Top 17 Most Influential People In Oregon | Social Media Handles 2022

People can live a life of influence, impacting everyone and everything around them. For instance, in Oregon, some men and women are the most Influential people in Oregon because of their notable impact.

They have impacted the status quo in their field, community and beyond.
Some of these people are historical figures from Oregon who may be dead, but their impact and influence are still prominent.

No wonder Beatrix Potter said, “I hold that a strongly marked personality can influence descendants for generations”.

However, the names on this article are some of the most influential people in Oregon. This article aims to keep you abreast with the most famous people in Oregon and why it is so.

You can also read: Top 20 Most Influential People in Vermont | Social Media Handles 2022

17 Most Influential People In Oregon

#1. John Reed

source: counterfire

John Reed was born in his maternal parents home on October 1887 in Portland, Oregon. As a child, John Reed was always sick, he was regularly overseen by nurses and servants.

While in college at Havard, Reed wrote music and lyrics for theoretical shows. He was also made Ivy Orator and poet in his senior year.

John Reed was an American journalist, poet and communist activist, He was popular for his war correspondent during the Mexican Revolution and World I.

Reed was an avid traveler who wrote as he travelled. He is populary recognized for his coverage of the October Revolution in Petrograd, Russia, which he wrote explored in his 1919 book; “Ten Days That Shook the World”.

Reed supported the Soviet takeover of Russia, even briefly taking up arms to join the Red Guards in 1918. He hoped for a similar Communist revolution in the United States, and co-founded the short-lived Communist Labor Party of America in 1919

Wikipedia Link

#2. Mel Blanc

Mel Blanc
Source: Britannica

In 1908, Mel Blanc was Born in San Francisco. He was the voice behind cartoons like Bugs Bunny, Foghorn Leghorn Daffy Duck, and many more cartoon characters.

He was a graduate of Portland’s Lincoln High School. Blanc started his performing career in Oregon, starring on the radio for KGW and KEX.

However, Blanc went to Hollywood, where he became an important figure in creating and expanding the Warner Bros. cartoon empire. Blanc had a passion for his job and teamwork.

According to Blanc, The secret behind the success of Looney Tunes is that his colleagues and himself tried to amuse one another.

They didn’t make pictures for children, didn’t make pictures for adults; they made them for themselves.”
Through exploits in his lifetime, he earned the place of a historical figure in Oregon.

#3. William Stafford

Source: Wikipedia

William Stafford was a poet and pacifist; he was appointed the twentieth consultant in poetry to the library of congress in 1970.

During the Great Depression, Willian Stanford worked in oil mills. When he graduated from college, he began a teaching career.

Willam Stanford was a pacifist, a conscientious objector during World War II, and worked in Civilian Public Service camps.

He started going to Lewis & Clark College and began writing poetry earnestly. Stanford won the National Book Award for poetry in 1963 for “Traveling Through the Dark.”

In addition, In 1970, Stafford became a consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress and was named Oregon’s poet laureate.

During his 45 years in Oregon, Stafford was a lovable teacher and prolific writer. Stratford died in 1993 at 79.

Wikipedia link

#4. Jane Powell


Jane Powell is one of the most influential people in Oregon. She was born in 1929 in Oregon, Portland, USA.

Powell’s passion for singing and dancing started at a very early age; Powell began attending dance lessons at two years old.

Before her big screen hit in the 1940’s/50’s, she sang on the radio and in theatres. Powell went ahead to have an outstanding and successful career in movie musicals.

Powell shook the Hollywood film industry with a beautiful soprano voice and girl-next-door image. She starred in movies like; Royal Wedding (1951) and Seven Birds for Seven Brothers (1954).

Around the late 1950s, Powell stopped partaking in musical films because she had outgrown her innocent girl-next-door image.

However, Powell had partaken in stage plays such as the sound of music and My fair lady. In the 1980s, she appeared on screen in supporting guest roles.

Jane Powell’s beautiful career in the Hollywood film industry makes her one of the most influential and famous people in Oregon.

Her beautiful songs and acts serve as an inspiration to younger and aspiring actors.

Wikipedia Link

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#5. Gary Snyder

Source: Reed College

Gary Synder, often tagged as an American man of letters, is a poet, essayist, professor emeritus of English and environmental activist.

Although Synder was born in San Francisco and raised in Seattle, he moved to Oregon in 1942 with his mother and sister after his parents divorced.

Synder got his college education from Reed college; he went ahead to win the 1974 Pulitizer Prize for Turtle Island. He is a notable poet who has sold over 100,000 copies of his work.

Thirty-eight years after getting the Pulitizer Prize for Turtle land, he received another award, the Wallace Stevens Award for lifetime achievement.

Gary Synder is a grounded Environmental activist, Beat legend, Zen Buddhism devotee and inspiration for some people. Gary Synder believes he lives in the present and gets things done in the present.

