Avel Gordly

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Avel Gordly
Avel Gordly in 2011.jpg
Avel Gordly in 2011
Member of the Oregon Senate
from the 23rd district
In office
Preceded by Ron Cease
Succeeded by Jackie Dingfelder
Member of the Oregon House of Representatives
from the 19th district
In office
Preceded by Ron Cease
Succeeded by Jo Ann Bowman
Personal details
Born (1947-02-13) February 13, 1947 (age 71)
Portland, Oregon
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) widowed
Residence Portland, Oregon
Alma mater Portland State University
Occupation Activist, community organizer, educator

Avel Louise Gordly (born February 13, 1947) is an activist, community organizer, and former politician in the U.S. state of Oregon, who in 1996 became the first African-American woman to be elected to the Oregon State Senate. She served in the Senate from 1997 to 2009. Previously, she served for five years in the Oregon House of Representatives.

Early years[edit]

Gordly was born in Portland, Oregon, to a mother active in local leadership within the Order of the Eastern Star and a father who worked for the railroad.[1] She graduated from Girls Polytechnic High School in 1965[1] (which later became James Monroe High School). After five years at Pacific Northwest Bell, she enrolled at Portland State University, earning a degree in the administration of justice.[1]

Political office[edit]

Gordly was appointed to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1991, to replace Ron Cease,[2] and later elected to the seat,[3] ultimately serving three terms, representing parts of north and northeast Portland. In 1996, she won election to the Oregon State Senate, the first African-American woman to do so; she served in the Senate from 1997 to 2009. She was a member of the Democratic Party until late 2006, when she dropped her party registration, becoming a nonaffiliated voter.[4] She chose not to run for re-election in 2008.[5]

In 2008, while serving as senator, OHSU opened the Avel Gordly Center for Healing, which provides mental health and psychiatric services.

Recent work[edit]

Gordly is an adjunct professor at her alma mater,[6] and with Patricia A. Schecter, is the author of Remembering the Power of Words (2001, ISBN 0-87071-604-2), her memoirs, published by Oregon State University Press.[7]


  1. ^ a b c Schechter, Patricia. "Avel Gordly (1947-)". Oregon Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  2. ^ "Oregon Legislators and Staff Guide, 1991 Regular Session (66th)" (PDF). Oregon State Archives. Retrieved September 16, 2018. 
  3. ^ "Portland State Black Studies | Avel Gordly Curriculum Vitae". Portland State University. Retrieved 2011-03-23. [permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Senator Avel Gordly renounces party politics". BlueOregon. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Sen. Gordly Not Running For Reelection". Portland Mercury. Archived from the original on September 20, 2015. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Portland State Black Studies | Black Studies Department Faculty & Staff". Portland State University. Retrieved 2011-03-23. 
  7. ^ "Remembering the Power of Words". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2011-03-23. 

External links[edit]