Southwest Connection: How Senator Hatfield redefined national security
Author: Bill Gallagher
Posted: March 20, 2020

View the original story on the Southwest Connection website

The long-serving politician anticipated the need for medical preparedness in case of a pandemic

It’s impossible to spend any time on Marquam Hill in Southwest Portland and not encounter the name Mark O. Hatfield. As Oregon's longest serving United States senator (1967–97), Hatfield steered more than $300 million in federal funding to Oregon Health & Science University's various medical centers, including the $131 million to build the Veteran's Administration Hospital on the hill.

Historian Christopher Foss writes about Hatfield's work on behalf of OHSU in his book "Facing the World: Defense Spending and International Trade in the Pacific Northwest Since World War Two." (Oregon State University Press)

Foss, who lives in Southeast Portland, documents how as a powerful Republican senator redirected defense spending from conventional warfare "toward a new national security — education and health." According to a former top aide, Hatfield "saw OHSU as his legacy."

Hatfield is just one of the elected leaders from the Pacific Northwest Foss covers in his book. But his was a huge role in attracting "a disproportionate number of federal dollars to a small, relatively unpopulated region."

Foss answered a series of questions about how Hatfield did it.

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