Bean, Louis Elmer – Obituary

Louis E. Bean, chairman of the Oregon State Public Service Commission, died suddenly of heart disease in his apartment at Salem shortly after 10 o’clock last night [July 6, 1929].

Mr. Bean underwent a major operation during the last Christmas holidays, and at that time a serious condition was discovered which physicians knew might cause his death at any time, though he was able to continue his work after his discharge from the hospital. He was examined in Portland, Friday by his nephew, Dr. Harold C. Bean, and no alarming symptoms were apparent. Only two weeks ago he returned from a strenuous five weeks in Washington, D.C., attending a grain rate hearing.

Mr. Bean made his home in Eugene, at Tenth Avenue East and High Street. During his long residence in Lane County, he was active in politics, serving his county in the state legislature. Not a decade ago he was Speaker of the House of Representatives. In the gubernatorial contest that followed his term as speaker, he was a candidate for the Republican nomination for Chief Executive of the State.

By profession he was a lawyer, and for years he was associated in the practice of law with the late Colonel John M. Williams at Eugene. He was a member of the Shrine and other Masonic bodies.

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Mr. Bean is survived by his widow [Katherine Patterson Bean] and four children, three sons and a daughter, besides three brothers and a sister. The brothers are R. S. [Robert Sharp] Bean, federal judge at Portland; J. R. [James Riley] Bean of Oswego, a bailiff in the court of Circuit Judge Tucker, and C. O. [Chester] Bean of Raymond, Wash. The sister is Mrs. William Pope [Estella] of Ventura, Cal.

Louis E. Bean was native son of Oregon. He was born in 1867 on a farm in Lane County, of pioneer parents [Obediah Bean and Julia Sharp]. His early life was spent as a cowboy on the ranges of eastern Oregon, as a farmer and stockraiser. He was educated in rural and Eugene schools and attended the University of Oregon. It was in 1898 that he began the practice of law with Colonel Williams, and until death of his partner broke up the firm, it enjoyed the distinction of being the oldest law firm in Lane County.

In 1909 Louis Bean was elected for the first time to the lower house of the state legislature. He was elected to the state senate next and served there in 1911 and 1913. He went back to the house, serving in 1917 and 1919 and again in 1921, at which time, and also at the special session in that year, he was speaker. It was in 1922 that he entered the race for the Republican nomination for governor.

In 1925 Thomas G. Campbell, veteran member of the public service commission, died. Walter M. Pierce, then governor of Oregon, appointed W. G. Delzell to the commission. A conference of state politicians resulted in the regular nomination of Mr. Bean to the office of public service commissioner, and he was elected. His term would have expired in January, 1931. Since January 1 he has been chairman of that body.

His property interests were mainly Lane County timber lands, and during his law practice he was counsel for several large eastern capitalists who had extensive timber holdings in this state. His work in that regard brought him into close contact with tidewater lumbering operations, and he was for long an untiring worker of federal development of the small ports along the Oregon Coast. He was active in the effecting of an organization of small ports, and much of the progress made by them in acquiring federal aid has been credited to him. He was also particularly active in highway development and expansion.

For many years he worked diligently to obtain for the western states, from the federal government, compensation in lieu of taxes lost to the states by reason of government ownership of large timber and recreational area.

Oregonian, July 7, 1929
Contributed by: Shelli Steedman



Collection: United States Obituaries.

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