• Oregon Coastal Conservation and Development Commission, 1971.
  • Salem Planning Commission, 1968-1972.
  • Salem City Council, 1972-1980.
  • League of Oregon Cities, Board member, 1974-1980; President, 1977.
  • Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, 1986-1999.
  • Oregon Health Services Commission, 1991-2007.

About Ellen Lowe

Ellen Lowe remains committed to social justice, equality, and civic engagement. These were the hallmarks of her long career as an elected official, volunteer activist and paid lobbyist.

Lowe was the sixth of seven children born to Danish immigrant dairy farmers. When the family needed to relocate, they purposefully chose to live near Eugene and the educational opportunities available. Education was highly valued, for the family’s daughters as well as the sons.

Lowe began working with the League of Women Votes and AAUW on a variety of issues, and educated herself on how the political process worked in municipal and state government. During her oral history interview Lowe tells how she became involved in issues “with folks that knew that some of their individual needs could only be satisfied by collective action.” Her first efforts centered on good schools in Salem, a new city library, and revenue sharing of state funds through the League of Oregon Cities.

Lowe also worked as a lobbyist for Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon. She championed state support for food pantries, a higher minimum wage, and the Oregon Health Plan. In “retirement” she became the lead spokesperson for the No on 9 Campaign, helping defeat the discrimination against LGBTQIA+ citizens embodied in the ballot measure. Now, living mere blocks from the Capitol Building, Ellen Lowe remains a presence in the halls of Oregon State government.

– Interview recorded August 15, 2019