Elleda Wilson: What's in your attic?

Sep. 22—The Oregon State Capitol Foundation wants to track down around 27 missing governors' portraits, many from the late 19th century, and wonders how many of those paintings are sitting forgotten in peoples' attics. "We know many oil paintings of territorial and state governors were lost when the Capitol burned in 1935," Joan Plank, foundation board member, said, "but we also know some of them were saved from the fire.

"My grandfather Arch Geer, who I called Pappy, helped rescue portraits of the governors from the walls of the burning building, including Gov. Geer's portrait, but it vanished. Years later, Pappy found the Geer portrait in Walden Hall at Willamette University. After its restoration, the painting made its way to the Geer building at MacLaren School, eventually making its way back to the Capitol." Gov. T.T. Geer's portrait is shown.

Just last year the foundation was informed by Claire Withycombe, great-great-granddaughter of Gov. James Withycombe (both are pictured), that she discovered his formal portrait hanging in her grandmother's home. So there's hope that there are more missing portraits still out there, waiting to be found.

The list of missing portraits is at bit.ly/gonegovs. If you know where one is, email oscf@oregoncapitolfoundation.org or call 503-363-1859.

By the way, the foundation doesn't want to reclaim the portraits. They just want to know they still exist, and where they are. The location will be kept private.