Packwood sq
  • Oregon State Representative, 1963-1968.
  • United States Senator from Oregon, 1969-1995.

About U.S. Sen. Packwood

Bob Packwood came from a family of politicians. In his oral history he recounts how as a young boy he listened to political discussion around his family’s dinner table with invited guests who were members of the legislature, the press, and lobbyists.

Sen. Bob Packwood’s 1962 campaign for the Oregon House was considered “groundbreaking” in terms of his campaign techniques: like lawn signs, coffees, and bumper stickers. The Willamette University Archives is the repository for Packwood’s papers, and his original campaign “how-to” notebook is held there.  It gives step-by-step instructions, with slides, on how to run a successful political campaign. He used this handbook to recruit Republican candidates and teach them his successful campaign methods for many years. 

Another key innovation Packwood developed during his time in the Oregon State Legislature was the Dorchester Conference. Designed to cultivate emerging leadership in the moderate wing of the Republican in the mid-1960s, the first conference ruffled some party feathers but proved to be a hit among many Republicans. Sessions focused on such topics as “Constitutionalism and Representative Democracy” and “Race and Reality: Republican Heritage or Republican Myth.” Considered one of the rising stars of the Republican, Bob Packwood took on and beat the incumbent and iconic Senator Wayne Morse in the 1968 election.

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!