On a spring morning in 1943, a 13-year old Phil Lang boarded a bus in Portland headed for Salem. Governor Earl Snell, a family acquaintance, had invited him for a visit to the Capitol. The two of them had a fine visit but that’s only part of the story that involved a hole in a sock and a ride in the Governor’s limo. It was the first of many adventures for Phil at Oregon’s state Capitol.

Phil’s public service includes three years in the U.S. Air Force, a stint as an Oregon State Police Trooper, and two years as a member of Portland Mayor Terry Schrunk’s executive staff. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1960, serving as Speaker of the House from 1975-1979. The Capitol wings were built during his tenure as Speaker and in 1997 he was honored by the naming of the House Office wing as the “Phil Lang Memorial Wing”. He served as Chairman of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission from l998–2011.  

Phil enjoyed a 35-year career with North Pacific/Oregon Auto Insurance Company and retired in 1994 as Senior Vice President.

Watch an interview with Lang, part of the Foundation’s oral history project.

Fun fact: Speaker Lang had the Oregon State Seal added to the rostrum in the House.