Harms, Edward C Jr.

From Lane Co Oregon


[edit] History

Ed graduated from Eugene High School in 1941. Ed served in the U.S. Navy in combat command from 1944 to 1946 at Iwo Jima and Okinawa and married Patricia Walker on December 21 when he returned home in 1946. Later he graduated from the University of Oregon, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1947 and a doctorate in 1949. He moved across the river after graduation from law school to start his own practice. He taught law at the UO School of Law and served as the city attorney for Springfield.

He was chairman of the Springfield Red Cross Drive. He also served on the Springfield City Council from 1950 to 1952 and as Springfield City Mayor from 1953 to 1960. In 1952, he was the business district chairman for the Springfield Community Chest and the chairman for the Springfield Booster's Club and Democratic Precinct Committeeman. He was named Young Man of the Year for the state of Oregon in 1956 and Junior First Citizen and First Citizen of Sprinigfield in 1956 and 1957 respectively. He also served on the state board of higher education and was League of Cities President in 1958-1959. The League presented Ed with a special recognition in 1986.

Population for the city of Springfield grew from 10,000 to 20,000 while he was mayor. He was responsible for urban renewal package that removed the mills and dilapidated house from what is now Pioneer Parkway to be replaced with Meadows Park, Hamlin School and open area for development. He annexed area from 27th to 72nd streets during his term as mayor. During his final term, the major East-West connection known as Centennial was constructed.

He died November 12, 2005 of a heart attack. He was 81. Ed enjoyed mountain climbing, golf, history, politics, reading, and Duck athletics.[1] Survivors include his wife; three children, Kathleen Harms of Big Lake, Alaska; Kerry Hrms Taylor of San Luis Obispo, California, and Kim Harms Weston of Springfield; and six grandchildren.[2]

[1] Oregon Quarterly, Spring 2006, page 51.

[2] League of City Newsletter, 2006, page 16.

[edit] Springfield News, October 23, 1952

Local Race Finds Lawyer and Merchant After Larson's Job

Candidates State Platforms

Three prominent Springfield Men are seeking the position of mayor. Considering the strides the city has made in recent years and the continued growth it faces, the voter should give careful study to the man he wants to serve in the city's head office. Here with we presented facts about each candidtate to help the voter decide which man can do the most for the continuing advancement of this city.


Edward C. Harms, 28 has been practicing law in Springfield for three years. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon Law School. During World War II, he was a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and served four years in the South Pacific.

Harms has served on the Springfield City Council for two years and has experience in city administration. If elected, he assures the voters that he will use common sense government devoted to the entire community and not to one particular area.

Harms will support the Municipal Power program and will work for a constructive street-lighting program. He is opposed to setting up a competing water system at this time. He is in favor of the city's present paving program and will go ahead with it if elected. He also would open up dead-end streets as soon as possible.

Harms is active in civic affairs. He is president of the local Boosters Club, is 1952 business district chariman for the Community Chest drive, is a member of the state and local bar associations, the Springfield Lions Club, the Chamber of Commerce, and is Democratic precinct councilman.

Harms is building a new home in the Northgate section of Springfield for his wife and their two daughters, Kathy, 4; and Kerry, 1 1/2.
B.P. Larson

Incumbent B.P. Larson, 60, is seeking re-election on the bsis of his past four-year record. He campaigned in 1948 on a 10-poing program and states he has fulfilled every promise made.

During his term of office, much advancement has been made by the city and Mayor Larson claims his share of the credit for the work done.

The Municipal Power Utility was formed which the mayor says has reduced power cost to every resident. Not a street was paved for 37 years before Larson took office, he states, and since he has been mayor, 124 blocks have been paved; and 100 blocks of storm sewers and 12 miles of sanitary sewers have been laid.

Other actions in which Larson joins in the credit are the assurance of the South A arterial, the industrial expansion of Springfield, and good city water.

If re-elected, Larson plans the following program: construction of a second bridge when the South A arterial is built; off street parking by buying up available property while it is still in a reasonable price range; get the alcohol plant into operaing hands; continue working to bring diversified industry to the area; open up dead-end streets; improve arterials into Springfield to bring more retail business into the area.

Mayor Larson, a resident of Springfield for 11 years is married and has six children. Four are married, one son is serving with the Air Corps in Korea; and the youngest, Ilene, is at home.
Ed Laksonen

Ed Laksonen, 51, has been in business in Springfield for aproximately 13 years. He has the meat department at Paramount Market. Before coming to Springfield, he was in the meat business in Eugene for about 12 years.

Most active campaigner of the three, Laksonen pledges a progrerssive city administration and close cooperation with the public. He plans an intensive study of the drainage problem to modernize Main Street; elminiate the unsanitary, unattractive and dangerous ditches along the Main Street highway, and to improve the Mill Street Section as well as Paramount.

Laksonen stresses that he will not favor the Paramount area over any other in the city, a factor which has caused some discussion in the campaign.

Laksonen is a strong supporter of public utilities but believes competition is good for business. He sees no need of the city going into the municipal water business and favors the present set-up.

