Goodbye, Ted Hallock

By Stephen Kafoury of Portland, Oregon. Kafoury is a lobbyist and activist, and once served as a member of the Oregon Legislature and the Portland School Board.

Oregon has lost a giant.

Portland Democrat Ted Hallock served in the Oregon senate for 20 years, beginning in the late 60s. He is best known for his co-sponsorship of SB 100, Oregon's pioneering land use legislation. In fact, he was an environmental champion with particular expertise in energy issues.

Possessed of a brilliant, restless mind, he was always creating new ideas -- even when serving under Republicans who gave him little opportunities. Fearless and full of energy, he had a sign that said "Windmill Tilter" on his office door. A partner of Tom McCall, although these bigger-than-life men were not close, he introduced a bill giving the state power to regulate industries that polluted Oregon waterways.

Scarily bright and quick-minded, he was often profane, and had little patience for fools or ideologues. Testifying before his committees could be an ordeal if one weren't prepared.

Ted tempered this side with an outrageous sense of humor that often had the whole Senate in stitches. He wrote and performed hilarious skits at the now defunct "Goodby Party" that the lobby and legislators threw at the end of the session.

From his experiences navigating a B-17 in World War II, (winning several medals including the Purple Heart) he brought a ferocious hatred for anti-Semites and those who would trade away civil liberties for temporary security. He knew what he had fought for.

A Renaissance man, Ted wrote jazz reviews for Downbeat magazine in the 1950s, and had his own band. He did his own voice work for his clients' advertising at his ad agency. Ted also had a world-class stamp collection, which centered around stamps from Asian communist countries when these were contraband - a rebellious spirit, for sure!

Ted was also hugely loyal to his friends, many of whom served across the aisle in those benighted times, and he will be terribly missed.

[Editor's note: The Oregonian story on Ted Hallock's life is here.]

  • Jefferson Smith (unverified)

    Great post, Steve.

    He and his wife Jackie have been public interest champions for years -- precisely the sort that merit honor. (This is terribly sad. I'm probably the only nutball at work at this hour on the holidays, and this adds a layer of depression.) A group of young people got the chance to sit down with him at Mahonia Hall when Governor Kitzhaber had a crew there for a couple policy and strategy discussions (in the early days of the Bus). Smart as hell -- and able to think both forest and trees -- both big picture and granular.

    (Hopefully, some sort of fund is being set up in his name --perhaps for benefit of a reignition of the land use movement or something else linked to his life. If so, sign me up.)

    Again, great post.

  • (Show?)

    Jefferson -- The obit says this:

    The family asked remembrances go to 1000 Friends of Oregon or the Oregon Humane Society.

  • Jefferson Smith (unverified)

    Thanks Kari. I will donate right now. (And no, that interchange was not rigged to generate donors for 1000 Friends [or the Humane Society], but it would be cool if people wanted to give.)

  • Martin Alvey (unverified)

    I had the great fortune to work as an intern in the Oregon State Senate during the 1981 session. Ted Hallock was by far my favorite speaker.

    No one could speak truth to power like Ted Hallock. He was incredibly smart and had no tolerance for fools.

    I will never forget the speech he made where he described former Governor Atiyeh as a "rich kid from Lincoln High School who told himself that one day he'd be Governor."

    Ted Hallock was a political giant in the Oregon tradition.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)

    Thanks, Steve, for this post. SO many political activists focus on presidential politics or maybe Governors or U.S. Senators but forget about people like Ted Hallock, who was probably more talented and effective than most higher ranking politicans. I'm currently reading a biography about former Federal Judge Gus Solomon and it's a fascinating story of not only his life but Oregon history. It's so important for us to remember people like that, and the Oregon Historical Society and other organziations do a good job of making that happen.

    I gave $5 to 1000 Friends when I was in 5th grade (I grew up in Fossil near Antelope and they were taking the lead in fighting the Rajneeshes). I plan on giving again in honor of Ted Hallock.

  • one more salem staffer (unverified)

    This is totally not important at all, but the defunct Goodbye Party has been brought back to life, except we call it the Sine Die Party. I felt the need to point it out, because last year's video and live floor sessions kicked ass, and we'll be back again this year!

    ok, sorry...unnecessary. but does it get any better than a Survivor-styled Battle of the Chambers with gun-control advocate Sen. Ginny Burdick being kicked off the show by former State Cop Rep. Andy Olson? I think not.

  • diane (unverified)

    so many memories... but one favorite line from ted --who did say in his first campaign that he was running to raise the intellectual level of the state senate and oh my did he, for so long, to the benefit of so many-- from the senate floor about a bill his friend george wingard had to add drivers to the transit boards...

    this bill is too avant for my garde...

    missing him.

  • Stephanie Hallock (unverified)

    Steve - thanks for the tribute. And thanks to others for words and thoughts about my dad.

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