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Raising her voice

Virginia Campbell has been a League of Women Voters member for 64 years

Virginia Campbell was introduced to the League of Women Voters of Clackamas County shortly after she and her husband moved to Lake Oswego in 1951. Today, at age 104, she's still helping the organization "safeguard our democracy."

Photo Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Virginia Campbell is 104 years old. She has been a member of the League of Women Voters for 64 years.

“I joined not so much because of my interest in the role of woman," she says. "I’ve always been a forthright person, although I was not a suffragette. I just think women should be encouraged to raise their voices."

Campbell's declining eyesight will prevent her from attending the league’s 75th anniversary celebration on Saturday at Mary’s Woods, but longtime members of the group still describe her as "a rock" and "the go-to person" for anything related to Lake Oswego.

Norma Jean Germond, a past president of the League of Women Voters of Oregon, describes Campbell as ethical and kind, with a deep sense of integrity. Sonja Kollias, current co-president of the Clackamas County league, agrees.

“It is because of league leaders like Virginia Campbell that members continue to work together, using their energy and passion, to safeguard our democracy,” Kollias says.

Campbell has a rich history of involvement in local and regional government. She is a former First Lady of Lake Oswego (her late husband, C. Herald Campbell, served as mayor from 1979-85), a founding member of Friends of the Library and a longtime patron of the city's arts organizations. She served as president of the Oswego League of Women Voters in 1956-1957.

“Herald and I moved here in 1951, and shortly afterward I was introduced to the league,” Campbell says. “I was a unit leader in the 1950s and later was president. I was also on the state board. I’m still a member, although I can’t take part anymore. My eyesight is so bad from glaucoma."

Campbell says "urban design and building have always been important to me,” and that the highlight of her career was being a member of the league’s study of metropolitan government. The women involved with the project were convinced that change was crucial for the Portland metro area, and they wrote a publication called “A Tale of Three Counties.”

“It was very well done,” Campbell says. “We wrote about water, sewage, air quality, transportation. It was a very valuable work.

“It led to the creation of Metro. We put it over.”

Campbell is still an authority on many subjects today, including global warming. Her presence will be felt at the 75th anniversary celebration, Kollias says, even if she can't be there in person.

The celebration, which also marks the 95th anniversary of the national League of Women Voters, is scheduled for 1-3 p.m. Saturday at Mary's Woods. For more information, go to lwvclackamas.org.


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