History Pub Nov 28: Simon Benson: Lumber King, Civic Leader, Visionary

by Master

Presented by: Sig Unander, Jr.

Multnomah Falls…the Historic Columbia River Highway…Portland’s iconic “bubbler” fountains…the Benson Hotel….Benson Polytechnic High School….the Forestry Building….these priceless public assets exemplify the dedication and generosity of Simon Benson.

A poor Norwegian immigrant, Benson’s life was a cross-section of Oregon’s development, a story of incredible achievement. He revolutionized the Northwest logging industry by pioneering steam power, logging railroads and perfecting huge seagoing log rafts. He led the movement to build good roads and was first Chair of the Oregon State Highway Commission. Benson was honored as Oregon Citizen of the Year at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.

Author, filmmaker and historian Sig Unander, a fourth-generation Oregonian, tells how this humble, hardworking woodsman overcame daunting challenges to become Oregon’s Lumber King, then worked just as diligently giving back to his adopted state and country.

About the Speaker:

A professional communicator and community leader, Sig is a native of Portland, Oregon. He began his career working in broadcast and print journalism at media outlets in New Mexico, Minnesota and Georgia and as a freelance writer. Returning to Oregon, he worked for KYTE and KLLB, Portland, helped launch the annual Rose Festival Air Show, worked as a communications specialist, ran a fine art publishing company and edited a business magazine. More recently he held positions as Director of Public Relations with Latin Media Northwest and Project Development Director with Eravision, a Los Angeles film production company.

Sig owns Presentations That Inspire, a public speaking, writing, editing and consulting business located in a Portland suburb. Known for meticulous writing and research, he works with businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, libraries and private clients on diverse projects. He is a member of Authors Guild, Willamette Writers, the Society of Professional Journalists and Northwest Writers & Publishers Association.

A strong advocate of public service, Sig has served as an elected city councilor and an appointed commissioner on several county government boards and committees. He has served as Vice-President of the Public Affairs Forum, President of the Simon Benson Fund and a board member of several other nonprofits. He is active in chambers of commerce and civic organizations and writes editorials and opinion pieces highlighting current issues.

Sig holds a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from Pacific University and served as President of its Alumni Association board. He also holds a post-baccalaureate degree in Latin American Studies from Portland State University.

About History Pub Night

These monthly, free events are open to everyone interested in Oregon and Pacific Northwest history. Co-sponsored by like-minded historical and civic organizations, we bring you experts, scholars, first-person experiencers and historians who expound on topics from Lewis and Clark to shipwrecks, hop growing to women pioneers and far, far beyond. It’s like being back in the classroom – except this time you get to settle into comfortable seats and enjoy a drink or two with dinner while you listen and learn.


Source:  Wilsonville Library and McMenamins. 11.10/17

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