Rep. Mitch Greenlick passes away at 85

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Lawmaker had been battling several health issues

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon State Representative Mitch Greenlick has died, according to Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek. Greenlick was 85.

In a Tweet posted Saturday morning, Kotek said Greenlick was one of her closest colleagues in the Legislature:

At the end of 2019, Greenlick announced he would not seek reelection. “It’s my ninth session and I’ll be 85 in March,” he said in December. “It’s time.” His term was set to end in January of 2020.

Greenlick had been a member of the Oregon House of Representatives since 2003, representing House District 33 — a territory that includes several neighborhoods in Northwest Portland and parts of unincorporated Multnomah and Washington Counties.

He served on the House Committee on Health Care–a committee he chaired for more than 12 years–as well as the House Committee on Judiciary.

In addition to his duties as a legislator, Greenlick was a professor emeritus and past chair of the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine in the Medical School of OHSU. 

Though a Democrat, Greenlick was admired on both sides of the aisle, according to many colleagues sharing their condolences and memories Saturday morning. The Oregon House Republicans tweeted:

Following the news of his passing, Governor Kate Brown released a statement about Greenlick, and said he will be greatly missed.

“Representative Mitch Greenlick dedicated his career to fighting for Oregonians to have a better life. A fierce advocate for expanding health care, he championed initiatives that helped push our state forward, including extending the Oregon Health Plan for low-income and underserved communities. His tireless efforts around justice reform were critical to the passage of key legislation through the years to bring equal treatment under the law to all Oregonians. He was a professor, an educator, and a citizen legislator. Smart as a whip and with a heart of gold, he was a true Lion of the House. We will all greatly miss him. Dan and my hearts are with Harriet and his family as they mourn his passing.”

House Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner also released a tribute to her friend:

“I am deeply saddened to learn that our friend Mitch Greenlick passed away last night. Mitch dedicated his life to serving Oregonians, always standing on principle and fighting for what he knew was right and just – and he always did it with unmistakable candor and humor. I first met Mitch 20 years ago as the director of the House Democrats’ campaign arm. Though he didn’t win that first race, I can’t help but think how lucky we are that he came back to win the next one. His dedication and love for service made us all a little better in the work we do. Oregon is a better place because of him. On behalf of myself and the Oregon House Democrats, I extend the deepest condolences to Harriet, the love of Mitch’s life, his children, Phyllis, Michael and Vicki, and the entire Greenlick family. May we all be fortunate enough to have a life so well lived.”

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