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April 3rd, 2013 ANN-DERRICK GAILLOT, ASHLEY JOCZ | News Stories
 

Statue of Limitations

Who deserves a pedestal more, Jason Lee or Mark Hatfield?

news2_3922Left: Mark O. Hatfield, Right: Jason Lee
The Oregon Legislature wants to send the late Mark O. Hatfield back to Washington.

A bill with 36 sponsors would mount a full-size bronze of the debonair and determined Republican statesman in the National Statuary Hall Collection in Washington, D.C.

Co-sponsors Vic Gilliam (R-Silverton) and Tobias Read (D-Beaverton) promise the statue of Hatfield will cost zero tax dollars—an ironic honor for the state legislator, governor and five-term U.S. senator who brought billions in federal pork home for the Beaver State.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for millions of people to take a fresh look at Oregon,” Gilliam says. “I don’t think there’s a better modern hero than Hatfield.”

Each state gets two statues in Statuary Hall, and installing Hatfield, who died in 2011, means one of the two current statues has to go. 

Fur baron John McLoughlin would stay. And Jason Lee would be out.

No, not the Mallrats Jason Lee. We’re talking about the Methodist missionary and state founding father.

Hatfield’s friends—with a wink from the late senator himself—saw that plenty of things in Oregon got named for Hatfield: a courthouse, a marine science center and even a U.S. Capitol hearing room, to name a few.

But Lee has his fans. A “Save Jason Lee” movement is afoot, with a protest scheduled at the Oregon State Capitol on April 19. It’s led by Reviving Oregon’s Amazing Roots, a conservative Christian group urging people to “help kill the bill that attempts to casually manipulate Oregon’s amazing history.”

Sounds like a good old-fashioned feud.

Whose side are you on?


Greatest Achievement 

Jason Lee:
Responsible for enticing settlers to the Northwest and establishing Oregon’s first mission and provincial government, and for delivering a petition to establish Oregon as a U.S. territory to Washington, D.C. 

Mark O. Hatfield:
Took principled stands as a pacifist—especially in steadfast (and often lonely) opposition to the Vietnam War. Despite overseeing spending bills, he never voted for a defense appropriations measure.


Biggest failure 

Jason Lee:
Founded a school to educate and convert native children in the Willamette Valley. Of the school’s 39 children, all of whom lacked immunity to diseases brought by white settlers, seven died, 16 became ill and five ran away. Few students were converted. One boy Lee took back East as evidence of his success died on the trip. Understandably, many natives kept clear of his mission.

Mark O. Hatfield:
Used his power to mandate increased logging on federal lands, leading to overcutting of Oregon’s federal forests, placement of the northern spotted owl on the endangered species list, crippling of timber communities, and a decades-long battle between the timber industry and environmentalists.


Willamette University Cred

Jason Lee:
He converted his failed Indian mission into a school catering to the white children of settlers. Lee’s Indian Manual Training School evolved into Willamette University. 

Mark O. Hatfield:
Earned his bachelor’s degree at Willamette, served as associate professor of political science and then dean of students, and has a library on campus named after him.


How Religious Was He?

Jason Lee:
Dude, he was a missionary.

Mark O. Hatfield:
A devout Baptist and resolute dove.


Worst Scandal

Jason Lee:
The Methodist mission board was displeased with Lee’s departure from his original mission. The board charged him with misappropriating mission funds for land speculation, and it revoked his title of “Missionary of Oregon.” Lee was eventually exonerated and his title was reinstated. 

Mark O. Hatfield:
Supported a wacky African pipeline idea promoted by a shady Greek arms dealer who paid Hatfield’s wife $55,000 for “consulting” on real estate. An FBI investigation called the payments bribes; the Hatfields were not charged. He was later rebuked by the Senate for failing to disclose $42,000 in other gifts.


Best Bill

Jason Lee:
Helped create an 1839 bill that offered 1,000 acres of land to settlers who came to Oregon—as long as they were white males over the age of 18.

Mark O. Hatfield:
Among many lasting measures, he led the fight as a state lawmaker to pass 1953 legislation barring racial discrimination in Oregon housing and public accommodations.


Coolest Thing Named For Him

Jason Lee:
Jason Lee Elementary School, “Home of the Leopards” in Portland.

Mark O. Hatfield:
Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.


SOURCES: Architect of the Capitol, aoc.gov; roaroregon.org; Oregon Blue Book; Willamette University; salemhistory.net; Oregon Historical Society; The Oregonian.

 
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