Sad news. Len “Bergy” Bergstein died Monday, October 17. His sudden death was apparently caused by a heart attack.
In 2002, after attending our 35th Reunion, I wrote my first set of class notes. A week or so later, I got an email from Bergy that began, “Richie—somehow, during the weekend I missed the point where Pat Dwyer and you did a body exchange . . . well they say miracles happen at events like this. I truly enjoyed the chance to get re-connected.”
He then caught me up on what he had been up to since our graduation: “As for me—I moved to Oregon in ’72 after completing NYU Law School. I joined Legal Aid and got involved with an urban political crowd . . . this led to political involvement as a campaign manager for two Democratic candidates for statewide office. When my candidate for governor won in 1974, I went to work for him in the statehouse—probably due to poor staff work, he only lasted one term. Five years later I was working for the Portland mayor, Neil Goldschmidt, when he was asked to join the Carter cabinet as U.S. secretary of transportation—so I joined his staff in Washington, D.C. In 1981, I headed back to Portland and set up my own public affairs company, called Northwest Strategies, which I have been doing ever since. It’s a nice mixture of government, media, and community relations for clients with complex issues. No two clients are the same . . . I have helped site large scale projects with challenging environmental issues [modern landfills, gravel mining reclamation project, etc.]; helped a Native American tribe establish a positive image to offset the negatives of casino gambling; have gained public approval of development projects and ballot measures; and currently am assisting a large-scale agriculture and dairy enterprise become established on 93,000 acres of land in Eastern Oregon. Oregon’s relatively small population and reputation for livability/quality of life issues makes this an attractive place for me to practice . . . .”
When I learned that Bergy had died, I looked online and found that he had become very well known in Oregon, not only for the active role he had played in political life throughout the state, but also because he was a frequent commentator on local television in Portland, known for, as one article put it, his “wit and wisdom.”
The accolades rolled in, from both senators (one, Ron Wyden, said, “Len was instrumental with my start in public life”) and from various other prominent Oregonians (if that is what they call themselves). He clearly was well loved and well respected. One of Len’s obituaries, with photos, appears here: https://www.oregonlive.com/politics/2022/10/longtime-oregon-political-strategist-len-bergstein-dies-at-76.html.
He is survived by Betsy, his wife of 38 years, two brothers, three children, and four grandchildren.
(Poaching alert!) Brian Frosh (Walter Johnson High School, ’64, Wesleyan, ’68) was in the news again, this time in an article that included his (stern but distinguished looking!) photo in The New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/18/us/baltimore-priest-sexual-abuse.html). The attorney general of Maryland—Brian—filed a request that a judge release a 456-page document based on a criminal investigation that Frosh’s office initiated in 2019. It details decades of sex abuse of more than 600 victims by clergy in Maryland. According to the filing, “The sexual abuse was so pervasive that victims were sometimes reporting sexual abuse to priests who were perpetrators themselves.” The Times writes that the report “is one of the first major investigations completed by a state attorney general on sexual abuse in the Church since a scathing report on six dioceses in Pennsylvania shocked Catholics across the nation in 2018.” Brian was scheduled to leave office in January 2023.