In Memoriam: Dick Montgomery

The Portland maritime community lost a great friend, historian and advocate with the passing of Dick Montgomery in July.

Montgomery handled advertising and public relations for the Commission for Public Docks from 1957 to 1971, including two successful bond campaigns. “Working on behalf of the Citizens Committee that benefited the Commission of Public Docks, I am particularly proud of helping to pass two general obligation bond measures,” said Montgomery in a past interview. “The two-to-one voter margin raised $22 million for Portland’s first container cranes and other harbor improvements.”

He contributed a wealth of knowledge and expertise during and after his 19 year career with the Port, retiring in 1995 as Maritime Public Affairs Manager. He was the editor of Portside, a popular publication read by many Port partners and stakeholders. Montgomery never truly left the Port, however, as he remained engaged as an informal mentor, historian, and committed champion of promoting trade on the river system. He was a regular attendee at Port Commission meetings and was on hand for events such as the 100-year anniversary of the Commission for Public Docks, Gateway to the Globe and most recently the opening of the dredge exhibit at the Oregon History Museum in May.

Montgomery was a past President of the Oregon Maritime Museum, and raised half a million dollars for upgrades to the Steamer Portland upon which the museum is located. He was also a docent for the museum, and you can still hear his voice narrating some of its videos. A great writer who penned a weekly transportation column in the Daily Shipping News for more than a dozen years, and numerous letters to The Oregonian editors, his last piece in the Spring issue of the museum’s newsletter, The Port Quarter, was about how history shaped the Port of Portland of today.

As written in the Spring 2007 Portside feature Titans of Trade, “With a love of the river and the state, Dick takes pride in his work and that of the Port, never missing the opportunity to share a bit of history, a signature story, or impart a word of ‘Old Salt’ wisdom.” Montgomery was the 1993 recipient of the “Old Salt” award, presented by the Portland Shipping Club for long service promoting the Columbia River shipping industry.