Goldschmidt, 1990

Photographers and reporters crowd around the lectern Wednesday as Goldschmidt announces he will not seek re-election.

Stanford Smith, Democrat-Herald (File)

NOTE: The following article originally ran in the Thursday, Feb. 8, 1990, edition of the Albany Democrat-Herald.

Mid-valley reaction to the Goldschmidt news was mostly surprise and included praise for the governor as well as rebukes.

Gov. Neil Goldschmidt announced in Salem Wednesday he would not seek a second term and he and his wife Margie are separating.

Among those caught off guard was Wayne Fisk, the Linn County Democratic chairman, who said that at an Albany fundraising dinner Jan. 11 Goldschmidt sounded as though he would go ahead and run.

Fisk, a Jefferson High School teacher, said, "I'm extremely disappointed for Oregon, for he has been a very good governor. But it shows his priorities are straight; he needs to get his life back in order."

He said Goldschmidt can't be blamed for not fixing longstanding school-finance and workers' compensation programs but should get credit for the revival of the Oregon economy. He said Secretary of State Barbara Roberts was "highly qualified" to run.

A sampling of other comments:

• Sweet Home civic leader Hobert McQueary, Democrat and former state senator, also mentioned Roberts as a likely candidate. "And I'd like to see her do it." On Goldschmidt's performance in office: "I think I agreed with the things he has done more often than I was displeased."

• State Rep. Liz VanLeeuwen, R-Halsey: "I never dreamed he was going to pull out." She was critical of Goldschmidt and complained he had taken credit for programs, such as overseas trade development, started by Republican Gov. Vic Atiyeh.

• Albany Mayor Keith Rohrbough: "Quite surprised." Rohrbough was "very sad" Goldschmidt was unable to bring reforms in workers compensation. "But his work for the children was marvelous. The groundwork has been laid for good work."

• Tangent grass-seed farmer Dean Schrock was sorry to hear about the separation. "That was probably the biggest shock," Goldschmidt visited Schrock's farm early in the 1986 campaign to talk about grass-seed issues. "We're disappointed that after three years there's been nothing on utilizing straw. You do have to have support from the governor's office." Schrock also was disappointed that Goldschmidt announced an initiative against field burning.

• Gary Grossman, general manager of KRKT Radio and president of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce: "I personally think it's a positive. We didn't gain as much ground as a number of people, including me, would have thought under Neil Goldschmidt. ... Based on his experience in Portland and national politics, I expected more of him than we got. But it could have been worse."

• Wayne Anderson, Albany-based regional executive of the United Steelworkers Union and chairman of the Oregon Democratic Party, regretted Goldschmidt's decision. He thought Goldschmidt had done a good job with his Oregon comeback, Children's Agenda and other programs.

• Ron Purdum, president of the parent company of Albany General Hospital: "He's been a good leader for the state and given us some visibility we needed. I'm sorry to see him go; he would have benefited us greatly in another term."

• Linn County Commissioner Larry Johnson, a Democrat, said that for some time there had been rumblings Goldschmidt's family might not support him continuing in office. Johnson thought Goldschmidt had done a great job. "He's taken on a lot of areas that had been neglected for some time; for example, the prison."

NOTE: Barbara Roberts succeeded Goldschmidt in 1991, becoming Oregon's first woman governor after defeating Dave Frohnmayer and independent candidate Al Mobley. She served for a single term, declining to seek reelection in 1994.

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