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  • Senior Political Reporter, Oregon Public Broadcasting, 2016 to present.
  • Political Reporter, The Oregonian, 1984-2015.

About Jeff Mapes

Covering Oregon politics in print and over the airwaves for more than 30 years proved to be the perfect beat for a self-declared “political junkie.” Coming to work at The Oregonian in 1980, Jeff Mapes covered Oregon’s state politics and its congressional delegation during a period of transition in the state. Oregon moved from being primarily a natural resource based economy to one rooted in high tech and tourism; those changes altered the political landscape as well.

In this wide-ranging interview Mapes offers his observations on changes to Oregon’s political parties, the rural/urban divide, and the evolution of a state from being “pretty isolated from the rest of the country” to a “national beacon of cool.”

Mapes’ reporting on Oregon’s state government has spanned from the times when physically being in the Capitol Building and in Salem was essential to do his job, to the current mode when legislative bills and committee hearings are all accessible online. Mapes considers 1990 a “fulcrum year” in Oregon politics naming the passage of Measure 5, the listing of the Northern Spotted Owl on the Endangered Species list, and the ascendance of the hyper conservative Oregon Citizens Alliance as key elements in that transformation.

Whether as an Oregonian reporter or senior political reporter for OPB, Mapes has sought the balance between having good relationships with elected officials, staff, and lobbyists he reports about, and maintaining his journalistic objectivity and integrity.

You can help preserve history

When you donate to the Capitol Foundation or purchase Pacific Wonderland license plates for your car, you help create a living history of our Capitol and its history. Your support funds programs such as our oral history project. This program gives students, history buffs and our state’s future leaders an opportunity to learn about Oregon’s most important stories from the people who made it happen. Thank you!