Oswald West was my mom’s mother’s father – my great-grandfather. He was a man ahead of his time. He was Oregon’s 14th governor, from 1911 until 1915. During his time in office he passed laws that gave women the right to vote, end capitol punishment and made Oregon’s coast public land. He also passed prohibition laws, but let’s not hold that against him.
Oswald West had the foresight to make the beaches part of the Oregon highway system, thus ensuring that no one could ever privately own the beaches. Oswald West State Park is named for him. It is one of the most beautiful stretches of the Oregon coast and one of the most beautiful parks in Oregon.
My mom loved him as her grandfather. She called him Go-Go because he would always take her on walks around his Portland neighborhood and down the street to the park. When he died in 1960, the Oregon Journal wrote of him, “perhaps no one in the state’s history leaves a more lasting impression on it than West.”