Two former lawmakers today asked the current legislative leaders in a letter [PDF] to remove a portrait of former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt from the Capitol. Former Sen. Vicki Walker (D-Eugene) and ex-Rep. Tim Knopp (R-Bend) wrote:
"This letter is to respectfully ask for the removal of former Governor Neil Goldschmidtâs portrait from the State of Oregon Capitol Building and have it sent to permanent storage. In 2004, at the request of Representative Tim Knopp and Senator Vicki Walker, legislative leadership moved former Governor Goldschmidtâs official portrait from its place outside the Senate Chambers to the legislative library. Although the original request was to remove it from the building, we accepted the compromise to put it in the legislative library. We no longer believe that is appropriate."
"Considering the recent news stories containing new information regarding former Governor Goldschmidt's repeated rape of a 13-year-old girl, followed by a 30-year conspiracy of silence and cover-up by the former Mayor of Portland, we believe itâs no longer appropriate for his portrait to hang anywhere in the Oregon Capitol building. While we all recognize the removal of former Governor Goldschmidtâs portrait is symbolic, it's important for leaders of the Legislative Assemblyto make a strong and clear statement that we, as Oregonians, support the victim whose life was cut short, no doubt in part by the actions of the former Governor," Walker and Knopp continued.
"Leaving the portrait at its current location in the legislative library, haunting young interns and staffers doing research, sends a message to them and the people of Oregon that our representatives will continue to honor a former governor even after the admission of this heinous and criminal betrayal of a minor, as well as one of the most serious violations of the public trust in Oregon's history. Why would any Oregonian want to honor the former Governor at the cost of his young victim?"
"Our request, however, is not an attempt to rewrite history. We are not suggesting removing former Governor Goldschmidt from the history books. However, we believe there are only 9 portraits out of 36 Oregon Governors that hang in a place of honor in the State Capitol. Should one of them be an admitted rapist?" Walker and Knopp wrote. "We suggest not."