Mark Hatfield was an Oregon statesman who requires no statue to be erected in his honor. That's because his legacy can already be found in so many physical locations around this state - including Washington County.
Hatfield's death on Sunday has been followed by a cascade of appropriate tributes for the former governor and longtime U.S. senator. He is remembered for being the conscience of Oregon, and indeed, at times, the nation.
He also is revered for the important buildings and structures that bear his imprint - and for the buildings that didn't arise because he had the foresight to secure federal protection for a place so stunning as the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
People praise Hatfield for his principles and his willingness to stand by his convictions, but those traits would not have brought him such high esteem if not for his effectiveness as a senator.
Hatfield accomplished an unprecedented amount for his state because he exemplified rare leadership qualities. And though Hatfield certainly had his imperfections, politicians of today would do well to emulate the characteristics that led him to success, including these:
It is true, as many have already stated, that Hatfield was a towering figure of a different era - a time when votes of conscience were still allowed and when adherence to the party line was not a requirement for being elected to office.
However, the admirable qualities that Hatfield demonstrated should not be seen as artifacts of a bygone day. They, instead, should be viewed as the basic elements of true leadership - something that is even rarer today than it was in Hatfield's time.