Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse

Throughout July 2020, it was widely reported that the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse, in downtown Portland, suffered vandalism during the protests staged in the heart of the city, and was the site of contentious interactions between protesters and federal agents. Perhaps unknown to many, however, is that throughout his long political career, the namesake of the Courthouse, Mark Odom Hatfield, was a vocal advocate for the Civil Rights Movement, and was a staunch supporter of some of same major anti-discrimination reform issues currently driving the largely peaceful protests for social and racial justice

Just three years later, he introduced and passed legislation prohibiting race discrimination in public accommodations. For the time, legislation of its kind was revolutionary, proceeded by similar policy at a national level in Congress and court decisions. Although not endorsed by his own party, Hatfield moved on from the Oregon legislature to win election as Governor in 1958, and he won re-election in 1962. At the time, Hatfield was only the second governor in state history to serve two full consecutive terms.

After his second term as Governor, Hatfield ran for United States Senate. During his 30-year term as a Senator, Hatfield continued his legacy of voting in alignment with his values even where they might differ from standard party politics. Hatfield continued to strongly support the Civil Rights movement, voting in favor of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, the Civil Rights Act of 1987, and in favor of establishing Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a national holiday.

Throughout his career, Hatfield was known for voting and working for what he believed was right. The Mark O. Hatfield District Courthouse is aptly named for this proudly independent son of the State of Oregon.

For more background/perspective see these wonderful linked articles below.

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