• "Oregon is an inspiration. Whether you come to it, or are born to it, you become entranced by our state's beauty, the opportunity she affords, and the independent spirit of her citizens."
Address to the 1973 Legislature

  • "You and I shouldn't claim we love Oregon more than anyone else, but that we love Oregon as much as anyone. Our thoughts today, and our deliberations to come, must spring from our determination to keep Oregon lovable and to make it even more livable."
Address to the 1973 Legislature

  • "Quality of life is the sum total of the fairness of our tax structure; the caliber of our homes; the cleanliness of our air and water; and the provision of affirmative assistance to those who cannot assist themselves. True quality is absent if we allow social suffering to abide in an otherwise pristine environment."
Address to the 1973 Legislature

  • "The interests of Oregon for today and in the future must be protected from the grasping wastrels of the land. We must respect another truism - that unlimited and unregulated growth, leads inexorably to a lowered quality of life."
Address to the 1973 Legislature

  • "If the salmon and steelhead are running, then as far as I am concerned, God knows that all is well in His world…the health of the environment is good if the salmon and steelhead are around. It is that simple."
From the Association of Nothwest Steelheaders website. Attributed
to remarks Tom McCall made when he was inducted into the
Association's Hall of Fame.

  • "…Oregon is demure and lovely, and it ought to play a little hard to get. And I think you'll be just as sick as I am if you find it is nothing but a hungry hussy , throwing herself at every stinking smokestack that's offered." (1982)

  • "This activist loves Oregon more than he loves life."
1982 Campaign to fight Measure 6, a repeal of Oregon's Land Use Law.

  • "You all know I have terminal cancer - and I have a lot of it. But what you may not know is that stress induces its spread and induces its activity. Stress may even bring it on. Yet stress is the fuel of the activist."
1982 Campaign to fight Measure 6, a repeal of Oregon's Land Use Law.

  • "We want you to visit our State of Excitement often. Come again and again. But for heaven's sake, don't move here to live. Or if you do have to move in to live, don't tell any of your neighbors where you are going." (1971)

  • "We who are privileged to be in these chambers today can view the challenges we face as opportunities, not as reasons for despair. We can do this only if we blend our independent spirits in terms of reverence for the life and respect for nature. Each of you might suggest different words, but our goal certainly is the same: a better Oregon."
Inaugural message to the 1971 Oregon Legislature

  • "May your quest go well.
    May we continue to find accord and high purpose.
    May we forever prove (by our action) that people can join together for mutual benefit and greater good.
    May we continue to work together.
    May we face and endure every winter with spring . . . forever on our mind."
Farewell address to Oregon Legislature 1975

  • "I am just…wondering, where is the glow of yesteryear? I'm wondering where the heroes went. Gosh, I don't know how long ago they left. Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say: This is my community, and it is my responsibility to make it better. Interweave all these communities, and you really have an America that is back on its feet, a comfortable nation to live in again. I really think we're gonna have to reassess what constitutes a hero."
Tom McCall's interview with Author Studs Terkel