PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Vera Katz, a former three-term Portland mayor and first female speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives, has died. She was 84.
In a statement, her family said she died Monday but did not give a cause of death.
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon is remembering her as an "indomitable woman" critical to Oregon's legacy as a liberal leader.
Katz was a one-time stay-at-home mom who went on to serve a combined 30 years in the Oregon Legislature and Portland city government.
She was espoused progressive causes such as gender equality and gay rights long before they were mainstream and helped shape modern-day Portland.
Katz escaped Nazi Germany with her family as a child by hiking over the Pyrenees.
She struggled in recent years with complications from cancer.
Oregon House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) issued this statement on the passing on former Speaker of the House and Mayor of Portland Vera Katz:
“Holly and I were deeply saddened to learn today of the passing of Vera Katz, former Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives and Mayor of Portland. We were so fortunate to have the opportunity to have had a relationship with Vera, both personally and professionally. She was a tireless advocate for those who needed help, and we will never forget her kindness and sense of humor, which she kept in all situations. Oregon will miss Vera Katz dearly.”
– Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek issued the following statement on the passing of former Oregon House Speaker and Portland Mayor Vera Katz:
“I am deeply saddened at the passing of Vera Katz. Her remarkable, trail-blazing legacy, and nearly 40 years of service, are an inspiration to so many of us who followed in her footsteps.
“She was among a generation of women who defied the circumstances of the time and led a revolution that allowed many other women, including me, to serve. As both a legislator and the first female Speaker of the Oregon House, she showed that women could be strong and effective leaders. It is not lost on me that my three sessions as Speaker are in no small part because of her.
“I will forever be grateful for Vera Katz. Portland and Oregon are better places because of her.”