Through some somber moments
on the House floor, Oregon representatives ultimately unanimously passed House
Concurrent Resolution 206 on Feb. 23, a memorial tribute to Oregon AFSCME
member Buddy Ray Herron.
The 42-year-old Herron was
killed Nov. 28 on his way to Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution, where he
was a Corrections Officer and a member of Local 3361. Coming from his home in
rural Helix near midnight, Herron stopped to help an apparent stranded
motorist. In fact, the motorist was a young man with a troubled past and a long
criminal history; in a struggle over Herron's vehicle, he dealt Herron wounds
that ultimately proved fatal. He was arrested in nearby Hermiston soon
thereafter and awaits trial.
Feb. 23 was a day to honor
Herron. The Oregon Department of Corrections' color guard unit presented the
U.S. and Oregon flags during the House chamber's opening ceremonies. Although
Herron's family was unable to attend, representatives from the DOC —
including new Director Colette Peters — and several AFSCME
representatives were on hand.
Longtime Council 75 Public
Safety lobbyist Mary Botkin was instrumental in drafting the language of HCR
206 and bird-dogging it through a complicated process. The measure was carried
on the floor by state Rep. Bob Jenson (R-Pendleton), whose district includes
An emotional Jenson paused
several times while reading the resolution's text to his House colleagues.
"Officer Herron stopped to
help a person who obviously didn't deserve that help," said Jenson. "Despite
this tragedy, his wife sent us a message saying that Buddy, in his memory,
would never want people to not do the right thing and not stop to help a
stranger. That's his legacy to us all today."
HCR 206 was met with
applause and a quick 60-0 vote. It moves on to the Senate, where a similar
result is expected soon, and then a ceremonial copy will be made available to
the family once signed by Gov. John Kitzhaber.
The full text of HCR 206 is
included as a PDF attachment to this article.