Neil Goldschmidt

Gov. Neil Goldschmidt


January 12, 1987 - January 14, 1991

June 16, 1940


University of Oregon; University of California Boalt School of Law

Birth State

National Office(s) Served:
Cabinet secretary

Married (Diana); two children


NEIL GOLDSCHMIDT was born in Eugene, Oregon and graduated from the University of Oregon, where he was student body President. He earned a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley’s Boalt School of Law in 1967 and was a legal aid attorney from 1967 until his election to the Portland City Council in 1970. He became the nation’s youngest mayor when he was elected Portland’s chief executive in 1972. His tenure as Mayor led to the city’s revitalization, including new businesses, expansion of existing businesses, establishment of a healthy downtown core, transit investments, and protection of inner-city neighborhoods. He was named Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation in July 1979 in the administration of President Jimmy Carter, becoming known for his initiatives to revive the lagging American automobile industry. Goldschmidt returned to Oregon in 1981 and served as Vice President of International Marketing for NIKE Inc., later becoming President of NIKE Canada. Becoming governor in 1987, he focused on developing an “Oregon Comeback” initiative to revitalize the state’s economy, promote prison construction, reform school funding, and develop a children’s agenda that emphasized community planning and business participation. After leaving office, Goldschmidt started a law and consulting firm in Portland. He later resigned from the state Bar amid allegations of impropriety while serving as Mayor of Portland.