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Thursday, September 1, 2011

End of the line

Three prominent Portland men have left the planet in the same week: journalist Paul Pintarich, grocer John Zupan, and now historian Kimbark McColl. It's a small town, and many of us were one handshake or less away from all three of these fellows. None were perfect; all will be missed. Condolences to their families and friends.

Comments (10)


Farewell to a piece of our city's history.

Mr. McColl was very kind to me in my quest for history of the north end of P-town. I will miss him.

Dr. MacColl planned three books in his history of Portland, of which the last was to have been something like "Destruction and Renewal: Power and Politics in Portland, 1950-1980." He never wrote it. He did tell someone the reason: in his first book he wrote about the rascality of the grandfathers of his friends. In his second book he wrote about the scandals of his friends' fathers. But in the third book he would have to write about the -- let's say politely, the errors -- of his friends themselves, and he couldn't bring himself to do that.

John Zupan was a prominent Vancouverite. He was one of those former Oregonians who Blue Oregon types don't like to hear about - they left Oregon for tax reasons. He certainly left his mark, though, in Portland with a fine grocery chain.

Kimbark MacColl was one of the most honorable persons I have ever known. Discussions with him meandered into many interesting aspects of Portland life, and how its history affected our present day dilemmas.

One aspect he helped several of us with was when we formed a citizen activist group to enforce Willamette Greenway zoning regulations. He believed strongly in the uniqueness of the Willamette, and considered it the most important physical and spiritual aspect of Portland. He testified at several hearings before several bodies on our behalf that helped for a better environmental urban relationship with our river. But in the past decade he lamented how Portland had wandered from the Greenway Goals in Oregon's Planning Goals.

He always spoke his mind with respect and a chuckle, probably because he knew of many inside scoops on people and history of how things really evolved for our region. A great historian, but much more.

was a prominent Vancouverite

Is that what put him on Marine Drive? Sadder still.

The Oregonian described him as a Vancouver resident, and the Zupan HQ is in Vancouver, not Portland.

I knew Kim MaColl from 40+ years ago at Catlin Gable. He was a fine person, a good teacher and an understanding mentor. I know he suffered much in his last years. I hope he is at peace now.
I send my heart felt condolences to his family.

I was sorry to read about all of these passings. Three strong contributors.

I loved reading McColl's books. In Money, Merchants and Power, he writes about lawyers who would get decision makers in on big money real estate deals,and so buy their verdicts. A lawyer who tried to expose this was disbarred. I have discovered that the past was prologue to this kind of scam: it is so bad for whistle blowing lawyers and those who really represent poor clients that I believe there should be a tort of wrongful disbarrment.

It is not easy for anyone to blow against prevailing winds, but when people don't speak out about the abuses they know about, they are making life impossible for the victims of the abuse.

I am sorry to read of Kimbark McColl's passing. I enjoyed taking a class from him at Portland State in the early 1980's. And, he and his books were an inspiration for me to write my personal history of growing up in Portland and the beginnings and growth of my Dad's store, G.I. Joe's. (FYI,I will be putting it online again, after some editing.)

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