Straub, Robert W.

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Oregon Governor Robert W. Straub (1920-2002) was born in California and came to Oregon in 1946.

From the guide to the Robert W. Straub speech, 1975 July 4, (Oregon Historical Society Research Library)

Robert William (Bob) Straub was born May 6, 1920 to Thomas Jefferson Straub and Mary Ellen Tulley Straub, in San Francisco, California. He grew up in Los Altos with his three brothers, Frank, Jim, and Tom, and his sister Jean.

Straub attended Dartmouth College, where he earned both his Bachelor of Arts and his Master’s degrees in Business Administration. His schoolwork was interrupted by his service during WWII, when Straub served in the U.S. Army in the Quartermaster Corps. While working as a hutmaster at Mt. Moosilauke during his undergraduate years at Dartmouth, Straub met Patricia (Pat) Stroud; the two were married in 1943 in San Antonio, TX, where Straub was then stationed. The Straubs had six children, Jeff, Michael, Jane, Patty, Peggy, and Bill.

In 1947, the Straub family moved from New Hampshire to Springfield, Oregon, where Bob began work for Weyerhaeuser Timber Company. In the 1950s, he branched out into property development, constructing his first subdivision in Springfield’s Thurston neighborhood; Straub also became involved in timber farming and livestock ranching.

After being urged to run for office by Senator Richard (Dick) Neuberger, Straub successfully ran for the Lane County Commission in 1955. He served as a County Commissioner until 1959, when he took office as State Senator for Lane County, a position to which he was re-elected in 1962. While Senator, he also served for a term as the Chairman of the State Democratic Party.

Straub was elected Oregon State Treasurer in 1964, and served two widely respected terms. Most notably, Straub pushed for the establishment of the Oregon Investment Council, which utilized private sector investment firms to gain a better return for state employee retirees. Throughout his political career, Straub advocated for environmental issues, land use planning, fair taxation, and better mental health care, along with other issues. He was involved in the landmark Beach Bill, which clarified the extent of the Oregon Coast to be preserved as public domain; an influential proponent of the Willamette River Greenway Program, which envisioned a pollution-free river surrounded by public parks; and an ongoing advocate for youth work camps.

After two unsuccessful campaigns for the governorship, in 1966 and 1970, Straub was elected as Governor of Oregon in 1974. Though the early years of his administration suffered from staffing issues and power struggles with the state legislature, Straub’s eventual achievements as governor included tax reforms, support for affirmative action policies, new energy laws, and a streamlining of the Department of Human Resources.

Straub was defeated in his 1978 re-election bid by State Senator Victor Atiyeh. After a transition period as Executive-in-Residence at Willamette University’s Atkinson School of Business, Straub returned to private life. He remained active on the political scene, serving on the Oregon Investment Council (OIC) and on the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) Board, but his primary focus turned to his charity work (particularly with the non-profit he founded, Salem Self-Help Housing), his family, and his land.

In the late 1990s, Straub announced that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease; he died of complications from the disease November 27, 2002, at the age of 82.

From the guide to the Robert W. Straub Collection, 1955-1980, circa 1890-2012, (Western Oregon University Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Robert W. Straub Collection, 1955-1980, circa 1890-2012 Western Oregon University Archives
creatorOf Robert W. Straub speech, 1975 July 4 Oregon Historical Society Research Library
referencedIn Porter, Charles Orlando, 1919-. Charles Orlando Porter papers, 1954-1961. University of Oregon Libraries
referencedIn Meek, Lucille. Lucille Meek letters [manuscript], 1978. Oregon Historical Society Research Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Bybee family family
associatedWith Johnson, Ken, (Kenneth Everett), 1928-2011 person
associatedWith Lane County (Or.). Board of Commissioners corporateBody
associatedWith McCall, Tom, 1913-1983 person
associatedWith McLennan, Janet person
correspondedWith Meek, Lucille. person
associatedWith Morse, Wayne L., (Wayne Lyman), 1900-1974 person
associatedWith Neuberger, Richard L., (Richard Lewis), 1912-1960 person
associatedWith Oregon. Governor (1975-1979 : Straub) corporateBody
associatedWith Oregon Historical Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Oregon Investment Council corporateBody
associatedWith Oregon. Legislative Assembly corporateBody
associatedWith Oregon. Treasurer's Office corporateBody
associatedWith Porter, Charles Orlando, 1919- person
associatedWith Russell, Jean person
associatedWith Straub family family
associatedWith Straub, Jeff person
associatedWith Straub, Mike, (Michael) person
associatedWith Straub, Pat, (Lana Laine Patricia) person
associatedWith Stroud family family
associatedWith Thomas, Patty, (Patricia Straub) person
associatedWith Thomas, Peggy, (Margaret Straub) person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Oregon
Springfield (Or.)
Moosilauke, Mount (N.H.)
Salem (Or.)
Pacific Coast (Or.)
Oregon Coast Range (Or.)
Willamette River Greenway (Or.)
Subject
Ranching
Forestry and Forestry Products
Mentally ill--Care--Oregon
Forest management--Oregon
Environmental Activism
Oregon
Bybee House (Sauvie Island, Or.)--History
Agriculture
Parks and Playgrounds
Natural areas--Oregon
Political Campaigns
Greenways--Oregon
Oregon--Politics and government--1951-
Public Finance
Roads
Political activities and groups
Tree farms--Oregon
Mental health
Parks--Oregon
Logging
Taxation
Occupation
Activity

Person

Birth 1920-05-06

Death 2002-11-27

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