Loyd Hubbard – Southern-turned Oregonian, former chief of staff to the Oregon Senate, confidant of legendary Oregon Governor Tom McCall, manager / owner of The Empire Apartments, and advocate for ending homelessness at Baloney Joe’s – died today. He was 82.
Loyd’s family shared the news on Facebook a short time ago.
As a long-time friend and Loyd’s “spiritual advisor,” his words, I was fortunate to spend time with him this week. Richard Meyer and other close friends kept close watch over Loyd as his health declined. He wanted no memorial but I would suspect that friends will remember Loyd in different ways.
This past summer, after spending some time visiting Loyd, I wrote this post on Facebook describing our friendship and Loyd’s tireless work for the community:
Our first meeting occurred when I was just 16. A Democratic Party operative seeing some potential in a very young Chuck Currie, made it his mission to introduce me to every candidate considering a run for the democratic presidential nomination in 1988. In 1985, this included my attending a small event in the West Hills for then Senator Paul Simon (D-IL). Also there was Hubbard. Hubbard had been a confident of the legendary Tom McCall, Oregon's finest governor, and chief-of-staff to the president of the Oregon Senate. For some reason, in 1985, he thought a short man with glasses and a bow tie would make an ideal president (later I came to learn that this was because Simon was one of the most progressive members of the U.S. Senate and a person of deep integrity). Loyd took one look at me and made a joke about the cowboy boots I was wearing (in my teens and 20s - still today on special occasions - I always wore cowboy boots). The next year I ran into Hubbard again at Baloney Joe's, the always controversial and colorful shelter for homeless men, where he again made fun of my boots. Hubbard was volunteering his time at the shelter (in "retirement") bringing in major gifts. Mayor Bud Clark awarded Loyd Portland's highest honor, The Spirit of Portland Award, in 1985 for his civic work. He even once talked Doris Day into donating a diamond ring for an auction. By 1988, I'd left Pacific University after one year to spend all my time serving as a board member for Burnside Community Council, which operated Baloney Joe's (minus the summers when I had a very odd job of producing a series of summer concerts with the Oregon Symphony which drew crowds of over 75,000 to Portland's Waterfront Park...Loyd would always bring a contingent of friends from Baloney Joe's and try to start chants of of "Chuck! Chuck! Chuck!" - I'm thinking of you, Shari! - whenever I came on stage to make an announcement). Living off the $6,000 a year I made running the Waterfront Classics wasn't easy. Loyd, being Loyd, had somehow managed to come into partial ownership of "The Empire" apartments and to his ever lasting regret rented me a studio unit where I was nearly always short on rent (I went three winters there without heat) and had two cats, Freedom and Libby, known as being somewhat messy (some people will want to comment on this but restrain yourselves). The Empire was legendary. Everyone you wanted to know lived there. Some of them possibly felons on the run. But with Loyd's help and support, which included feeding me many home cooked meals and taking me and others out to great places like Alexis, I was able to start the all-volunteer Burnside Advocates Group (BAG) and begin work at Outside In. Loyd introduced me during those years to some of the most outrageous characters in Portland - from drag queens to politicians, all part of the colorful make-up that is Portland past and present. Many people from the "Empire days" are still friends and that includes not just the people who lived there but those who were always present at Loyd's dinner table and fully stocked Happy Hour bar. Loyd was there at our wedding (where he made a completely inappropriate toast in Hubbard style) and there for my ordination where he whispered to my mother: "The Lord moves in mysterious ways." Her perfect reply: "He sure does." Today we remembered these long years of friendship and enjoyed telling stories about all the people he has introduced me to along the way and some of the friends we've lost on this journey as well. Loyd, it isn't often I write a public tribute for a friend but you are one of a kind, a blessing in my life, and I love you. P.S. I will quickly email you an insult to move past this mushy stuff. See you soon!
When I was last with Loyd he had CNN on and was watching coverage of the election primary fight. He loved President Obama and was a loyal democrat who liked to win elections. Loyd was tuned in to the world around him until the very end. I will miss him.