Late Metzger leader is recognized for work in and out of Salem

by: SUBMITTED - Patricia WhitingThe Oregon Legislature is recognizing one of its own with a proclamation commending the work of Metzger’s Patricia Whiting.

Whiting, who served in the Oregon Legislature in the 1970s, is the only representative from Metzger to be elected to public office, and the first democratic woman to be elected from Washington County.

Whiting made the national spotlight for her work banning ozone-depleting aerosol cans and helping enact the state’s first beach and bottle bills.

Whiting died in 2010, but a group of Metzger residents have worked to get her recognized for her service, both in and out of Salem.

On March 4, the state House approved a resolution, thanking Whiting for her years of service as a politician and as an avid community volunteer through much of her life.

Whiting served three terms in the Oregon Legislature, representing Tigard and Metzger from 1972 to 1978 under governors Tom McCall and Robert Straub.

Whiting was a key player in the passage of Oregon’s ratification of the equal rights amendment, the Willamette Greenway and Senate Bill 100, establishing statewide land-use planning. She helped create Project Independence, which helps seniors stay in their homes.

Whiting’s most high-profile legislation involved the world’s first ban on ozone-depleting spray cans. She also initiated the first tobacco smoking ban in Oregon in 1973.

She appeared on “The Today Show” defending the ozone bill during a debate with the Dupont chemical company before the worldwide Kyoto and Montreal protocols.

Whiting was named in the Carnegie Foundation’s top 10 legislators in the U.S. in 1975.

“She was a dynamo,” said Tigard Rep. Margaret Doherty, who now represents Whiting’s district. “In a very short period of time, what she accomplished and continued to accomplish afterward was incredible.”

by: FILE PHOTO - Pat Whiting and husband Vince renew their wedding vows in 2010 shortly before her death. Whiting was an avid community activist, working to improve Metzger and Tigard.Closer to home, Whiting was a relentless advocate for Metzger and the community, helping to establish the creation of Metzger Park, the rebuilding of Metzger Elementary School and serving as the chairwoman of Citizen Participation Organization 4M for decades.

“I don’t think she ever thought about it, she just did it,” Doherty said.

Metzger, which celebrated its centennial in 2011, named Metzger Park Hall after Whiting in a special ceremony.

Doherty sponsored the resolution after working with Metzger resident Jim Long, who helped organize the centennial.

“During the 100th anniversary, they wanted something from the governor,” Doherty said. “So when the next session started (in 2013), we made a formal proclamation, and the governor will sign it when it passes.”

Whiting’s husband, Vince, and several of Whiting’s friends were in attendance at the Oregon House when the resolution passed.

“Oh, I thought it was wonderful,” Vince Whiting said. “It was loving and very nice.”

Legislators gave a standing ovation in his wife’s honor.

Vince Whiting said it was important for people to remember the work his wife did for the state.

“It brings all of her accomplishments into the digital age,” he said.

Vince Whiting said he heard about the idea not long after the Metzger centennial celebration.

“They said they were going to try to do something for Pattie, but I didn’t really expect to be going down to Salem. It was a real surprise,” he said.

The resolution now goes to the state Senate for approval, before it can be officially signed by Gov. John Kitzhaber.

Doherty said once the resolution is passed, she plans to have the resolution displayed at Metzger Park.

“It was not only what she did for the Metzger community, but everything — whether it was dealing with poverty programs or big environmental work, like the smoking ban,” Doherty said. “And she was from little ol’ Metzger. To me, this is something that should be recognized.”

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