Myers
(1927-2004)
  • Oregon Secretary of State, 1967-1977.
  • Oregon State Treasurer, 1977-1984.

About Sec. Clay Myers

Clay Myers grew up in Tillamook, Oregon, and Portland, Oregon. In 1938 and 1939, he lived with his family in Rhodesia, where his uncle ran a gold mine. His experiences during that time helped to make him a strong supporter of racial equality and civil rights. After high school graduation, he studied law at the University of Oregon and Northwestern College of Law in Portland.

Sec. Clay Myers was also active in the Young Republicans, and through his work in the group, became friends with future governor Tom McCall. He served as a staff member on McCall’s gubernatorial campaign. 

In 1964, when McCall was elected Oregon secretary of state, he hired Sec. Clay Myers as assistant secretary of state. Two years later, when McCall became governor, he appointed Myers to finish out his term. While he was secretary of state, he oversaw the first mandatory statewide recount of a close election when Bob Packwood defeated Wayne Morse for the U.S. Senate in 1968.

Sec. Clay Myers was a strong supporter of preserving land for farms, timber and recreation. McCall appointed him to chair a study of Oregon land use issues, and he presented a report to the legislature in 1972. The report was crucial to the debate over Senate Bill 100 in 1973. Myers’ strong support for environmental causes led to his 2000 memorialization in the Clay Myers State Natural Area, ten miles south of Tillamook.

Myers then ran for Oregon state treasurer in 1976, and won, serving through 1984. As treasurer, he helped decide the investments of the state retirement fund (PERS) as well as state and local tax funds. He resigned in 1984. 

After his resignation, Sec. Clay Myers moved to New York and worked for the Morgan Bank, assisting states in managing trust funds. He returned to Oregon in 1988. By the 1990s, he left behind the Republican Party, which had become more conservative on civil rights and environmental issues since the 1980s, and registered as an unaffiliated voter. He stayed active in the community until his death in 2004. 

– Interview recorded May 11, 2004