List of Governors of Oregon
This article lists the individuals who have served as Governor of Oregon from the establishment of the Provisional Government between 1841 and 1843 to the present day.
The Champoeg Meetings, including a constitutional committee, held from February 1841 until May 1843, served as a de facto government before the government was officially established. While early attempts at establishing a government had been unsuccessful because of discontent between English American and French Canadian settlers over the question, whom they should choose as Governor, several other officers were elected at these meetings, including the position of Supreme Judge as the highest position at the second meeting. For lack of a government the Supreme Judge also received executive and legislative duties and was mostly chosen as the chairman of the following meetings.
|Executive||Term start||Term end|
|–||Chairman Jason Lee||February 17, 1841|
|–||Chairman David Leslie||February 18, 1841|
|1||Supreme Judge Ira Babcock||February 18, 1841||May 2, 1843|
|–||Vacant||May 2, 1843||July 5, 1843|
The meetings at Champoeg led up to the first constitution of the Oregon Country and several petitions for U.S. territorial status. The resulting acts also created this body as a provisional government for the region. The first executives of this government were a three-person, elected committee known as the Executive Committee. In 1845, elections for a chief executive were held. The first person in Oregon to hold the title of governor was George Abernethy, a prominent businessman.
|Executive||Term start||Term end|
|1||First Executive Committee
David Hill • Alanson Beers • Joseph Gale
|July 5, 1843||May 14, 1844|
|2||Second Executive Committee
Peter G. Stewart • Osborne Russell • William J. Bailey
|May 14, 1844||June 3, 1845|
|3||George Abernethy||June 3, 1845||March 3, 1849|
Governors of the Territory of Oregon
Oregon became a U.S. Territory in 1848. Like most other U.S. territorial governments, Oregon's territorial governor was appointed by the President of the United States. As transportation and communications were not as reliable or as fast as 21st-century methods, there were times when a departing governor left office and a new governor could not yet take over. This resulted in several local individuals acting as territorial governor until the new executive was appointed and arrived to take office.
President Polk initially appointed Brigadier General James Shields to be Oregon's first territorial governor and Shields was confirmed by the Senate, but he declined the position and Joseph Lane was appointed in his place.
|Governor||Took office||Left office||Appointed by||Party|
|1||Joseph Lane||March 3, 1849||June 18, 1850||James Polk||Democratic|
|–||Kintzing Prichette||June 18, 1850||August 18, 1850||Acting Governor||Democratic|
|2||John P. Gaines||August 18, 1850||May 16, 1853||Zachary Taylor||Whig|
|–||Joseph Lane||May 16, 1853||May 19, 1853||Acting Governor||Democratic|
|–||George Law Curry||May 19, 1853||December 2, 1853||Acting Governor||Democratic|
|3||John W. Davis||December 2, 1853||August 1, 1854||Franklin Pierce||Democratic|
|4||George Law Curry||August 1, 1854||March 3, 1859||Franklin Pierce||Democratic|
Governors of the State of Oregon
|Governor||Took office||Left office||Party||Terms|
|1||John Whiteaker||March 3, 1859||September 10, 1862||Democratic||1|
|2||A. C. Gibbs||September 10, 1862||September 12, 1866||Republican||1|
|3||George L. Woods||September 12, 1866||September 14, 1870||Republican||1|
|4||La Fayette Grover||September 14, 1870||February 1, 1877||Democratic||1 1⁄2|
|5||Stephen F. Chadwick||February 1, 1877||September 11, 1878||Democratic||1⁄2|
|6||W. W. Thayer||September 11, 1878||September 13, 1882||Democratic||1|
|7||Z. F. Moody||September 13, 1882||January 12, 1887||Republican||1|
|8||Sylvester Pennoyer||January 12, 1887||January 14, 1895||Democratic||2|
|9||William Paine Lord||January 14, 1895||January 9, 1899||Republican||1|
|10||T. T. Geer||January 9, 1899||January 15, 1903||Republican||1|
|11||George Chamberlain||January 15, 1903||March 1, 1909||Democratic||1 1⁄3|
|12||Frank W. Benson||March 1, 1909||June 17, 1910||Republican||1⁄3|
|13||Jay Bowerman||June 17, 1910||January 11, 1911||Republican||1⁄3|
|14||Oswald West||January 11, 1911||January 12, 1915||Democratic||1|
|15||James Withycombe||January 12, 1915||March 3, 1919||Republican||1 1⁄2|
|16||Ben W. Olcott||March 3, 1919||January 8, 1923||Republican||1⁄2|
|17||Walter M. Pierce||January 8, 1923||January 10, 1927||Democratic||1|
|18||I. L. Patterson||January 10, 1927||December 21, 1929||Republican||1⁄2|
|19||A. W. Norblad||December 21, 1929||January 12, 1931||Republican||1⁄2|
|20||Julius L. Meier||January 12, 1931||January 14, 1935||Independent||1|
|21||Charles H. Martin||January 14, 1935||January 9, 1939||Democratic||1|
|22||Charles A. Sprague||January 9, 1939||January 11, 1943||Republican||1|
|23||Earl Snell||January 11, 1943||October 30, 1947||Republican||1 1⁄3|
|24||John H. Hall||October 30, 1947||January 10, 1949||Republican||1⁄3|
