DHS news release
March 22, 2006
Contacts: Lonn Hoklin (Governor's Office), (503) 378-6169
Trish Neiworth (DHS), (503) 945-5922
Oregon Department of Human Services headquarters building renamed in honor of Governor Barbara Roberts
Former Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts, the first woman to hold that office, accomplished another first Wednesday, when the state named a building on Capitol Mall after her, making her the first former governor to receive that honor.
Governor Ted Kulongoski hosted a brief ceremony in the Oregon Department of Human Services headquarters building, which now bears the name: the Barbara Roberts Human Services Building.
Governor Roberts took office as Oregon's first woman governor on January 14, 1991. During her term she gained recognition as a strong advocate for human rights and services.
Governor Kulongoski, who unveiled a permanent display that details Governor Roberts' contributions to human services, said he could think of no one more deserving of the honor. Former Governor Victor Atiyeh, Congresswoman Darlene Hooley, and former Oregon DHS Director Kevin Concannon, now human services director in Iowa, were among those who spoke at the ceremony.
"Governor Roberts dedicated much of her political career to fighting for the unmet human services needs of Oregonians," Governor Kulongoski said. "It's fitting that future generations will come to know this--by seeing the building named for her and learning more about what she accomplished for all of us."
Among Roberts' major accomplishments was securing federal waivers and funding for the Oregon Health Plan, the first such plan to help provide health care for low-income citizens in the United States. She also worked to improve the availability of low-income housing and spearheaded an increase in the number of children statewide in the Head Start program. She strongly advocated programs to help move Oregonians from welfare to the workplace, and sought to strengthen childcare in Oregon. She fought for insurance to cover outpatient drug and alcohol treatment, and advanced teen pregnancy prevention programs throughout Oregon.
"I am gratified by this honor, which I believe is also a salute to all Oregonians who recognize our common obligation to help people less fortunate than ourselves," Governor Roberts said. "Whenever people see my name on this building, I hope they will think about our shared capacity to help Oregonians."
The display in the building lobby includes pictures of former Governor Roberts, a brief history of her human services accomplishments and the state motto, "She flies with her own wings," which the former governor helped establish as the state's official saying.