Paper pub. date
April 2016
ISBN 9780870718465 (paperback)
ISBN 9780870718472 (ebook)
6 x 9, 288 pages. 30 b&w photographs.

Reporting the Oregon Story

How Activists and Visionaries Transformed a State

Floyd J. McKay

Oregon entered a new era in 1964 with the election of Tom McCall as Secretary of State and Bob Straub as State Treasurer. Their political rivalry formed the backdrop for two of Oregon’s most transformative decades, as they successively fought for, lost, and won the governorship. Veteran Oregon journalist Floyd McKay had a front-row seat.

As a political reporter for The Oregon Statesman in Salem, and then as news analyst for KGW-TV in Portland, McKay was known for asking tough questions and pulling no punches. His reporting and commentaries ranged from analysis of the “Tom and Bob” rivalry, to the Vietnam War’s impact on Senators Wayne Morse and Mark Hatfield and the emergence of a new generation of Portland activists in the 1970s.

McKay and his colleagues were on the beaches as Oregon crafted its landmark Beach Bill, ensuring the protection of beaches for public use. They watched as activists turned back efforts to build a highway on the sand at Pacific City. Pitched battles over Oregon’s Bottle Bill, and the panic-inducing excitement of “Vortex”—the nation’s only state-sponsored rock festival—characterized the period. Covering the period from 1964-1986, McKay remembers the action, the players and the consequences, in this compelling and personal account.

As major actors fade from the scene and new leaders emerge, McKay casts a backwards glance at enduring Oregon legends. Half a century later, amid today’s cynicism and disillusionment with media, politics, and politicians, Reporting the Oregon Story serves as a timely reminder that charged politics and bitter rivalries can also come hand-in-hand with lasting social progress.

Reporting the Oregon Story will be relished by those who lived the history, and it will serve as a worthy introduction to Oregonians young and old who want a first-hand account of Oregon’s mid- twentieth-century political history and legislative legacy.

Listen to an interview with Floyd McKay here!

About the author

FLOYD J. MCKAY was a leading journalist at The Oregon Statesman in Salem, and as news analyst at KGW-TV in Portland. For his work as a reporter and producer of documentaries, he won the DuPont-Columbia Broadcast Award, the “Pulitzer Prize of Broadcasting.” He holds a PhD in Media History from the University of Washington. He was a Nieman Fellow in journalism at Harvard University and taught journalism at Western Washington University. McKay lives in Bellingham, Washington.

Read more about this author

"[Reporting the Oregon Story] becomes a catalogue of historical notes and remembrances, yet one that still captures up the tenor and texture of Oregon's primetime. McKay watched it all and knew the players and helped Oregonians make sense of their state during this remarkable era. His memoir is a worthy and valuable record of those heady times."

-Brent Walth, Oregon Historical Quarterly

"Reporting the Oregon Story is not a political history, but it is a revealing documentary of key people and events that fills a place between journalistic first takes and analytical history. The best sequences in McKay's selective remembrance of his very successful career - he was awarded the prestigious duPont-Columbia broadcast award in 1978 while at KGW-TV - are his cogent analyses of the strengths and weaknesses of the main political players, from McCall to Neil Goldschmidt. His focus is on how the successful politicians embraced the energy and ideas of Oregon's activists and connected directly with the populace."

- William L. Lang, Pacific Northwest Quarterly

Sign Up for Our Newsletter