His life achievements so far make him one of the most famous people from Portland, Oregon.

Wikipedia Link

#6. Julia Ruuttila

source: KSPS PBS Video

Another person on the list of people in Oregon is Julia Ruuttila. Ruuttila was born in Eugene, Oregon, in 1907.

Although she was born into poverty and experienced domestic beauty, Ruuttila overcame to become one of Oregon’s most respected labour activists.

She diligently fought on the labour movement’s front lines from the Great Depression until the 1980s. Ruuttila stood against the Vietnam War and sought a nuclear freeze.

Also, she was a writer. Ruuttila wrote exceptional poetry and fiction. However, she made tremendous impact with radical journalism.

Ruuttila spent a large part of her life writing for labour publications. She was a strong activist whose literary work inspired her personal life and preached activism.

Her impactful life makes her one of the most remarkable historical figures from Oregon who have left their footprints over time.

Wikipedia Link

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#7. Vera Katz

Source: JTA

Vera Katz is one of the most famous people from Portland, Oregon. She was an American Democratic Politician.

Katz was the first female to serve as the Oregon House of Representatives Speaker. She went ahead to become the 49th mayor of Portland.

While serving, she carried out incredible policies making her one of the most courageous and visionary mayors.

Wikipedia Link

#8. Luis Palau

Source: Wikipedia

Luis Palau was an international Christain evangelist who impacted the community of Oregon and beyond by preaching the Gospel.

Although Palau was born in Argentina, he relocated to Portland in his mid-twenties to pursue a graduate program in bible studies at Multnomah Bible College.

During his lifetime, an estimate states he shared the message of the Gospel with over 25 million people in 70 nations.

At the height of his ministry, in the 1970s-90s, many Christians viewed him as the natural heir to Billy Graham.

In 1999, a report in Portland weekly newspaper stated that Palau had assembled an 80,000-member audience in what was the nation’s least-churched major city.”

Aside been a preacher and evangelist, Palau was also a writer, philanthropist and social impact activist.

Palau’s ministry employs over 60 people in its headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon and another 25 worldwide.

Palau’s impact in Oregon and beyond makes him one of the most famous people from Portland, Oregon.

Wikipedia Link

#9. Brian Druker

Brian Druker
Source: OHSU News

Brian J. Druker is one of the most famous people from Portland, Oregon. He is a physician-scientist at Oregon Health and science university in Portland, Oregon.

Druker is also a professor of medicine who has won several awards due to his immense contributions to cancer research.

Druker is regarded as one of the most influential people in Oregon for his work in developing imatinib and Gleevec cancer treatment.

Social Media HandleLinks
Brian Druker’s Social Media Handle

Wikipedia Link

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#10. Betty Gram Swing

Betty Gram Swing
Source: Boston Women’s Heritage Trail

Betty Gram is one of the most famous people from Oregon who impacted her society.
She participated in remarkable events for the women’s rights movement in the early to mid-twentieth century.

She faced jail terms and even went on hunger strikes to fight for gender equality and women’s right to vote.

However, in June 1919, Betty Grams and other women’s proper activist fight yielded a result. It became accepted by the law for women to vote.

Gram also participated in international Gender equality movements, making her one of the most historical figures from Oregon.

Wikipedia Link

#11. Beverly Cleary

Source: librarian to librarian

Beverley Cleary is an award-winning author and librarian. She wrote children’s and young adults’ fictional books.

Beverley Cleary has sold many children and young adult books worldwide.

In addition to her incredible impact on Oregon society and beyond, Cleary has been named one of the first children’s literature authors to discover emotional realism.

Beverley Cleary has received several awards for her immense contributions to American literature.

As one of the most impactful, influential and historical figures from Oregon, a public school bears her name.

Wikipedia Link

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#12. Abigail Scott Duniway

Abigail Scott Duniway
Source: Britannica

Abigail Scott Duniway was a women’s suffrage activist, writer, journalist, etc. Duniway was one of the pioneers for voting rights for women.

Although she was born close to Groveland, Illinois, she emigrated to Oregon with her family in 1852.

During the Emigration journey, Duniway lost her mother and sibling.

In 1871, Duniway started the New Northwest, a weekly newspaper pursuing women’s rights.

In 1872 Duniway was called to talk to Oregon’s legislature to move the bill for women’s suffrage.

Her movement and persistence became a success story in 1912 when Oregon became the seventh state in the U.S. to pass a women’s suffrage amendment. She was the first woman to register to vote in Multnomah County.

Her efforts and that of other women’s rights activists will continue to be celebrated, making her one of the most celebrated historical figures from Oregon.

Wikipedia Link

#13. Henry Pittock

Henry James Pittock
Source: Find a grave memorial

Henry Pittock was an English-born American pioneer, newspaper editor, publisher and paper magnate. In 1853, Pittock arrived in Oregon barefoot and without a cent.

