Hilliard with Gov. Holmes and his assistant Harry Swanson at City Desk, April 18, 1958. Allan DeLay
I am saddened by the news of the passing of one of my local Heroes, William A. Hilliard. At the same time, I celebrate; I was very fortunate to have been able to work and serve with William on diversity issues and governance. When Bill spoke at the Board-Table, you listened. If you listened to William, you heard Wisdom — Bill was my “Yoda”.
William was the first African American editor of the Oregonian in Portland, Oregon and one of the very few to serve as the editor of a major newspaper.
I fondly remember childhood stories from my Chinese Mother growing up in the same inner SE Portland neighborhood as William (Bill) along with another notable Portland neighborhood-chum Dick Bogle (who would later become involved in Portland’s Broadcast Media and provided Governance on the Portland City Council — that’s another story).
At the Oregonian, William introduced zoned suburban news coverage and expanded the coverage of minority’s issues, as well as increasing the hiring of minorities by the paper. 1
Aware of complaints of how nicknames of sports teams were demeaning to Native Americans, under Hilliard’s leadership The Oregonian stopped using demeaning sports nicknames in 1992, and the newspaper also stopped identifying people by race in crime stories unless absolutely necessary.
Thank you William (aka Bill) for your Leadership, and the Wisdom and Warmth you shared with all of us.
We are better Community for it. — Happy Trails Bill. (Thank you for sharing Dian)