Portland Mayor Bud Clark, Celebrating a Life Well-Lived

Portland lost her beloved 'Citizen Mayor' J. E. "Bud" Clark in 2022, on February 12.

Bud with red rose in his Lapel, on his Bike in front of City Hall (Photo by ???)

Note Portland Building in Background.

What connections to Southwest Portland do you know about?

  • Bud was often seen on his bike on Terwilliger.
  • Bud had a famous breakfast meeting at Fat City Cafe in Multnomah Village.
  • Bud was often seen poling his kayak on the Willamette River.
  • Bud is now at Rest in River View Cemetery, with his wife Sigrid.
  • Bud Clark Memorial Pio Courthouse Square, Sunday May 15th, 2022

    38 years ago, Bud Clark won the Portland mayor's race on May 15th! He served as mayor from 1985–1993.

    Memorial Podium, under tent, with rain in foreground - Photo by J Miller

    There was a soggy party on May 15 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm Ken Boddie was MC. There were many gray hairs in attendance - a veritable who's who of Portland in the 1980's.

    Come together to celebrate Bud’s extraordinary life and the remarkable City he served. Performances by The Mel Brown Quartet, Portland Youth Philharmonic, Thomas Lauderdale & Kathleen Saadat, and the MarchFourth Marching Band. Ice cream social courtesy of Salt & Straw.

    This was quite a show, with many good stories. See the full program in the links below.

    April 7, 1987 - The Fat City Massacre

    As the story goes, there was some legal issue being discussed (Anyone know what it was about?), and apparently Davis’s assertion that “Read my lips: Yes I can” was met with Clark’s witty retort, “Read my lips: You’re fired.” That’s right, the mayor fired the police chief right here in this booth. (See the Pamplin Media story in Links below.)

    For many years, (just days later) there was a Plaque commemorating this at the booth

    1st Fat City Massacre Plaque

    We are wondering what ever became of the plaque. It was replaced by the another plaque, which vanished a while back. Maybe it's hiding somewhere else in the Cafe. (facsimile shown). Does any astute reader know??

    Second Fat City Massacre Plaque

    These words were on the Plaque:

    Lip Reading Done Here
    Mayor Bud Clark fired
    Police Chief James Davis
    in this booth April 7, 1987

    It's also possible that the original sign simply had some labelling mounted below it. Unknown.

    This Oregonian article appeared less than a week after the event

    By PATRICK O'NEILL of The Oregonian staff

    New customers keep drifting into Fat City cafe, asking to see the booth where Portland Mayor Bud Clark fired former Police Chief James T. Davis, telling Davis to "read my lips — goodbye"

    The homey cafe, a popular breakfast spot in the Multnomah neighborhood, earned a footnote in Portland history Tuesday when Clark dismissed Davis over cups of coffee.

    The cafe's walls are decorated with a collage of signs - road signs, "for rent" signs, "caution" signs. And on Thursday the cafe got another sign.

    A furious Louise Boyer, longtime friend of Davis', glued a small sign above the now-historic booth: "Fat City Massacre — Lip Reading Done Here."

    Boyer has owned the cafe for the past 13 years and for many of them has served break-fasts to Davis, a Fat City regular. Davis is a golfing buddy of her husband. George. and Davis' daughter played baseball on a team sponsored by the restaurant.

    The cafe owner was in the kitchen baking on Tuesday morning when Clark walked in to talk with Davis.

    Marilyn McDermet, a waitress at Fat City for 12 years, had just served Davis a cup of coffee when Clark came through the door. Davis was sitting at the booth under a sign that read: "Beach Temporarily Quarantined Due To Sewage Pollution."

    "They (Clark and Davis) met here regularly," she said. "The mayor came in and I brought him a cup because he'd been in before, and I knew he drank coffee."

    Ordinarily she would have come back with her pad to take their breakfast orders. But this morning she sensed that the two men's minds were on something other than food.

    "I could see they were discussing something really important," she said. "I didn't want to go up and bother them, ask them what they wanted for breakfast. They were talking very quietly. It wasn't loud, but it was intense."

    After a few minutes the mayor stood up and walked quickly out of the restaurant. Davis ordered breakfast.

    Bill Graham was in the restaurant to meet his regular Tuesday morning breakfast group, which showed up late. So Graham, sitting at a nearby booth, couldn't help but notice when the mayor arrived.

    "He (Clark) was kind of huffy when he came in." Graham said, but when he sat down the conversation was quiet.

    "Jim made some sort of comment and the mayor raised his voice and said, 'No, we can't do it like that' — or words to that effect", he said. "Then Jim pointed to his lips, and the mayor said something and ran out." Sentiment at Fat City is apparently on the side of the former police chief. Boyer and McDermet learned what had taken place in the restaurant from a radio news broadcast about an hour after the mayor left.

    It was like a friend had died," Boyer said. "He (Davis) is a fine man. To have him cut short like that is unforgivable."

    McDermet said employees at the restaurant were "emotionally drained" by the experience.

    The incident has turned the little restaurant into an informal campaign headquarters for Davis, who has said he plans to run for mayor.

    "The consensus around the tables is that pea ple are upset about it and that we support him for mayor", Boyer said.

    The flap hasn't hurt business at Fat City. Since Tuesday, the traffic has been up - 25 percent to 30 percent, Boyer said.

    "About every six months the Lord gives us a real perk," Boyer said. "It's just too had it had to happen this way."

    Bud & Sigrid Clark are buried in River View Cemetery

    These two roses were taken to River View immediately after the Celebration (via Trimet and on Foot) by the author. Bud's daughter, Rachel Clark gladly pulled them out of the array.

    Bud and Sigrid Graves, no headstone yet - Photo by J Miller

    Their birthdates got swapped somehow. And Sigrid's year of death is wrong. River View is aware of this. Correct dates here, WE THINK:

    Sigrid Antonia Clark (Fehrenbacher)
    Sept 22, 1940
    ? 2000
    John Elwood "Bud" Clark Jr.
    Dec 19, 1931
    February 1, 2022

    The graves are on a hillside in Section 137 or 136, above the Willamette River, with a view of Mt Hood.

    We will update this blog post after a permanent headstone is in place.


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