With an editorial this morning, The Oregonian joined a chorus for a suitable statue to remember Oregon Governor Tom McCall.

McCall’s work and Capitol painting by Henk Pander were written about on this blog on June 5.

It’s a nice idea, McCall is a deserving, and for Oregon, a larger-than-life character. The proposed statue by Troutdale sculptor Rip Caswell, well regarded for large local animals, such as eagles and elk, but less so for human subjects.

I hope art advocates such as McCall’s widow Audrey, Norma Paulus and Jack McGowan have better luck than the last memorial the Oregonian editors championed.

In 2005 and 2006 Doug Bates and Rick Attig wrote a handful of sentimental and scornful opinions about the cremated remains of over 3000 patient at the Oregon State Hospital.

The remains symbolize the ruin Oregon’s mental health system has incurred – largely since the Board of Control, developed by Tom McCall, ceased to provide on-sight oversight of the hospital.

Few remember McCall visited the hospital monthly, and talked with patients, staff and family members in a regularly scheduled public meeting. No other Oregon governor has taken personal interest in the hospital – and the lack of an advocate has ruined the institution.

Attig and Bates insisted the remains should be vacated from the funky closet in an abandoned building and a respectful memorial should be built. Though community members offered to PAY for this memorial – State Senator Peter Courtney nixed the generous offer and used the remains as leverage to source over $300 million for a new state hospital.

And though Bates and Attig won a 2006 Pulitzer for their effort, another year has passed with no memorial.

Remembering Tom McCall – Oregonian
Sculpture to honor governor’s legacy – Statesman Journal
Oregon State Hospital Patient Memorial – more than you want to know
Ashes Saved from ‘Cuckoo’s Nest’ Hospital – ABC News