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Neil Goldschmidt, Portland Mayor Who Abused Teenager, Dies at 83

U.S.Neil Goldschmidt, Portland Mayor Who Abused Teenager, Dies at 83

Neil Goldschmidt, a transformative figure in Oregon politics who as mayor of Portland in the 1970s reshaped the city into a vibrant, progressive, pedestrian-friendly urban area — a period when he was sexually abusing a teenage girl, he later admitted — died on Wednesday at his home in Portland. He was 83.

A family member said the cause was congestive heart failure.

As mayor of Portland, and then as governor of Oregon from 1987 to 1991, Mr. Goldschmidt earned a reputation as a visionary architect of urban renewal. His ideas for making cities more walkable and less dependent on cars became templates for municipal officials across the country.

In Portland, he fought off federal plans for a highway that would have cut straight through the city, diverting funding for the project to the creation of downtown parks and a light-rail transit system. He also poured money into restoring blighted neighborhoods and backed mixed-use developments combining housing, retail and offices.

“He understood that if you attract new families into older neighborhoods, you provide a labor force and customers for downtown businesses,” Carl Abbott, a historian at Portland State University, said in an interview. “And if downtown businesses are strong and downtown is interesting and exciting, then that makes people want to live there.”

In 1979, after Mr. Goldschmidt served two terms as mayor, President Jimmy Carter appointed him transportation secretary. After Mr. Carter left office in 1981, Mr. Goldschmidt joined Nike, one of Oregon’s most prominent companies, as a senior executive. He won election as the state’s 33rd governor in 1986.


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