|25||Douglas McKay||January 10, 1949||December 27, 1952||Republican||1⁄3 + 1⁄2|
|26||Paul L. Patterson||December 27, 1952||February 1, 1956||Republican||1⁄2 + 1⁄3|
|27||Elmo Smith||February 1, 1956||January 14, 1957||Republican||1⁄3|
|28||Robert D. Holmes||January 14, 1957||January 12, 1959||Democratic||1⁄3|
|29||Mark Hatfield||January 12, 1959||January 9, 1967||Republican||2|
|30||Tom McCall||January 9, 1967||January 13, 1975||Republican||2|
|31||Robert W. Straub||January 13, 1975||January 8, 1979||Democratic||1|
|32||Victor Atiyeh||January 8, 1979||January 12, 1987||Republican||2|
|33||Neil Goldschmidt||January 12, 1987||January 14, 1991||Democratic||1|
|34||Barbara Roberts||January 14, 1991||January 9, 1995||Democratic||1|
|35||John Kitzhaber||January 9, 1995||January 13, 2003||Democratic||2|
|36||Ted Kulongoski||January 13, 2003||January 10, 2011||Democratic||2|
|37||John Kitzhaber||January 10, 2011||February 18, 2015||Democratic||1 1⁄4|
|38||Kate Brown||February 18, 2015||Incumbent||Democratic||3⁄4|
Other high offices held
This is a table of congressional seats, other federal offices, and other governorships held by governors. All representatives and senators mentioned represented Oregon except where noted.
- * Denotes those offices that the governor resigned to take.
|Governor||Gubernatorial term||U.S. Congress||Other offices held||Source|
|S||Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives from Oregon Territory|||
|John P. Gaines||1850–1853||U.S. Representative from Kentucky|||
|John W. Davis||1853–1854||U.S. Representative from Indiana; United States Commissioner to China|||
|George L. Woods||1911–1915||Governor of Utah Territory|||
|La Fayette Grover||1866–1877||H||S*|||
|William Paine Lord||1895–1899||United States Minister to Argentina|||
|Walter M. Pierce||1923–1927||H|||
|Charles H. Martin||1935–1939||H|||
|Douglas McKay||1949–1952||United States Secretary of the Interior*|||
|Neil Goldschmidt||1987–1991||United States Secretary of Transportation|||
Living former U.S. governors of Oregon
As of December 2017[update], there are four former U.S. governors of Oregon who are currently living at this time, the oldest U.S. governor of Oregon being Barbara Roberts (served 1991–1995, born 1936). The most recent death of a former U.S. governor of Oregon and also the death of a former U.S. governor of Oregon who served most recently was of Victor Atiyeh, who served from January 8, 1979 until he left office on January 12, 1987 and died on July 20, 2014 at the age of ninety-one.
|Governor||Gubernatorial term||Date of birth (and age)|
|Neil Goldschmidt||1987–1991||June 16, 1940|
|Barbara Roberts||1991–1995||December 21, 1936|
|March 5, 1947|
|Ted Kulongoski||2003–2011||November 5, 1940|
- The fractional terms of some governors are not to be understood absolutely literally; rather, they are meant to show single terms during which multiple governors served, due to resignations, deaths and the like.
- Resigned to take an elected seat in the United States Senate
- Resigned due to ill health
- Died while in office
- Resigned to take the position as United States Secretary of the Interior
- Also served two consecutive terms from 1995 to 2003.
- Resigned due to an ethics scandal.
- DR. IRA L. BABCOCK, biography from Oregon Government, retrieved 15 May 2017
- A History of Oregon, 1792-1849, retrieved 15 May 2017
- Chaired the first Champoeg Meeting.
- Chaired the second Champoeg Meeting, during which Babcock was elected Supreme Judge.
- Albert E. Wilson was elected Supreme Judge, but declined to serve.
- While Abernethy's term officially ended August 14, 1848, he continued to act as Governor until Lane arrived in 1849.
- "Lane, Joseph". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
- "Gaines, John Pollard". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
- "Davis, John Wesley". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
- "Whiteaker, John". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
- "George Lemuel Woods". Utah History to Go. State of Utah. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
- "Grover, La Fayette". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
- "Former U.S. Ambassadors to Argentina". Embassy of the United States, Argentina. U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
- "Chamberlain, George Earle". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
- "Pierce, Walter Marcus". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
- "Martin, Charles Henry". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
- "Past Secretaries of the Department of the Interior". U.S. Department of the Interior. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
- "Hatfield, Mark". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
- "Biographical Sketches of the Secretaries of Transportation". U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
- Mapes, Jeff (July 20, 2014). "Republican Vic Atiyeh, who guided Oregon through economic upheaval, dies at 91". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2014-07-20.
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