Smith sq
  • Oregon State Representative, 1979-1983.
  • Public Relations, AT&T, Law and Government Affairs Western States Division, 1983-1996.
  • President, The Ford Family Foundation, 1997-2013.

About Rep. Smith

Norm Smith’s connection with the Oregon State Capitol began on his 2nd birthday when he and his parents celebrated in the park adjacent to the Capitol. Smith’s oral history explores the variety of ways he has contributed to Oregon and the Capitol Building.

As a student at Willamette University School of Law, Smith interned for several agencies and was a building tour guide. In that role he explored “every nook and cranny” until he thoroughly knew the building. From 1979-1983 Smith represented District 7 (later 9) that included an eclectic constituency that spanned from the urban boundaries of Portland to ranches, farms and orchards in rural areas of Yamhill and Washington Counties. The district reflected the larger urban and rural issues confronting the state, and Smith treasures “the fact that I had to figure out whether I was benefitting more than fewer and that if there was a way to bring it more to the middle that that was a better solution for that district…”

Smith points to the importance of relationships throughout his interview as the key to success in life and work. As the first president and CEO of The Ford Family Foundation, Smith influenced Oregon’s civic and cultural life through educational scholarships for rural students, rural community grants, and support for the arts that are the core mission of the foundation. Given the longevity of Norm Smith’s relationship with the Capitol Building, it was a perfect fit when he became a founding board member of the Oregon State Capitol Foundation, a post he proudly holds today.

– Interview recorded July 25, 2019