Oregon’s Most Prominent

From athletes to TV personalities to business tycoons to writers–below are some of the most prominent people from Oregon.

Danny Ainge (1959) was an Oregon-born basketball player from Eugene. He was a Wooden Award recipient during his basketball years in college while also playing baseball professionally with the Toronto Blue Jays.

It was not long after that he was drafted to play with the Boston Celtics that ended his baseball stint with the Blue Jays. As a Celtic, he starred for two championships and gained the honor of being the second NBA player in history to score nine hundred three-point shots in his career. When he retired, he coached the Portland Trail Blazers for a brief period.

Beverly Cleary (1916 – ) is most well known for her Ramona books that include Ramona’s World, Ramona Forever, and several more. She was a prolific writer of more than thirty books and an awarded writer for her works which include children’s books.

However, she did not begin writing until her thirties despite it being something she has always wanted to do due to lack of time. She studied at the University of Washington to be a librarian after having grown up on a family farm in McMinnville Oregon.

Abigail Scott Duniway (1834 – 1915) lived mostly in Lafayette and is a prominent female suffrage advocate, leader, and activist. She worked as a journalist during her time.

Dick Fosbury (1947 – ) was a Portland-born Olympic gymnast who invented the Fosbury Flop move in high jumping which involved flipping over the bar backward. He set an Olympic record in 1968.

Matt Groening (1954 – ) is the brains behind The Simpsons which is now considered the longest-running prime-time animated show in history. His father was a cartoonist who encouraged his creativity from a young age.

After college, he moved to LA to become a writer, but having no luck in this endeavor, he began sending comic strips to his friends back home entitled Life in Hell, which still appears in newspapers. The unintentional success of the strip caught the eye of TV producer James Brooks who hired Matt to develop what is now The Simpsons.

Chief Joseph, also known as Young Joseph was part of the Nez Perce tribe of Wallowa Valley. He was a peaceful leader but later on was forced into war in the 1870s because of problems with white settlement. He tried to lead his people to Canada on a thousand mile trek but was forced to surrender when his people were starved, freezing, and dying. He relocated to Oklahoma but later returned to Wallowa to encourage his fellow natives to lead better lives.

Phil Knight is presently the CEO, president and chairman of Nike. He was a Business Administration graduate from the University of Oregon and was a track athlete. His business venture started out when he and his former track coach invested a thousand dollars to start Nike, which was at the time named Blue Ribbon Sports and would later be successful enough to be one of the leaders in the sports shoe market.

Lindsay Jean Wagner (born June 22, 1949) is the actress best known for her role as Jaime Sommers in the TV series The Bionic Woman for which she won an Emmy. In 2013, she began a teaching career at the San Bernardino Valley College as an adjunct faculty member for acting and directing.



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