Tom McCall and Oregon’s Environmental Legacy
with Bill Robbins, Oregon State University emeritus professor of history
In the 1960s, raw sewage and untreated industrial wastes flowed into the Willamette River and other Oregon waterways. Development threatened Oregon’s valuable farmland and ocean beaches. Businesses promoted jobs and growth with little attention to the consequences. In retrospect, we can say that the moment was ripe for a charismatic politician willing to do battle to protect the state’s wonderful natural heritage. Governor Tom McCall’s fight against the pollution of Oregon’s waterways and its unregulated growth left a legacy that continues to resonate with people today.
At the November 11 Corvallis Science Pub, Bill Robbins will discuss the significance of McCall’s leadership as governor from 1967 to 1975. The highlight of the evening will be a showing of McCall’s famous documentary, Pollution in Paradise, a one-hour program that aired on KGW-TV in November 1962.
With an aristocratic, East Coast family background and a large-sized ego, Tom McCall nevertheless proved himself a man of the people, one who inspired deep affection for his adopted and beloved state. In a significantly less polarized political environment, McCall worked across party lines to achieve significant policy objectives that we live with to the present day.
Robbins is an emeritus Distinguished Professor of History at Oregon State and the author of twelve books, including Landscapes of Promise: The Oregon Story, 1800-1940 (1997); Landscapes of Conflict: The Oregon Story, 1940-2000 (2005); and Oregon: This Storied Land (2006).
Science Pub Corvallis offers cool presentations in an informal atmosphere where you can interact with experts and where there are no silly questions. No scientific background is required – just bring your curiosity, sense of humor, and appetite for food, drinks and knowledge!
Held on the second Monday of the month, 6 to 8 p.m. in the Old World Deli, 341 2nd St. in Corvallis, Science Pub is sponsored by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the Downtown Corvallis Association and Terra magazine at Oregon State University.