The news of the passing earlier this week of former Oregon Governor and U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield was met with sadness on the part of many who knew him. One of those, Florence resident Wilbur Ternyik, developed a close friendship with Hatfield.
Wilbur Ternyik: “I got tremendous help from him. It’s not just for me for crying out loud, it’s for the whole coast.”
Ternyik, a former Florence Mayor and long time Port of Siuslaw Commissioner recalls working with Hatfield through the 70s and into the early 80s, trying to secure funding for a crucial extension of the Siuslaw River Jetties. Work that would not have been done had it not been for Hatfield’s influence.
Wilbur Ternyik: “And after Mark got to be the chairman of the appropriations committee the writing was on the wall. We were going to be funded.”
Hatfield was effective in providing money for federal projects, not just along the coast, but in all of Oregon. He was proud of the fact that they were projects that were worthwhile to the rest of the nation. Hatfield, who was 89 when he passed away Sunday in Portland, worked closely with Ternyik over the years.
Wilbur Ternyik: “There’s no man that I respect any more in all the 85 years of living… Mark Hatfield. Super good man for Oregon.”
He retired from the Senate in 1996 after a 46 year career in public life.