MIKE THORNE LOOKED GOOD FOR THIS REGION

August 14, 2001 11:00 pm

Mike Thorne appeared to have a lot going for him as a possible candidate for Oregon governor in the 2002 election. Still, after traveling the state since June with his wife, Jill, Thorne announced last week he will not make a bid for the Democratic nomination to replace Gov. John Kitzhaber.

Thorne, a rancher from Pendleton, is remembered as an effective member of the Oregon Legislature for two decades beginning in 1972. More recently, the former state senator served as executive director of the Port of Portland.

Thornes 10 years of service with the port gave him strong connections with business and industry in Oregon and an immersion into urban politics.

During his legislative years and time as port director, Thorne remained involved with his Pendleton wheat ranch. The people of Eastern Oregon still think of him as one of their own.

Still, Thorne would have been wearing an odd set of clothing as a Democratic Party candidate for the entire state. Thorne was a popular legislator in Eastern Oregon because he was considered a fiscal conservative.

Thornes conservative bent may not have played too well with liberal Democrats in the Willamette Valley. Thorne would have needed their support in order to succeed in Mays election.

Thorne, 60, also was facing an uphill struggle in running against Democrats such as former Supreme Court Justice Ted Kulongoski, former State Treasurer Jim Hill and former Multnomah County Commission chairwoman Bev Stein. Thorne does not have the name familiarity around the state of some of these people.

Eastern Oregonians can only wonder how the governors office and its legislative priorities would have been shaped by Thorne. He would have been in a good position to balance the economic development and other needs of rural Oregonians with the demands and concerns of the metropolitan area and the Willamette Valley. We must now look for other candidates for governor who can do that.

SMOKING OVER INCIDENT

The editors of the Deseret News in Utah saw the error in their ways and have retracted a controversial doctoring of a picture of James Dean.

The Salt Lake City paper digitally altered a large photograph of the late movie star in its Aug. 3 edition to remove a cigarette from Deans lips. The photo ran with a story on James Dean enigmatic icon. The manipulation violated the papers policy against changing photos, and managing editor Rick Hall owned up to the error in a clarification that ran Thursday.

It might be tempting to remove some gray from someones temples, add a little hair to a balding head or trim some pounds from the abs, but newspapers must avoid such manipulations. Doctoring a photo is as serious as publishing false statements about someone in a news story.