Janet McLennan Collection, 1966-1972  PDF

Overview of the Collection

McLennan, Janet
Janet McLennan Collection
1966-1972 (inclusive)
1 linear foot, (2 boxes)
Collection Number
MSS 11
Correspondence, marketing materials, newspaper clippings, financial documents and political records related to Oregon's 1967 Beach Bill controversy and ballot initiatives, securing public coastal lands, the fight to relocate Highway 101 onto Nestucca Spit, and non-profit organizations Beaches Forever, Inc. and the Committee to Save the Beaches, both directed by McLennan.
Western Oregon University Archives
Hamersly Library
345 N. Monmouth Ave.
Monmouth, OR
Telephone: 503-838-8419
Fax: 503-838-8399
Access Restrictions

Collection is available for research.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Born Janet Watts on December 2, 1926, Janet grew up as an only child in Tacoma, Washington. Her father, Edward Stiars Watts, was a CPA who studied at Columbia University while working in New York before moving to the Northwest, where his practice included local lumber companies. Her mother, Frances Halverson Watts, moved from Winona, Minnesota, to the Pacific Northwest after working as a secretary at Weyerhaeuser and Laird Norton Company. She embarked on her passion for forestry starting with teenage hikes around Mt. Rainer.

In 1944, Janet left Tacoma and went off for a year to Oberlin College before transferring to the University of Oregon. After graduating with honors in English in 1948, McLennan traveled to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was one of the early participants in the prestigious Radcliffe Course in Publishing Procedures. After working in New York City as an editor at Mademoiselle Magazine, she returned to the Northwest and married her Oregon beau, Bill McLennan, a CPA, in Tacoma in November 1949. After a short stint in Coos Bay, the couple moved to Washington D.C. where Bill had been accepted into George Washington University Law School. Janet went to work for the Library of Congress. Her life-long interest in politics was born during their time in Washington, D.C.

When Bill finished law school and passed the bar, the couple was on the move again, this time to East Orange, New Jersey, where Bill took a job as controller for US Tool Co. Janet’s experience in D.C., and her growing interest in law, led her to apply and be accepted at Rutgers University Law School in nearby Newark. But other priorities arose: Pregnant with their first child, Janet put law school plans on hold, giving birth to son Andrew in March 1954.

Soon after, the young family left the New York area for Bill’s native Portland. Bill passed the Oregon State Bar and went to work for a Portland law firm. Janet became active in civic life and in the Democratic Party, serving as precinct committee woman and division leader. And she continued to raise her young family. Daughter Martha was born in September 1955 and Sarah in March 1958.

The 1960s were a time of growing political involvement for Janet. Two unsuccessful runs for the Oregon Legislature; successful leadership of a campaign to abolish the death penalty in Oregon; involvement in legislative redistricting and issues relating to racial and gender equality; service as senior aide to State Senator Don Willner. But perhaps one of the most important developments during the 1960s was Janet’s involvement in natural resource issues. In 1965, she served as executive director of the Committee to Save the Beaches, a campaign to prevent a planned relocation of Highway 101 onto the Nestucca Spit. This topic galvanized public interest and thrust State Treasurer Bob Straub into the spotlight as a crusader for Oregon’s environment.

In 1968, Janet and the Committee to Save the Beaches, later Beaches Forever, Inc.—with Bob Straub leading the charge—advanced an initiative to use $30 million in gas tax revenue to secure public access to all Oregon beaches. Though that effort failed, she continued to collaborate with Bob Straub and in 1970 served as coordinator of his second campaign for Governor. Straub lost that election to popular incumbent Tom McCall, but Janet had become an indispensable member of the Straub team.

Janet’s long interest in law had not waned, and in the fall of 1968—fully involved with the beach campaign—she started law school at Willamette University, transferring to the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark in 1969, and graduating in 1972. After an assignment as Deputy State Treasurer for Bob Straub in 1972, Janet took a post first as staff counsel to the House Environment Committee in the Oregon Legislature, and then Staff Director and Counsel of the Joint Interim Committee on Natural Resources. Following Straub’s landslide gubernatorial election in 1974, Janet went to work as his Natural Resources Assistant throughout his four-year term, where she was immersed in land use planning, forest practices and the Willamette Greenway, among many other issues.

Following her service in the Straub Administration, Janet went to work at the Bonneville Power Administration, serving in several high-level legal and policy posts before retiring in 1988. During this period she also served on the Oregon State University Forest Research Lab advisory committee and several years as an adjunct professor at the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark. Following retirement, Janet was named to the newly reconstituted Board of Forestry in 1987 and then to Chair of the Board of Forestry from 1990-1995—by three different Oregon Governors in all—where she provided critical leadership, legal insight and analysis on key issues like endangered species protection, development of new stream rules, and policy direction for State Forests. As chair, Janet also advocated for forest education, and outreach to urban Oregonians.

