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Isaac Lee Patterson

Gov. Isaac Lee Patterson

  • January 10, 1927 - December 21, 1929
  • Republican
  • September 17, 1859
  • December 21, 1929
  • Oregon
  • Christian College at Monmouth
  • Married Mary E. Woodworth; two children
  • Died in Office


ISAAC LEE PATTERSON was born on a farm in Benton County, Oregon and attended Christian College at Monmouth for one year. He became part owner of a grocery and ultimately developed a wool and hide business in Portland. He also farmed and established a brokerage business. In addition to serving as a state Senator for four years, he was appointed by President William McKinley to the position of Collector of Customs for the Portland District in 1898 and reappointed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1902. Patterson lost the 1922 race for governor but came back to win the race of 1926 after spending the four interim years as chairman of the Republican Central Committee (1924) and chairman of Calvin Coolidge’s presidential campaign in Oregon. As governor, Patterson sought to streamline Oregon’s administrative agencies, advocated adoption of legislation to establish a single board for control of higher educational institutions, and succeeded in securing the transfer of control of the state penitentiary from the governor to the State Board of Control (Oregon’s chief purchasing agent). He was instrumental in the establishment of a state agricultural college and three state normal (teaching) schools. He also continued expansion of the highway system. Patterson died suddenly of pneumonia three years into his gubernatorial term.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 25. New York: James T. White & Company.

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