PAUL LINTON PATTERSON was born in Kent, Ohio. After serving in the Army during World War I, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (1923) and then a law degree (1926) from the University of Oregon. He went on to establish a law practice that he maintained until 1952. He was Deputy District Attorney for Washington County from 1926 until 1933 and also served as Hillsboro City Attorney for many years. While local chairman of the Republican Party, he agreed to pursue a seat in the state Senate in 1944 when he could find no other candidate. He won the seat, serving as a state Senator from 1945 until 1952, when as President of the Senate, he succeeded to the governorship upon the resignation of Douglas McKay, who had accepted the position of Secretary of the Interior in the new Eisenhower administration. Like his predecessor, Patterson relied on federal funds rather than dipping into state reserves to support a number of Oregon’s programs. He helped establish a Water Resources Board in 1955 to monitor and regulate development and use of the state’s water. He also supported the national highway program and a partnership approach with the federal government with regard to development of hydroelectric projects. Just two days after announcing that he would challenge Democrat incumbent Wayne Morse for his U.S. Senate seat, Patterson collapsed and died of a heart attack.
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.43. New York: James T. White & Company.
Oregon State Archives