Reminder: Gov. Atiyeh memorial tomorrow (Weds) at 10am

Governor Vic Atiyeh_thb

Atiyeh Service Planning Committee

Prominent officials plan to attend Gov. Atiyeh memorial

A number of prominent public officials in Oregon have confirmed they plan to attend the public memorial service for the late Governor Vic Atiyeh at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, September 3, at the Capitol in Salem.

The list includes:

  •  Governor John Kitzhaber and First Lady Cylvia Hayes.
  •  Former Governor Ted Kulongoski and First Lady Mary Oberst.
  •  Former governor Barbara Roberts (who will deliver remarks at the memorial service).
  •  U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley.
  •  U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Kurt Schrader and Greg Walden (the latter will deliver remarks at the memorial service).
  •  Legislative leaders, including Senate President Peter Courtney, House Speaker Tina Kotek, Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli, and House Republican Leader Mike McLane.
  •  Statewide elected officials, including Treasurer Ted Wheeler, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, and Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian.
  •  Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas A. Balmer and U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit Judges Diarmuid O’Scannlain and Edward Leavy.

Representatives of the Boy Scouts of America Cascade Pacific Council, the State Police Honor Guard, and the Oregon Military Department Honor Guard will participate in the service at the express request of the governor who supported all of those organizations.  Music will be provided by the Pacific University Chamber Singers under the director of Dr. Scott Tuomi.

Chief Delvis Heath, representing the Warm Springs, Paiute and Wasco Tribes, will be on hand to salute Atiyeh on behalf of Tribes in Oregon.

It is fitting for the memorial service to be housed in the House Chamber where Atiyeh got his start in politics in 1958.  He served for 20 years in the Legislature, first in the House and then in Senate, before winning the governorship in 1979.

His 20-year record of service in the legislature still ranks as the longest of any governor in Oregon’s history.

“For Governor Atiyeh, the Capitol was a base for the 28 years of his public life,” said Denny Miles, the program host for the memorial service and former press secretary for Atiyeh.  “He loved the Capitol building, its history and its place in Oregon politics.  It is fitting for his final tribute to be held there.”

“We are indebted to legislative leaders – Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek – as well as Governor John Kitzhaber for all the courtesies they have extended to the family of Governor Atiyeh, including providing the space for this memorial,” said Gerry Thompson, who is coordinating many of the arrangements for the service.  “They responded immediately upon the governor’s death and have been extremely helpful ever since.”

The Capitol building, now 75 years old, will undergo a bit of a transformation to host the memorial service.  Seats will be added in the House Chamber to accommodate those who wish to attend.  Seating also will be in the House Chamber balcony, which, during legislative sessions, accommodates members of the public who watch House floor proceedings.

A desk on the House floor, where Atiyeh sat as a representative, will carry his name one last time, along with photos and a flower display.  The same will be done on the Senate floor where Atiyeh served for eight years representing Washington County.

The galleria, which normally houses displays and exhibits during a legislative session, will become the location for a reception after the service.

A portion of the Atiyeh Collection housed at Pacific University already has been transported to the galleria to allow for public viewing.  It will remain on site for about 10 days after the service.

Further, through the generosity of the City of Salem, its leaders have said “they will suspend parking enforcement of time limited and meter zones at the Capitol Mall to accommodate the public memorial service.”

According to a news release issued by the City’s Urban Development Department, the streets subject to the suspension of enforcement are 800-1200 State Street; 700-1200 Court Street, NE; Waverly Street, NE; 200-300 Winter Street, NE; 100-300 Cottage Street, NE; 200-300 Capitol Street, NE; and 100-300 Winter Street, NE.

The release emphasized that carpool and disabled parking enforcement would continue.

For the service, Capitol doors will open to the public at 8 a.m.  Seating in the House Chamber will begin at 9 a.m.  The service itself will start promptly at 10 a.m.   The public reception will begin immediately after the service in the galleria.

The Oregon Public Broadcasting Think Out Loud program will be at the Capitol Wednesday to air a live program.  Scheduled guests to comment on the Atiyeh years in politics will be Gerry Thompson, who served as Atiyeh’s chief of staff from 1981-87; state Senator Jackie Winters, who served as Atiyeh’s ombudsman; and former Governor Ted Kulongoski, who, though losing to Atiyeh in 1982, when on to a noteworthy career in state government, including as attorney general, Supreme Court Justice and governor.

Several TV stations around Oregon are planning to feed live reports from the Capitol.  A number of newspaper reporters also will be in attendance.