Writings and observations

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Oregon

During the late 70s and early 80s I was covering politics in Idaho, not Oregon, so the governor I was watching at close range was not Vic Atiyeh but rather John Evans.

Both of them died this month.

And the comparisons between the two, as I thought about it, became eerily extensive.

They were mirror images of opposing parties. Atiyeh was a Republican who had to deal with strongly Democratic legislatures; Evans a Democrat who had to deal with strongly Republican legislatures.

Both grew up working in the family business (ranching and banking for Evans, a rug store for Atiyeh) and each expanded them substantially as an adult and after serving as governor.

Both were elected governor twice, in 1978 and 1982. In their re-election campaigns, each defeated a candidate of the opposing party who would go on to be elected governor later (Ted Kulongoski in Oregon, Phil Batt in Idaho). Each had run for office statewide once before serving as governor, but each also had an extensive state legislative resume. Neither ran for office again after leaving the governorship. (Evans ran for the Senate in 1986, but he was still governor.)

They even shared a name: Victor Atiyeh and John Victor Evans.

They were governor of their states during economic hard times, and focused (in different ways) on business recovery. As personalities, though serving as governor, both were often overshadowed in the public by other political figures of their own party (Atiyeh by Tom McCall and Mark Hatfield, Evans by Frank Church and Cecil Andrus), though that related more to charisma than to capability.

They had a lot in common as people, too. They were friendly and accessible – notably so, this being a quality appreciated more in hindsight than at the time. If they were a little short on charisma that may relate to a preference to stick to the job, to work for the state and to maintain a sense of humility under circumstances where that can be challenging.

I can’t say for sure whether Atiyeh and Evans liked each other. But I have a hard time thinking that they didn’t. For good reason.

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Oregon Oregon column

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Republican moderate PAC formed (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register)
Stanley searches for life in winter (Boise Statesman)
Considering the black market in liquor licenses (IF Post Register, Lewiston Tribune)
Macy’s closes at Katcher, others continue (Nampa Press Tribune)
Opinions vary on Knievel-type canyon jump (TF Times News)

Rural people fight Springfield industrial area (Eugene Register Guard)
Much more cleanup needed after mill fire (Eugene Register Guard)
Beatty fire quickly contained (KF Herald & News)
A look inside Oregon’s prisons (Portland Oregonian)
Churches clarify stands on same sex marriage (Salem Statesman Journal)

More women joining submarine crews (Bremerton Sun)
County commissioner challenged by three (Longview News)
Oil trains pressing grain shipments (Seattle Times, Yakima Herald Republic)
Can pot smell be enough for a cop search? (Spokane Spokesman)
Finding housing for homeless people (Vancouver Columbian)
Wildfires continue roar despite rain (Vancouver Columbian)
Medicaid dental payments kept very low (Yakima Herald Republic)

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First Take