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Charles R. Jordan

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Information about Charles R. Jordan

Profile image of Charles R. Jordan

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
City Parks Administrator
Foundation Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Brown
Favorite Food:
Southern Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Palm Springs, California
Favorite Quote:
You're Kidding.

Birthplace

Born:
9/1/1937
Birth Location:
Longview, Texas

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
City Parks Administrator
Foundation Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Brown
Favorite Food:
Southern Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Palm Springs, California
Favorite Quote:
You're Kidding.

Birthplace

Born:
9/1/1937
Birth Location:
Longview
See how Charles R. Jordan is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Charles Ray Jordan was born on September 1, 1937 in Longview, Texas. His mother raised Jordan along with his sister and brother working as a domestic in rural Texas. He never knew his father. At the age of thirteen his mother moved the family to Palm Springs, California where they lived on an Indian Reservation.

Jordan earned his high school diploma from Palm Springs High School in 1956. As a high school basketball star he was offered numerous athletic scholarships. From 1956 until 1961 he attended Gonzaga University in Washington where he earned his Bachelor of Science degrees in Education, Sociology and Philosophy. He did graduate work in Education at Loma Linda University and in Public Administration at the University of Southern California.

Upon graduation from Gonzaga, Jordan was unable to obtain a job in his field of study. He was forced to work as a gardener for California actors Lawrence Harvey and Jack Lambert. From 1961 until 1970 Jordan worked for the City of Palm Springs. After being hired as the first African American Recreation Leader for the city, he went on to become Assistant Director of Recreation and Assistant to the City Manager. From 1962 until 1964 he took a leave of absence to fulfill a two-year tour of duty in the United States Army. In 1970 Jordan moved to Portland, Oregon to work on the federal Model Cities Program. Jordan then went on to become Portland’s first elected African American. He served on the city council from 1974 until 1984, where he served as City Fire, Police and Parks Commissioner. From 1984 until 1989 Jordan was appointed Parks Director of Austin, Texas. In 1989 he returned to Portland to oversee its Parks system, a post he held until 2003. Jordan stepped down to take the helm at the Conservation Fund, a non-profit environmental organization.

In 1985 Jordan was appointed to the President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors by former President, Ronald Reagan. During the Clinton administration, Jordan was appointed to the American Heritage Rivers Advisory Committee. He was known worldwide for his commitment and leadership in involving African Americans in the conservation movement.

Jordan passed away on April 4, 2014, at the age of 77.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Charles R. Jordan's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charles R. Jordan lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Charles R. Jordan describes his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charles R. Jordan describes his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charles R. Jordan talks about father figures from his childhood in Longview, Texas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charles R. Jordan describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Charles R. Jordan describes his earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Charles R. Jordan describes his childhood holidays and celebrations in Longview, Texas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Charles R. Jordan describes his childhood home of Longview, Texas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Charles R. Jordan describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Charles R. Jordan talks about his experiences in elementary school in Texas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Charles R. Jordan narrates his photographs
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Charles R. Jordan talks about living on a Native American reservation in Palm Springs, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Charles R. Jordan talks about his family community in Palm Springs, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Charles R. Jordan describes his experiences growing up in the Baptist faith
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Charles R. Jordan describes his experiences at Palm Springs High School in Palm Springs, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Charles R. Jordan describes his experiences at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Charles R. Jordan describes his experiences at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Charles R. Jordan describes the events that led him into parks and recreation work in Palm Springs, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Charles R. Jordan narrates his photographs, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Charles R. Jordan describes his career in city government in Palm Springs, California
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Charles R. Jordan describes being hired to work for the City of Portland, Oregon
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Charles R. Jordan talks about his tenure on the Portland City Council
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Charles R. Jordan talks about his tenure as the parks director in Austin, Texas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Charles R. Jordan describes working with Claudia "Lady Bird" Johnson in Austin, Texas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Charles R. Jordan talks about his tenure as parks director in Portland, Oregon
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Charles R. Jordan reflects on his decision to leave the public sector
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Charles R. Jordan narrates his photographs, pt. 3
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Charles R. Jordan describes the operations of The Conservation Fund
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Charles R. Jordan talks about his experiences on the President's Commission on American Outdoors in 1984
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Charles R. Jordan describes his experience serving as chairman of The Conservation Fund
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Charles R. Jordan describes his hopes for conservation efforts in the African American community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Charles R. Jordan describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Charles R. Jordan reflects on the reasons for his success
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Charles R. Jordan offers advice to those interested in a career in the environmental field
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Charles R. Jordan describes his plans for the future
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Charles R. Jordan describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Charles R. Jordan describes why he believes history is important
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Charles R. Jordan reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Charles R. Jordan narrates his photographs, pt. 4