Active in Springfield clubs, Laksonen is a member of the Boosters, the Elks Club, Masonic Lodge, the fraternal order of the Eagles, nd the Kiwanis Club.

He is married and has one marrieddaughter who resides in Astoria.

[edit] Springfield News, November 6, 1952

Mayor of Springfield Edward C. Harms

Edward C. Harms, 28-year-old attorney, was elected mayor of Springfield Tuesday, November 4, by a large majority vote. He won out over Ed Laksonen who ran second; and B.P. Larson, incumbent, third. Harms will take office on January 1, 1953.

In a statement to the News, Harms expressed gratification to the voters for electing him and promised to do his utmost to justify their faith.

Harms will work with members of the City Council, three just elected: Paris Breedlove, Ward Four; Ralph Nicholas, Ward Five; and Arthur C. McChesney, Ward Six.

Incumbents on the council are Alvin Reed, Ward One: and Nels Petersen, Ward Three. Harms served two years as councilman from Ward Two. The council will elect a representative from that ward to fill the office for the remaining two years of the term when Harms takes office.

[edit] Springfield News, 1956

Harms is Winner in Hotly-Contested race for Mayor's Office

With Mayor Edward C. Harms Jr. and Councilman Darwin Jensen returned to the City of Springfield city administration in Tuesday's general election, all that remains to be decided in the official city line-up for 1957 is the prresidency of the council. The present council president is A.C. McChesney who goes out of office on December 31 along with another councilman, Scott Haynes.

New to the council without opposition are W.E. Berkelew, Ward No. 5, and Lloyd B. Ardinger, Ward No. 6. Holdover councilmen are Vernon Allen, Jck Briggs and Alvin Reed. It is rpesumed that the council president will be picked from among the three senior members, Allen, Briggs, and Reed. Should the mayor's office become vacant, the council president succeeds to that position.

Mayor Harms was truetnred to office by an unprecedented write-in vote, receiving 1959 to 1300 for the second place candiate, B.J. Rogers. Former Mayor B.P. Larson ran third with 1229 votes. Councilman Briggs, who filed for mayor then threw his support behind the "draft Harms" write-in campaign, got 410 votes.

Councilman Jensen had a decisive victory for the Ward No. 4. council position, defeating the...

[edit] Springfield News, 1985

City's Mayors got us out of the mud

By Eric Jones (news Staff Writer)

In the past century, more than 30 men have served as mayors of the city of Springfield. Blacksmiths, docters, lawyers, and housepainters all have given their time and their own special directions to the city.

But only one mayor, Ed Harms, has served two full terms, although current Mayor John Lively, sales manager at a local manufacturing firm, recently ws re-elected and appears likely to join Harms as the second two-term mayor in the city's history.

There is, however, much more to Ed Hrms' story than the simple fact that he served eight years as mayor.

"From 1950 to 1960, the city doubled in size and population," says Harms practicing attorney who hung his first shingle near the corner of Fifth and Main Streets in 1950. "We literally got the city out of the mud and away from small-town politics."

Harms, the city's 23rd mayor, credits Claude Gerlach, former owner of [[Gerlach's Drug Store]s and mayor from 1945 to 1948, with being "the father of modern city government in Springfield."

Gerlach, now 71, laughs when he hears that title but conceds that there were a number of historical "firsts" during his term as myor.

Perhaps most significantly, Gerlach and three "progressive" councilors led the city to overwhelmingly approve the hiring of the first city manager in 1947. W.J. (Bill) Cloyes, a former chief sanitarian for Lane County, was hired as Springfield's top administrator for $6,000 a year soon after local citizens approved a change in the city's charter allowing for a city manager.

"Before that," the mayor and the council did it all," recalls Gerlach. "Being in the drug store all day long, I couldn't dodge anything."

On many an occasion, the mayor had to take time from his work and family to supervise a ditch-digging project, and citizens were quick to berate him at the drug store if the council did something they didn't approve of, Gerlach says.

"There weren't that many groups of people interested in participating in government," Gerlach says. "The mayor before me, Charley Chandler, was good-hearted, but he wanted things to stay pretty much as they were without any changes. This... progressives, to realize that we couldn't go on like this forever."

Gerlach and his progressive council instituted other major changes. Sewer service was extended east from 10th Street, allowing the city's cramped housing situation to expand. The city's first independent planning commission was appointed and the city's first full-time building inspector was hired.

B.P. Larson was elected mayor in 1948, and the emphasis shifted from planing and management to public power. The shift cost the city its initial bid to acquire South A. Street from Southern Pacific, a move long sought by downtown businessmen who wanted to get the logging truck traffic off Main Street, Gerlach says.

Meanwhile, Harms moved to Springfield and was elected to the City Council in 1950.

"I suppose all lawyers have a feeling of some aptitude for government," says Hrms, who in 1949 had graduated from the University of Oregon Law School. "It was also a way to become acquainted with the community and do something worthwhile."

In 1952, Harms ran against Larson and was elected mayor. "I felt the council's attitude wasn't growing up with the city," he says. "The mayor was interfering and there was a lot of petty, small-town politics.

