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Charles O. Porter

Charles Orlando Porter (April 4, 1919 – January 1, 2006) was a politician from the U.S. state of Oregon.

Charles O. Porter
Charles O. Porter (Oregon Congressman).jpg
From 1957's Pocket Congressional Directory of the Eighty-Fifth Congress.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oregon's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1957 – January 3, 1961
Preceded byHarris Ellsworth
Succeeded byEdwin Russell Durno
Personal details
Born(1919-04-04)April 4, 1919
Klamath Falls, Oregon
DiedJanuary 1, 2006(2006-01-01) (aged 86)
Eugene, Oregon
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Priscilla Porter

Early lifeEdit

Born in Klamath Falls, Oregon, to Frank Porter and Ruth Peterson, he graduated from high school in Eugene, Oregon and then went on to graduate from Harvard University with a B.S. in 1941. From there he went on to serve in the United States Army during World War II from 1941 to 1945. He then went back to Harvard Law School and graduated with an LL.B. in 1947. At Harvard Law, he partnered with several other returning veterans to found the Harvard Law Record, using the nascent paper to argue for more student housing.

Congressional careerEdit

He entered politics when he ran for the Congressional Representative for Oregon's 4th congressional district as a Democrat in 1954. He lost that race, but he ran again in 1956. In a major upset, he narrowly defeated incumbent Republican Harris Ellsworth. In association with Robert J. Alexander, he wrote The Struggle for Democracy in Latin America, which was published in 1961.

When he was in Congress from 1957 through 1961, Porter quickly became known as a strong liberal. He backed admitting China to the United Nations, opening trade with China and halting nuclear testing.[1] Partly as a result, he was defeated for reelection in 1960 Republican Edwin R. Durno.

In 1980, Porter made an unsuccessful attempt to win the Democratic primary in the United States Senate election, but lost the nomination to state Senator Ted Kulongoski, who lost the general election.[2] Porter made several other attempts to return to Congress: in 1964, he lost the Democratic primary to Robert Duncan, and lost again in 1966, 1972, 1976, and 1980.

After returning to private law practice in Eugene in 1965, Porter was noted as one of the main proponents for the removal of a controversial Christian cross from Skinner Butte in Eugene. He also fought against building a nuclear power plant near Eugene, fought for the decriminalization of marijuana, and was opposed to the Vietnam War.[1]


He was married to Priscilla Porter, who died in 2002. They had four children: Don, Chris, Sam, and Anne. He died on New Year's Day, 2006, in Eugene, of Alzheimer's disease.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Contrarian Congressman Charles O. Porter, 86". Washington Post. Associated Press. January 6, 2006. p. B08. Retrieved 2008-02-25.
  2. ^ Willis, Henny (May 21, 1980). "Packwood, Kulongoski get set for Senate campaign debates". The Register-Guard. Archived from the original on January 25, 2013. Retrieved March 23, 2010.

External linksEdit