Ernie Bonner

I wrote a post that got a few comments. In this post I would like to give a little more info about Ernie Bonner, a guy whose website I highlighted.

And yes, this post is about Portland Planning. Man, I gotta get off this subject before it drives me up the wall.

The following is an excerpt from a post at kazablog.


Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the untimely passing of Ernie Bonner, former city of Portland planner extraordinaire.

Most people will recall Ernie for his work in revitalizing Portland in the decade between 1973 (when he arrived here from Cleveland) and 1983, and rightfully so. For it was Bonner, with the unwaivering support of former (now disgraced) mayor Neil Goldschmidt, who gave Portland much of the character that is has today. Whether Pioneer Square, the Park blocks, waterfront or light rail…Bonner was an integral part of it all.

That Bonner legacy lives on at one of his websites: Planning in Portland but I got to know a different Ernie Bonner.

Although I’d heard of Ernie and even briefly met him once in the early ’80s, I didn’t really talk to him until a few months before his death. A mutual friend from Bonner’s Goldschmidt days had suggested I get in touch with Ernie as someone who might be open to an insurgent campaign. After all, Ernie himself had at one time decided to run as an “outsider” for Metro councilor in the mid-1980s.

We met in early January 2004 on a particularly icy day, as I barely negotiated the path from the street to his house in NE Portland. I knew that Ernie had been battling cancer, but he seemed both in good spirits and reasonable health when we got together. He was enthusiastic, but also realistic. He told me he was working on the Nick Fish campaign for city council, and also supporting Tom Potter…he really didn’t think he could devote much time to my campaign, but said he would “make some calls”.

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