Writing by Ron Abell
Ron Abell, a journalist, author, writing teacher, and political activist, graduated from UCLA, was drafted into the army for two years, and spent another two years at odd jobs before moving to Oregon in 1958, where he remained ever since. He attended the University of Oregon from 1958 to 1961, where he earned a masters degree in journalism and spent an extra year in graduate school as editor of the Northwest Review.
He started his career as a cub reporter for the Medford Mail Tribune. He also worked as a reporter for the Oregonian, the Whidbey Island News Times, the Pacific Palisades Palisadean Post, and the Eugene Register-Guard. He left the Register-Guard to work in the peace movement during the Vietnam War by going to work for Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon in his 1968 re-election campaign. Following that election, which Morse lost to Bob Packwood, Abell went to work for the Associated Press at the 1969 Oregon legislature.
When the legislature adjourned, he went to work as a political reporter for KOIN-TV Portland. Following that he worked on Neil Goldschmidt’s successful campaign for the Portland City Council. But rather than take a job at City Hall, he returned to the legislature in 1971, where he worked for the Senate Democratic Caucus. At that time Abell became a part-time lecturer in communications at Lewis and Clark College.
From that he became primarily a free-lance reporter, and in the early 1970s probably wrote more free-lance journalism than anyone else in the Portland area. His work appeared in True magazine, Runners World, New Times, Oregon magazine, Seattle Argus, Willamette Week, Oregon Times, Northwest Magazine, Old Oregon, Emerald Empire, Community Press, Northwest Ruralite, Channels, and Portside. He also hosted a radio phone in talk show on KYTE Portland in 1978, was the legislative reporter in Salem for Willamette Week in 1977, was a columnist for Willamette Week from 1974-75, was a columnist for the Community Press, Portland, 1973-74, and was co-host of “Counterpoint” on KATU-TV Portland in 1973. He was a copywriter for Heims and Turtledove Advertising in Portland in 1970. He was elected as a delegate to the Democratic Convention in Miami Beach in 1972. He was the editor of Oregon magazine in Portland from 1979-80. He is the author of 20 short stories, most of them appearing under a pen name in the Alfred Hitchcock Magazine. In 1985 he published a novel, Tap City, with Little Brown and Company.
In the 1980s and 90s he taught novel writing at the Oregon Writers Workshop in Portland.
In 1970 he made the mistake of restarting the James G Blaine Society for which he got much more publicity than he ever wanted or could handle. The James G Blaine Society was a tongue-in-cheek organization intended to discourage the overpopulation of Oregon. He always said he had a tiger by the tail and he was publicized, written about, criticized, and vilified by the Register-Guard, the Oregon Journal, the New Republic, San Francisco Sunday Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Portland Vanguard, Portland Scribe, Bend Bulletin, Denver Post, Sacramento Union, and New Times magazine.
Ron died in Portland in 2012.