Mayor Vera Katz to Join PSU
Author: David Santen, PSU Office of Marketing and Communications (503-725-8789)
Posted: December 10, 2004

Portland Mayor Vera Katz will join Portland State University, following completion of her third and final term as mayor, as a Dean’s Visiting Fellow in the College of Urban and Public Affairs’ Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies.

Mayor Katz will begin her new, unpaid position as a Dean’s Visiting Fellow on January 3, 2005, where she will continue to share her experience and expertise in support of the College’s mission and programs focused on governance, urban planning and community health. Mayor Katz will be consulting with students and faculty on a variety of projects including program development, writing, and research, as well as guest lecturing.

“Mayor Vera Katz’s contributions to this city and metropolitan region over the years are legendary, from her service as the first woman Speaker of the House in Oregon to her 12 years of transformative leadership as Portland mayor,” said PSU President Daniel O. Bernstine. “We are humbled and honored that she has decided to continue her support of Portland State University in this new capacity.”

“I am very excited to become a part of PSU as a Visiting Fellow,” Mayor Katz said. “Perhaps no single institution is as important to the future of Portland. I hope that my practical experience as an elected official will benefit PSU both in its academic mission and in its research and service mission to the community.”

“We at the College of Urban and Public Affairs are pleased that the mayor has graciously agreed to give so generously of her time and expertise to our students and faculty,” said College of Urban and Public Affairs Dean Lawrence Wallack. “Mayor Katz is a regional treasure and her presence will enrich all those in our College.”

Vera Katz was elected to the first of her three terms as mayor of Portland, Ore., in 1992. Katz began her political career in the late 1960’s working on Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign. Elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1972, Katz became one of the state’s trailblazers when chosen in 1985 as the first woman Speaker of the Oregon House. Katz later became the only person in state history to hold the post for three consecutive terms. During her tenure she authored the landmark school reform bill (the Oregon Educational Act for the 21st Century), the state's groundbreaking gun control legislation, and legislation prohibiting discrimination based on gender in places of public accommodation and credit.

During her administration, Mayor Katz provided the impetus for such notable projects as the River Renaissance initiative, which included the development of the Pearl District and South Waterfront, the building of the Classical Chinese Garden, the renovation of PGE Park (formerly Civic Stadium), and the creation of the popular Eastbank Esplanade. Over the last 12-years, Mayor Katz has provided leadership for the expansion of a nationally admired transportation system that includes an extended “Fareless Square,” the addition of Airport MAX, and the construction of the Interstate MAX line.

Mayor Katz’s work has also had an enormous impact on Portland State University: her support of its engineering programs and the new Northwest Center for Engineering, Science, and Technology now under construction, helping save the historic Simon Benson House which was relocated to the PSU campus in 2000, providing $2.5 million for the Urban Center building's construction, and bringing first the Portland Streetcar and now light-rail expansions to the Portland State campus.

She graduated from Brooklyn College in New York, earning a Bachelor of Arts in 1955 and a Master of Arts in 1957. She holds honorary doctorate degrees from Lewis & Clark College and Portland State University. In April 2005, PSU's College of Urban and Public Affairs will award her its Urban Pioneer Award for Public Service.

The College of Urban and Public Affairs ( at Portland State University is comprised of three schools—the School of Community Health, the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government and the School of Urban Studies and Planning. It also includes eleven public service and research centers and institutes, including the Institute on Aging, the Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies, the Center for Public Health Studies, the Center for Population Research and Census, the Center for Transportation Studies, the Institute for Nonprofit Management and the Executive Leadership Institute. Today, the College offers the only Ph.D. programs in Urban Studies, Regional Science, and Public Administration and Policy between Berkeley and Seattle.

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Lawrence Wallack (503-725-9035)
PSU College of Urban and Public Affairs

For Immediate Release (#04-161)