Janet’s long-time interest in the Tillamook State Forest and in the importance of public education about forests drew her into a leadership role with the non-profit Tillamook Forest Heritage Trust in the late 1990s. She chaired that organization for a decade, culminating in opening and operation of the Tillamook Forest Center in 2006. In January 2007 Janet was inducted into the World Forestry Center Leadership Hall of Fame for her lifelong career protecting Oregon’s environment.

Text adapted from biography provided by the World Forestry Center, http://www.worldforestry.org/.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Correspondence, newspaper clippings, petitions, maps, financial records and ephemera documenting Janet McLennan's work with two non-profit organizations, Beaches Forever, Inc. and Committee to Save the Beaches. Both organizations worked closely with then State Treasurer Robert W. Straub. McLennan later served as Governor Straub's Natural Resources advisor. Materials document political struggles in Oregon regarding the Beach Bill initiative, the fight to secure public access to Oregon beaches, and action related to the relocation of Highway 101 onto Nestucca Spit.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

For further information, see the Western Oregon University Archives Research Rules.

Copyright Information: Researchers are hereby cautioned that materials within archival and manuscript collections may be protected by copyright laws (Title 17, U.S. code). Researchers who plan to eventually publish their work are responsible to inquire about publication restrictions before beginning their research. Researchers wishing to quote from materials in any collections held by University Archives should consult the University Archivist. Reproduction of any item must contain a complete citation to the original.

Preferred Citation

Janet McLennan Collection, MSS 11, Western Oregon University Archives

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

I:  Background informationReturn to Top

Documents and essays that describe the historical fight to save Oregon beaches, chronology, and Ballot Measure no. 6.

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
1 1
Background and historical background

II:  Correspondence, 1966-1971Return to Top

Includes documents in McLennan's capacity as executive director of the Committee to Save the Beaches, Beaches Forever, Inc., and as an advisor to Straub while he was State Treasurer.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 2
Correspondence and press releases from Janet McLennan

III:  Non-profit organizational records, 1966-1969Return to Top

Records of four non-profits organizations formed in response to initiatives and bills related to the relocation of Highway 101 onto Nestucca Spit and the fight to secure public access to Oregon beaches. These records represent both advocating for and against these initiatives and proposals.

Container(s) Description Dates
Committee to Save the Beaches
Box Folder
1 3
Correspondence and petitions
1 4
Receipts and Expenditures
Beaches Forever, Inc.
Box Folder
1 5
Incorporation documents
1 6
Organizational documents
Select agendas, drafts, press releases, and information on outdoor seminar hosted in 1969.
1 7
Marketing documents
Stickers, ribbons, drawings, posters, maps, and drafts of materials created to publicize Beaches Forever and Ballot Measure no. 6.
Oversize drawer
Oversize Drawer 3
Marketing documents
Beaches Forever posters
Box Folder
1 8
Receipts and expenditures
Proposed budgets and receipts for the organization, including rallies, meetings, and daily finances.
Citizens to Save Oregon Beaches
Box Folder
1 9
Organizational materials
Select correspondence, informational flyers, commentaries, papers, comparisons between CSOB and Beaches Forever, and the ballot initiative put forth by CSOB.
Family Highway Protection Committee
Press releases, newspaper clippings, correspondence, and Documents related to the court proceeding of a case between committee chairman Keith Rinke and State Treasurer Straub
Box Folder
1 10
Organizational materials
Select correspondence, informational flyers, commentaries, papers, and the ballot initiative put forth by CSOB. Collected by the opposing group, Beaches Forever.

IV:  Petitions and Legislation, 1967-1971Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 11
Measure 6 (beach lands)
Correspondence, explanations, ballot drafts, and initiative petitions and materials.
1 12
Estuary mining claims
News releases, testimony, literature, and newspaper clippings.

V:  Newspaper ClippingsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
2 1
Newspaper clippings
2 2
Newspaper clippings
2 3
Newspaper clippings
3 1
Newspaper clippings
Photocopies for research use.
3 2
Newspaper clippings
Photocopies for research use.
3 3
Newspaper clippings
Photocopies for research use.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Beaches--Government policy--Oregon
  • Beaches--Law and legislation--Oregon
  • Beaches--Oregon--History
  • Oregon. Beach bill
  • Pacific Coast (Or.)--Government policy
  • Public lands--Laws and Legislation--Oregon
  • Personal Names :
  • McLennan, Janet--Archives
  • Corporate Names :
  • Beaches Forever, Inc.>
  • Citizens to Save Oregon Beaches>
  • Committee to Save the Beaches>
  • Family Highway Protection Committee>
  • Geographical Names :
  • Neskowin (Or.)
  • Pacific Coast (Or.)
  • Portland (Or.)
  • Salem (Or.)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Correspondence
  • Petitions
  • Posters
  • Stickers