The Kafoury Legacy: Valedictory Address

November 20, 1998 12:00pm
Gretchen Kafoury

While the peace movement raged and the strains of Hendrix and incense wafted through the open air, Gretchen made her way to the front lines of social justice. Thus marked the birth of a political activist determined to make the world a better place for all to live. From that time on, Gretchen has earned a record of service that we now know as The Kafoury Legacy.

No stranger to adversity, Gretchen's tireless crusade began in the sultry climes of Iran where she volunteered for the Peace Corps. But even the allure of international diplomacy could not keep our heroine from the destiny that was to be hers in Oregon. Here she took up the cause of equal rights and defended the poor by helping to found Oregon NOW and the Oregon Women's Political Caucus. Nothing was safe from Gretchen's tireless energy during those tumultuous days of political and social change. Even the sacred walls of one of Portland's last strongholds of male exclusivity, the City Club of Portland, fell to Gretchen and her partners in solidarity when they protested the Club, forcing them to admit women as members.

More difficult battles were soon to come as the Kafoury Legacy and its grass-root principles ascended the ladder of public policy, leading Gretchen to the State Legislature, the Multnomah County Commission, and finally, the Portland City Commission. For over twenty-five years she has fought for sound public policy with a passionate concern for the well-being of every citizen she represents. This week, City Club will bid farewell to a fine public servant as Gretchen makes her way back to the private sector assured as we are, that the Kafoury Legacy lives on.

Multnomah Athletic Club, Grand Ballroom.
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Tags and Keywords

  • civic engagement
  • diversity
  • human rights
  • politics