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Ben Westlund Papers, 1976-2010

By Finding aid prepared by Elizabeth Nielsen and Karl McCreary.

Collection Overview

Title: Ben Westlund Papers, 1976-2010

Predominant Dates: 1996-2009

ID: MSS Westlund

Primary Creator: Westlund, Ben (1949-2010)

Extent: 15.0 cubic feet. More info below.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Ben Westlund Papers document Westlund's political career in Oregon. Westlund served as a State Legislator and State Senator from central Oregon from 1997 until his election as State Treasurer in 2008, a position he held until his death in 2010. Westlund advocated for higher education in central Oregon and was instrumental in the establishment of the Oregon State University Cascades Campus in Bend.

Scope and Content Notes

The Ben Westlund Papers document Westlund's political career in Oregon as State Legislator and State Senator from central Oregon and as State Treasurer. The Papers includes a variety of materials including appointment calendars, artifacts, CDs, certificates, correspondence, DVDs, floppy disks, flyers, newspaper clippings, notes, phone message books, photographs, plaques, scrapbooks, speeches, and videotapes. The materials reflect Westlund's legislative activities, his 2006 campaign for Oregon Governor, his mid-career switch from the Republican to Democratic Party, and his brief tenure as State Treasurer of Oregon. Legislative issues addressed in the Papers include healthcare reform, civil unions for same-sex couples, state foreclosure laws, the creation of the Oregon Cultural Trust, and protection and preservation of the Metolius River.

The photographs (140 prints and 39 negatives) include portrait photographs of Westlund and depict parties given in Westlund's honor, outreach events at the State Capitol, Westlund in legislative session, and Westlund visiting the OSU Cascades campus in Bend. Eleven CDs include digital images. The video recordings include 35 VHS videotapes, 54 DVDs, 82 mini-DV digital videotapes, and 6 Betacam videotapes. The videos depict campaign advertisements for television as well as recordings of public speeches by Westlund, legislative sessions, and Westlund appearing as a guest on the Community Cook television program. Sound recordings of radio advertisements and interviews are available on 8 CDs. The artifacts include campaign memorabilia, buttons, decals, pens, a banner, pennants, and wall decorations.

The collection includes some materials that pre-date Westlund's political career -- notes, an appointment calendar, and a journal.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Ben Westlund served in the Oregon Legislative Assembly from 1997 to 2008, when he was elected State Treasurer. Westlund's political career began in 1996 with his election as a Republican to the Oregon House of Representatives from the 53rd District in central Oregon. He held this position until 2003, when he was appointed to the Oregon Senate to complete Bev Clarno's term; he was elected to that seat, for the 27th Senate District, in 2004. In early 2006, Westlund declared his candidacy for Oregon Governor as an independent; he subsequently withdrew from the Governor's race in August 2006. Westlund continued to serve in the Senate, as a Democrat, until he was elected as State Treasurer in 2008. His term as State Treasurer began in January 2009 and he served as Treasurer until his death in 2010. Westlund's political legacies include creation of the Oregon Cultural Trust, protection of the Metolius River, and healthcare reform. Westlund was an advocate for higher education in central Oregon and was instrumental in the establishment of the OSU Cascades Campus in Bend.

Ben was born Bernard John Westlund II in Long Beach, California on September 3, 1949. He grew up in Apple Valley, California, and moved with his family to Lake Oswego, Oregon, during his teen years. Westlund graduated from Whitman College and became an entrepreneur and businessman in central Oregon. He married Libby Bishop in 1987. Westlund died March 7, 2010.

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 179 photographs, 118 videotapes, 54 DVDs, 18 CDs, and 8 floppy disks; 16 boxes, including 1 oversize box

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: Copyright, reproduction, and use restrictions may apply to materials for which the Westlund Family has retained copyright; these include photographs, video, audio as well as reproduction of any document or substantial portion of a document. Copyright, reproduction, and use restrictions may also apply to video recordings of television programs or news stories.

Acquisition Note: The Ben Westlund Papers were donated to the Special Collections & Archives Research Center by the Westlund Family through Westlund's former chief of staff, Stacey Dycus, in 2012.

Related Materials: The Special Collections and Archives Research Center's holdings also include the Tony Van Vliet Papers (MSS VanVliet); Van Vliet served 10 terms in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1975 to 1995. The William M. Lunch Papers (MSS Lunch) includes Lunch's commentaries on the Oregon legislature and Oregon politics generally as a political analyst for Oregon Public Broadcasting. The Liz VanLeeuwen Spotted Owl Collection (MSS VanLeeuwen) consists of materials pertaining to the listing of the Northern Spotted Owl as a protected endangered species in Oregon; VanLeeuwen served as State Representative in the Oregon Legislature from 1981 to 1999. Materials pertaining to the OSU Cascades Campus are available in the President's Office Records (RG 013).

Preferred Citation: Ben Westlund Papers (MSS Westlund), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Processing Information: This collection is not fully processed; this guide is preliminary. Per a review of the Papers by the State Archivist in March 2013, 8 folders of materials pertaining to Westlund's tenure as State Treasurer were de-accessioned and transferred to the State Archives Division of the Oregon Secretary of State's Office in July 2013. Photocopies of these materials were made to replace the originals in the Westlund Papers held by the Special Collections & Archives Research Center. These folders are indicated in the preliminary container list.

Other URL: A preliminary container list was created for this collection on or before November 14, 2014.


Westlund, Ben (1949-2010)

People, Places, and Topics

Natural Resources
Oregon--Politics and government.
Oregon. Legislative Assembly. House of Representatives
Oregon. Legislative Assembly. Senate
Oregon. Treasurer's Office
Oregon Multicultural Archives
Oregon State University-Cascades.
Political campaigns--Oregon.
University History
Westlund, Ben, 1949-2010

Forms of Material

Born digital.
Compact discs.
Film negatives.
Floppy disks.
Photographic prints.
Video recordings (physical artifacts)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.