The late Portland Mayor J.E. "Bud" Clark was profiled in The New Yorker just days before the free celebration of his life at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 15, in Pioneer Courthouse Square.
The May 10 article, "A Tavern Owner Who Became the Quintessential Mayor of Portland," covers his unexpected defeat of incumbent Mayor Frank Ivancie at the May 1984 election, his resulting national popularity, and his unlikely successes in office, including building the Oregon Convention Center, increasing the city's alcohol- and drug-treatment facilities, and coordinating 65 social-services agencies to assist Portland's considerable unhoused population.
"At the end of Clark's second term, he didn't start fishing around for higher office. He just rode his bike home from City Hall and resumed his position behind the bar at Goose Hollow," concludes the article, writer by former Portland author Susan Orleans.
Clark, who served as mayor from 1985 to 1992, passed away on Feb. 1 at the age of 90.
The May 15 event — which is being planned by family, friends and former colleagues and employees — will be emceed by KOIN 6 News anchor Ken Boddie and will include personal remembrances and performances by The Portland Youth Philharmonic, Pink Martini founder Thomas Lauderdale, longtime community organizer Kathleen Saadat, Mel's B-3 Organ Group, and the MarchFourth Marching Band.
A complimentary "ice cream social" provided by the local business Salt & Straw will follow the presentations.
"My dad would be so pleased that the citizens of Portland are coming together to celebrate his legacy — which by extension is celebrating his favorite city! He loved Portland deeply and showed through his actions how participation in community building is perhaps an individual's most important act," said Clark's daughter, Rachel.
A "Bud Clark's City" volunteer downtown cleanup will be coordinated by the non-profit SOLVE and will precede the event. It is intended as a call for civic recommitment.
"Deep inside our current challenges, Portland is still a good and caring city. We want all citizens to come to Pioneer Courthouse Square on that Sunday, not only to celebrate the life of one of Portland's great mayors, but to come together to remember the Portland that once was and can be again, "said Jack McGowan, Mayor Clark's former press secretary, who went on to direct SOLVE for many years. "This is our city, our present and future depends on us rolling up our collective sleeves and working together. This can be Bud's and our legacy."
"I hope that all of Portland gets a proverbial shot in the arm from this memorial and will be emboldened to get out there now and be the best we all can be — as individuals, families, businesses and neighborhoods: Coming together to honor my dad will remind us that we can make a difference. So, come one, come all, dressed as you please!" said Rachel, who manages the Goose Hollow Inn, which she owns with her brothers Nic and Jason.
Organizers include former mayoral employees McGowan, Chuck Duffy and Dan Steffey. Many event expenses are being donated and costs are being offset by individual and business supporters of the former mayor. Major sponsors include Downtown Clean & Safe, Melvin Mark Companies, Portland Business Alliance, Prosper Portland and TriMet.
An account to help cover "Celebrate Bud Clark" expenses has been established at US Bank. All surplus funds will be donated in Clark's name to non-profits Meals on Wheels People and Portland Audubon Society.
To make a contribution, send checks payable to: Charles P Duffy, "CBC," P.O. Box 998, Beaverton, Oregon 97075
To learn more and register for the downtown cleanup, go to solveoregon.org.
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