the beginning of their sexual relationship, in the mid 1970s during his first term as mayor of Portland. He subsequently resigned from his positions with the Texas Pacific Group and the Oregon state Board of Higher Education. Political observers believe this relationship was the true reason why he had not run for re-election as governor, nor for a United States Senate seat.

The Willamette Week article, written by Nigel Jaquiss, was awarded the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting.

Further developments revealed that he was helped in keeping this relationship a secret by businessman Robert K. Burtchaell, whom Goldschmidt in turn gave support in Burtchaell's unsuccessful bid to extend a lease for a houseboat moorage on the Willamette River while governor. [1] (http://www.oregonlive.com/search/index.ssf?/base/front_page/1085313388145970.xml?oregonian?fpfp)

Although the statute of limitations has expired for his act of having sex with a minor, the Oregon State Bar began an investigation that could have led to his disbarment. However, on May 14 he announced he was resigning from the state bar, and would not be eligible for readmission. Because of complaints from local media over access to his public papers stored at the Oregon Historical Society, the State Archivist announced May 29 that he would seize the 256 boxes of documents to guarantee public access as defined in a state law passed in 1973. He was the first governor to keep his papers under his control since the state passed that law.


Preceded by:
Terry Schrunk
Mayor of Portland, Oregon
1973-1979
Succeeded by:
Connie McCready
Preceded by:
Brockman Adams
United States Secretary of Transportation
1979-1981
Succeeded by:
Andrew L. Louis, Jr.
Preceded by:
Victor G. Atiyeh
Governor of Oregon
1987-1991
Succeeded by:
Barbara Roberts

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External links

  • The Willamette Week Expose (http://www.wweek.com/story.php?story=5091), the original article which ended his political career and won Jaquiss the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for invstigative reporting
  • Confession (http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/front_page/1083931396156830.xml) and further scandal coverage (http://www.oregonlive.com/special/goldschmidt/) from The Oregonian
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