November 2017: Vera Katz in her own words

Former Portland mayor spoke with KOIN 6 News anchor Ken Boddie

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- In what may have been her last on-the-record interview, former Portland Mayor Vera Katz spoke with KOIN 6 News anchor Ken Boddie. Below are excerpts of that interview.

Vera Katz was born in Germany and raised in New York City. She was elected to legislature in the 1970s and became the first woman speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives between 1985 and 1990.

She then served 3 terms as Portland mayor, leading the city from 1993-2005.

Vera Katz died December 11, 2017 at the age of 84. A public memorial service is being planned for January.

Her thoughts on the Vera Katz statue on the Eastbank Esplande
"I was honored. What I enjoyed was that people dressed me when the weather is cold, or when they've had a little bit too much to drink," she said, laughing.
Her thoughts about the Eastbank Esplanade
"One of my goals was to connect the east side with the west side, and one way to do it was to build the Esplanade, bring citizens to the east side and have them enjoy the view of the city from the east side of the river.""Actually, bringing the east side to life was one of the major goals. The population was growing in the city. We wanted to make the joy of a park, the use of a park, to a greater extent and to make sure there were places for people to go to hike and bike. It pleases me greatly that the development is happening on the other side of the river."
Her greatest accomplishments

Vera Katz mentioned Old Town/Chinatown, the South Waterfront and the development between South Waterfront and downtown Portland.

But she cited "the Tram. And I chaired the committee to design the Tilikum bridge, which was one of my greatest joys to do. Saint Johns Bridge is beautiful, loved it from the first time I saw it. Still one of my favorites, but the Tilikum comes close."
On the homeless problem in Portland
" First of all, we're not the only city that has this problem. We feed them when they're hungry, and we continually focus on them. I'm not sure if what we're doing is the right thing to do, if we can't provide them with housing, though we're moving in the direction of adding shelter, housing and single room housing. The lack of funds is a deterrent for us, but if somebody doesn't have a roof over their heads, you provide a roof over their heads and then you don't have the homeless population problem."We're not quite there to take care of our homeless, but we're moving in that direction."

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