Pittock was actively involved in republican politics and civic affairs.

In 1866, Pittock became a partner in the first paper mill in the Northwest, at Oregon City, and later a second mill there and another at Camas, Washington.

Pittock formed the Columbia River Paper Co. with Joseph K. Gill in 1884.

From a man who arrived in Oregon barefooted and had no cent, Pittock became a serial venture capitalist and one of Oregon’s most influential people.

In 1909 he started the construction of a 22-room Renaissance revival mansion on forty-six acres of woodland. Up-till-date, the Pittock Mansion stands and is now a public-owned landmark.

In addition to his success story, Pittock was among the first inducted persons into the Oregon Newspaper Hall of Fame.

Pittock is one of the most honoured historical figures from Oregon because of his keenness for growth and contribution to the development of the community.

Wikipedia Link

#14. David Fincher

David Fincher
Source: KCRW

David Fincher was born in 1962 and is an American film and music video director with several outstanding works.

Fincher is an award-winning film director who makes films that are primarily psychological thrillers and biographical dramas.

During his teenage, Fincher moved to Ashland, Oregon, for his High school education.

Fincher started filming when he was seven and worked on several video and film sets as a teenager.

Fincher’s films are known for excellence and skill.

Fincher has become a filmmaking guru who inspires people worldwide.

His impact makes him one of the most influential people in Oregon. However, he continues to do more that is always outstanding.

Social Media HandleLinks

Wikipedia Link

#15. Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding
Source: Smithsonian Magazine

Esperanza Spalding is a songwriter, singer, composer and bassist. She has won several awards, including five grammy awards, a Boston Music award, etc.

Spalding is a native of Portland, Oregon. Her feats in the music industry have made her one of the most influential and famous people from Portland, Oregon.

She started playing professional music from a very young age; she was both self-taught and trained in playing guitar and bass.

Her skill earned her academic scholarships to Portland State University and the Berklee College of Music; she studied music in both schools.

In addition to her feats, Spalding worked as an instructor at the Berklee College of Music at age 20. In 2017, Spalding got an appointment as a professor of the Practice of Music at Harvard University.

In 2018, Spalding also received an honorary doctorate of music from her college, Berklee College of Music. She also served as a commencement speaker at the ceremony.

Social Media HandleLinks

Wikipedia link

#16. James Beard

James Beard
Source: Portland Monthly

James Beard was an American chef, author, teacher, and T.V. personality who pioneered a television cooking exhibition and taught at the James Beard cooking school in New york city and seaside, Oregon and lectured widely.

Beard taught and trained generations of professional chefs and food lovers.

He has over twenty book publications to this name, honouring his memory with his foundation’s annual James Beard Awards.

However, Beard attempted to break into the Hollywood film industry but failed. Beard started cooking full-time; he formed a catering company with a friend.

Beard was passionate about teaching and making good food, honestly prepared with fresh, wholesome, American ingredients, for a country just realizing its culinary heritage.

According to Child, Beard gradually became not only the leading culinary figure in the country but ‘The Dean of American Cuisine.

Over the years, Beard’s value has outlived him through the James Beard Foundation, which awards great chefs and also gives scholarships to chefs.

Beard’s impact makes him one of the most influential people from Oregon.

Wikipedia Link

#17. Barbara Roberts

Barbara Roberts
Source: Willamette Week

Barbara Roberts is an American politician from the state of Oregon.

She was the 34th governor of Oregon from 1991 to 1995. Roberts was the first female to become a governor in Oregon.

Roberts was also the first woman to serve as a majority leader in the Oregon house of representatives.

In addition to her political feats, Roberts served as secretary of state.

Roberts was also an advocate for special-needs children after her son was diagnosed with severely emotionally disturbed, which was autism.

In 1971, she successfully lobbied the Oregon State Legislature to require public schools to guarantee educational rights to these children.
Barbara lived a life of impact, making her one of the most influential people from Oregon.

Wikipedia Link

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These most influential people in Oregon have struck an impact in the sands of time.
Oregonians will remember these historical figures because of their lifetime centred on making a change in their different fields.


How did Oregon became a state?

In Oregon Country in 1843, an autonomous government was formed by the U.S. government.
1848 marked the creation of the Oregon Territory. However, In 1859, Oregon became the 33rd state in the U.S.

What Oregon is famous for?

Oregon is known for beautiful natural endowments that attract tourists’ visitation. Portland, the state’s largest city, has international recognition for drawing tourists with an offbeat and welcoming culture. The city’s sightseeing gems range from rose gardens to deep lakes, most large mushrooms, bicyclists, art museums etc.

Who Are Some Important People In Oregon

Bill Bowerman
john Reed
Henry Pittock
Abigail Scott Duniway
Phil Knight


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