Since You Asked
Ford made visit during '76 election I have a photo of President Gerald Ford visiting Medford. He spoke at Medford's Library Park. When was he here? What was the reason for the visit? What other presidents visited Medford?
' Larry S., Jacksonville
President Gerald R. Ford visited Medford on May 22, 1976, Larry, and did indeed speak at Library Park. Air Force One landed at 11 a.m., and Ford spent about 45 minutes touring Medford Corporation's plywood plant.
His motorcade went down Interstate 5 to Barnett and came up Grape. He was introduced that day by former Congressman John Dellenback and shared the dais with former Congressman Wendell Wyatt, Jackson County Commissioner Tam Moore, Medford Mayor Ben Fagone and former state Sen. Lynn Newbry. Several thousand people turned out.
The reason for the visit was politics. Ford, who succeeded to the presidency when Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace, was facing a challenge from Ronald Reagan in the Oregon Republican primary three days later. He plugged a proposed tax cut and claimed he had restored faith in the presidency after Nixon's scandals. He turned back Reagan's challenge but lost in November to Jimmy Carter.
Ford returned as a former president in 1980.
Presidents Rutherford B. Hayes (September 1880) and George Bush (September 1992) both visited while in office. The list of presidents who visited while not in office includes Herbert Hoover, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.
Teddy Roosevelt may have passed through on a train once, and Jimmy Carter planned a stop in 1976 that was aborted due to mechanical problems with his plane.
Send questions to Since You Asked, Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to