Portraits of governors past line the walls of the Capitol, easily accessible to the public. Except, that is, for the official painting of Neil Goldschmidt. His visage can be found hanging in a darkened, undistinguished corner of a cramped entry of the fourth-floor Legislative Library – a room that can’t be located using the building map that’s distributed to tourists downstairs.
That’s more visibility than Goldschmidt deserves, if you ask former Bend state representative Tim Knopp.
Knopp, a Republican, recently rejoined with former state Sen. Vicki Walker – a Democrat from Eugene who played a key role in exposing the former governor’s statutory rape – in reissuing their request that Goldschmidt no longer be honored with a formal painting in the Capitol.
In 2004, after Willamette Week broke the story of Goldschmidt’s crime, the two succeeded in having the painting moved to its current location. Now, however, they want it gone completely.
The new request is based on recent coverage of the death of Goldschmidt’s victim by Willamette Week, which named her and included photos, and the Oregonian, which chose not to. Both articles indicated she was 13 at the time of the crime, not 14 as previously indicated. Not only that, but the crime continued far longer than earlier thought.
“It’s very outrageous and maddening,” said Knopp of the painting, adding that it should bear the label “admitted sex offender.”
“My daughter just turned 14,” he added. “Clearly this was a girl who had a bright future in front of her. In fact, there’s no reason to believe she couldn’t have become Oregon’s governor at one point.”
So far the response has been noncommittal. Asked about the letter, Steve Lindsley, a spokesman for the House Co-Speakers replied, “The Co-Speakers offices received the request and are weighing it.”
Through a spokesman, Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, released the following statement:
“Since receiving the request last week, I have asked staff to review the legal issues and procedures involved. Once we have those answers, I will discuss our options with the Speakers so we can decide how we should proceed.”
Hat tip to Willamette Week