Carlton, OR—Prior to his passing last July, former Oregon Governor Vic Atiyeh conducted a series of interviews with legislative staffer Scott Jorgensen. Those interviews comprise the bulk of a book, Conversations with Atiyeh, which was recently published by Carlton-based Ridenbaugh Press.
Atiyeh, a first-generation American of Middle Eastern descent, served in the Oregon Legislature for 20 years prior to being elected governor in 1978. His stint included terms in both the Oregon House and the Senate. Atiyeh remains the last Republican to have been governor of the state, and left office at the end of his second term in 1987.
Jorgensen, 34, began his career as a small-town reporter, covering state and local government for various publications throughout Oregon. He was a news director and talk show host for the Grants Pass Broadcasting Corporation and currently works in the Oregon Senate.
“I’ve been reading a lot of Oregon history throughout the past couple of years, and recognized the need for more books on our former governors,” Jorgensen said. “There are multiple works about Tom McCall and Mark Hatfield, but I felt that I had a unique opportunity to learn what I could from Governor Atiyeh.”
The two began conducting interviews earlier this year. Those three hour-long interviews cover a variety of topics, including Atiyeh’s lifelong involvement with the Boy Scouts, his experience in student government at Portland’s Washington High School, his time playing football for the University of Oregon Ducks, and the lessons he learned from decades of public service. During one section of the interviews, Atiyeh discusses his encounters with various former U.S. Presidents, including Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.
“This is not a typical historical biography,” Jorgensen said. “Instead, it’s the story of how wisdom is passed down from one generation to the next. You get to hear about Governor Atiyeh in his own words, and his stories and anecdotes are absolutely priceless.”
Conversations with Atiyeh is available on amazon.com. Jorgensen has also scheduled a series of appearances to promote it.