PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In a celebration fit for The People’s Mayor, family, friends, former colleagues and community members gathered at Pioneer Courthouse Square on Sunday to remember Bud Clark.
Clark died in February at the age of 90. But he cemented his place in Portland’s history when, as the barkeeper and owner of the Goose Hollow Inn, he unexpectedly defeated incumbent Mayor Frank Ivancie in 1984.
“When he filed to run for office against the incumbent mayor, he was a barkeeper, a restaurant owner, nobody thought he would win, I mean, nobody,” said Kerry Tymchuk, executive director of the Oregon Historical Society.
That catapulted him onto the international stage, from TV appearances to New York Times articles. He served two full terms through 1992 and his impact on the Rose City continues to this day.
“Bud Clark’s legacy is going to be lasting and vast. One of the things few people knew about him is that he was a budget hawk. He basically was able to go through and not only balance the budget, but build up the city’s reserves,” said Mike Lindberg, a former city commissioner who served during Clark’s time as mayor. “He brought some joy and levity to the city, his own brand, his ‘Whoop Whoop.'”
“You look at what he did in his 8 years as mayor: the Oregon Convention Center, revitalized Union Station, revitalized the Transit Center, moved community policing. And he did it all with decency, civility,” Tymchuk said.
Clark’s crowning achievement is the Oregon Convention Center, built during a recession.
“It gave people confidence (that) the city had a future and there was prosperity ahead,” he said to KOIN 6 News’ Ken Boddie back in 2016.
“Bud Clark was a mentor to me. He was a joyful leader and somebody who came out of private life, did some good public service and didn’t stay in politics for a whole career. I admired that and actually followed the same path,” said former Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. “What Bud proved is if you step up and care about your neighborhood and care about your community, you can make things happen.”
The celebration included personal remembrances and performances by The Portland Youth Philharmonic, Pink Martini founder Thomas Lauderdale and Kathleen Saadat, the Mel Brown Quartet and the MarchFourth Marching Band as well as a complimentary “Ice Cream Social” from Salt & Straw. Ken Boddie hosted the event.
Earlier in the day, volunteers with SOLVE held a Bud Clark’s City clean-up of downtown Portland, an effort to get residents to work together and keep the city clean and welcoming.
“The best way to honor Bud Clark is to do what he did, to step up, to care about the city,” Tymchuk said. “To just get involved and make a difference and to make Portland a better place. We need that now.”