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Vera Katz, longtime Portland mayor, dies

In this Aug 25, 2003 file photo, Portland Mayor Vera Katz smiles as she holds a baseball cap following a news conference in Portland, Ore. (Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)
In this Aug 25, 2003 file photo, Portland Mayor Vera Katz smiles as she holds a baseball cap following a news conference in Portland, Ore. (Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)
By Gillian Flaccus Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. – Vera Katz, a former three-term Portland mayor and first female speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives, has died. She was 84.

In a statement, her family said she died Monday but did not give a cause of death.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon is remembering her as an “indomitable woman” critical to Oregon’s legacy as a liberal leader.

Katz was a one-time stay-at-home mom who went on to serve a combined 30 years in the Oregon legislature and Portland city government.

She was espoused progressive causes such as gender equality and gay rights long before they were main stream and helped shape modern-day Portland.

Katz escaped Nazi Germany with her family as a child by hiking over the Pyrenees.

She struggled in recent years with complications from cancer.

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