Rutherford sq
  • Oregon State Representative, 1977-1984.
  • Oregon State Treasurer, 1984-1987.

About Treasurer Rutherford

The Rutherford family relocated from Iowa to McMinnville, Oregon following World War II. There the family opened the first of what became a chain of retail stores: Rutherford Variety Store. Bill began working in the store at age seven and continued in the family business for years.

Rutherford earned his BS in History from the University of Oregon (‘61), his law degree from Harvard Law School (’64), and served the US Army in Europe for two years (1964-66). He initially worked in private practice, then as counsel for May & Company, and was a member of the Pacific Stock Exchange. In his mid-20s, Rutherford’s parent’s untimely deaths spurred his move back to McMinnville.

Rutherford notes that he “moved from serving the public to public service,” first as a state representative from District 29 and then as Oregon’s State Treasurer. After four successful terms as representative, Gov. Atiyeh appointed Rutherford to complete the term of State Treasurer Clay Myers. He won election to that office in 1984 and worked to turn the misunderstood position into a “job creation office” during one of Oregon’s deep recessions. During his tenure, Gunderson Rail Car began manufacturing the first light rail cars, historic hotels in various cities were turned into senior and disabled housing, and the funding was secured for what became Pioneer Place, helping revitalize downtown Portland. 

– Interview recorded July 31, 2019