"Mr. Larson was what I'd call a quasi-populist and extremely conservative," says Harms. "He believed the city could be run by volunteers.

"That may have been true when the city's population was 3,000 or 4,000 (in 1940), but not when it was 10,000," Harms says.

Less than two miles of streets were paved when Harms took office, and his first priority was to "get Springfield out of the mud." Harms proudly explains that 40 miles of streets were paved during his two terms as mayor.

A 16-mil levy (16 cents per $1,000 assessed value) was passed to finance city government and the council's final holdouts against the city manager form of government were recalled in 1955. E. Robert Turner, a rising professional who later would go on to manage the city of Cincinnati, Ohio, was hired and served in Springfield until 1960.

In 1956, Harms decided he'd served long enough in city government and chose not to run for a second term. But voters rejected the two candidates on the ballot - B.P. Larson and B.J. Rogers... in Harms for a second term.

Urban development and annexation proved to be controversial issues in Harms' second term. The $15 million development project financed by the federal government revamped much of the "bombed out" industrial area between Mill and Fifth streets north of G Street.

Meadow Park was dedicated, two schools were built in west Springfield and the Springfield Public Library was built on the corner of Third and North A streets.

The Thurston annexation, which essentially doubled the city's size and pushed the eastern boundary of the city to 72nd Street, was approved by the narrowest of margins in 1960.

B.J. Rogers was elected mayor in 1960 nd soon took the brunt for the urban renewal efforts planned during Harms' tenure. In 1962, a recall effort was mounted against Rogers and Councilor Russell Eldridge, but city voters retained the two in a special election in February 1962.

Harms wasn't successful in all of his campaigns. He pushed for a new City Hall in 1956 but couldn't convince voters to pick up the tab. He found himself in the minority when the city decided to accept the White Horse statue and failed in his bid to rename the city's lettered streets. After Rogers was elected, Harms served on a charter revision committee that also went down in defeat.

By 1960, Springfield's population exceeded 10,000. Professional management was on the rise, and annexations and public improvements had overcome the stifling moratorium on the city's growth.

Harms became the city attorney, a post he still holds as the senior partner in the local law firm of Harms, Harold and Leahy.

"I guess the accomplishment of which I'm proudest was in doing what I thought- and others have said- was a good job as mayor."

[edit] Obituary

Harms, Edward C., Jr. — of Springfield, Lane County, Ore. Mayor of Springfield, Ore., 1953-1960.

A memorial service was held Nov. 20 2005 for Edward C. Harms Jr. of Springfield, who died Nov. 12 of a heart attack. He was 81.

He was born Sept. 21, 1924, in Roseburg, to Edward and Gleneva McClain Harms. He married Patricia Walker on Dec. 21, 1946, in Portland.

Harms graduated from Eugene High School in 1941. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a bachelor's degree in 1947 and a doctorate in 1949. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1946 and participated in two invasions, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

He served on the Springfield City Council from 1950 to 1952 and as Springfield mayor from 1952 to 1960. He also served on the state board of higher education and as a director, vice president and president of the League of Oregon Cities. He was an attorney and taught law at the University of Oregon School of Law. He also served as city attorney for the city of Springfield.

He enjoyed mountain climbing, golf, history, politics, reading and UO Duck athletics.

Harms was a member of the Springfield Forum, Eugene Country Club and the First Baptist Church in Springfield. He was named Young Man of the Year for the state of Oregon in 1956, Junior First Citizen and First Citizen of Springfield...

[edit] Organizations

Active Member, Springfield Baptist Church.

Member, State and Local Bar Associations.

Charter Member, Past Director of Springfield Lions Club.

City Councilman, Ward 1.

Mayors of Springfield
Albert S. Walker (1885-1886) • S.I. Lee (1887) • Albert S. Walker (1888) • Simon Tuttle (1888-1889) • T.O. Maxwell (1889) • Albert S. Walker (1889-1890) • Albert Wheeler (1890-1892) • L. Gilstrap (1892-1893) • Albert Wheeler (1893) • J H Van Schoich (1893-1894) • Albert Wheeler (1894-1895) • Eugene C Martin (1896-1899) • John B. Innis (1900-1902) • H.A. Skeels (1902-1903) • R.A. Jayne (1903-1907) • Mark M. Peery (1907-1909) • W.M. Sutton (1909-1911) • Welby Stevens (1911-1913) • Charles L. Scott (1913-1915) • Elmer E. Morrison (1915-20) • Charles F. Eggiman (1921-1924) • George G. Bushman (1925-1929) • Charles O. Wilson (1929) • Wilfrid P. Tyson (1930-1934) • Ernest H. Turner (1934-1935) • W.A. Taylor (few minutes, November 27, 1935) • Ed Waltman (1935-1936) • William H. Pollard (1936-1940) • Charles Chandler (1940-1945) • Claude T. Gerlach (1945-1949) • B.P. Larson (1949-1953) • Edward C. Harms, Jr. (1953-1961) • B.J. Rogers (1961-1965) • David L. Scofield (1965-1967) • John E. McCulley (1967-1970) • William MorrissetteMaureen MaineSid Leiken
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