Former Oregon Rep. Wendell Wyatt Dies at 91

Posted February 4, 2009 at 6:09pm

Former Congressman Wendell Wyatt (R-Ore.) died Jan. 28 in Portland at the age of 91.

[IMGCAP(1)]Wyatt represented the 1st district of Oregon from 1964 to 1975. He was elected to the 88th and 89th Congresses, filling the seat vacated by Rep. Walter Norblad (R) upon his death. During his tenure, Wyatt sat on both the House Interior and Appropriations committee. He retired from Congress in 1975.

“He was my predecessor’s predecessor’s predecessor,” Rep. David Wu (D) said Tuesday on the floor. “He represented Oregon with integrity and compassion, and he will be remembered for his constituent service, his willingness to work toward consensus and for his service in the Marine Corps during World War II as a fighter pilot.”

After retiring from Congress, Wyatt became a partner in the law firm Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, based in Oregon and Washington state. He also acted as a commissioner to the Port of Portland, which is responsible for overseeing air and sea activities in the Portland metropolitan area.

Wyatt was mired in controversy during the Nixon era. He was accused of breaking campaign laws in 1972 by donating to the president’s campaign while he chaired the Oregon branch of the notorious Committee to Re-Elect the President, better known as CREEP. Wyatt pleaded guilty in 1975 and was fined $750.

The former Congressman began and ended his life in the Beaver State. He was born in Eugene in 1917 and attended the University of Oregon and later the University of Oregon Law School. He graduated in 1941 and worked as an FBI agent before enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps. Wyatt served in World War II starting in 1942.