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Retired Portland City Commissioner Ormond R. Bean, 89, a 31-year servant in city, state and federal governments, died early Friday morning [February 14, 1975] in the Parkview Nursing Home. Death was due to natural causes, said his son, Ormond Bean, Jr.
First elected to the Portland City Council in 1932, the elder Bean served from 1933 until 1939 when he was appointed Oregon Public Utility Commissioner. From 1943 until 1946, Mr. Bean was a transportation director in America’s World War II effort, serving in Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Middle East.
Returning to Portland, he was elected once more to the City Council, serving from 1949 until his retirement in 1967. A former Portland City Hall employee, when asked why she considered Ormond R. Bean as her favorite city commissioner, said it was because “he was a man who never lost his temper nor raised his voice.” The description aptly summed up Bean who also had a long-standing reputation for his honest and integrity. He was often referred to as “the financial watchdog of City Hall.”
Bean, who died early Friday at the age of 89, was once described as “the best public servant Portland ever had,” by Mark Grayson, a longtime colleague on the council. Grayson, who retired in 1970, served as Bean’s administrative assistant before running for the commission. “Ormond was a great gentleman and a fine man of the people,” said former Portland Mayor Terry Schrunk who served with Bean on the council some 15 years. Schrunk called Bean a “tower of strength on the council and a man who was loved and admired by all the people of Oregon.” “He will be in this state’s history books forever,” added Shrunk.
Funeral will be at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday in J. P. Finley & Son Mortuary followed by burial in Riverview Cemetery.
Bean was born one of five sons of then Lane County Circuit Judge and Mrs. Robert S. Bean on Oct. 21, 1886 in Eugene. His maternal grandfather was famed Oregon geologist Dr. Thomas Condon of the University of Oregon. When Bean was five, his father was appointed to the Oregon Supreme Court, serving from 1890 to 1909. The elder Bean was then appointed to the federal district bench in Portland, where he remained until his death in 1931.
Commissioner Bean was educated in Salem and Eugene and graduated from the University of Oregon in 1909 with a civil engineering degree. He studied architecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and came to Portland in 1910 as a practicing architect. Mr. Bean received his initial exposure to city government in 1918-1919 when he aided in a housing survey for Portland and preparation of a city zoning code.
In 1925, he was elected president of the Oregon Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and in 1927 was named chairman of the Portland City Club’s planning section. Two years later, he was appointed to a club committee which helped plan a state building code.
Mr. Bean was elected to the City Council for the first time in 1932, serving as Commissioner of Public Works until June, 1939. He left to accept the position as Oregon Public Utility Commissioner. In 1943, Mr. Bean was appointed wartime transportation director of the U.S. Office of Defense Transportation in Hawaii, and in the following year was given the corresponding post in Puerto Rico.
In December 1944, he became director of Transport for the U.S. Middle East Supply Center of the U.S. State Department, covering 16 nations. He was based in Cairo, Egypt, for the assignment. Returning to Portland after the war, Mr. Bean was elected once again to the City Council in 1948, and served as Commissioner of Finance while holding office through 1966 when he declined to run for another term. During his long council tenure, Bean came to be regarded as one of Oregon’s leading experts in municipal finance.
After his political retirement, he was named a consultant to the council, a post he held for a year before retiring completely from government. He also served from 1955 to 1957 as chairman of the Legislative Interim Committee on Local Government, and as president of the League of Oregon Cities in 1934-35. In 1968, the University of Oregon presented him with its Award for Distinguished Service.
Mr. Bean’s four brothers preceded him in death, as did his wife, Eva, who died two years ago. Survivors include his son, Ormond Bean Jr., Lake Oswego; a daughter, Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Lewis, Lake Oswego; three grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Oregonian, February 15, 1975
Contributed by: Shelli Steedman