This note by Matthew Kaufmann salutes one of IMS’s oldest friends and supporters.
Editor in Chief
Fred Rosenbaum remembers when the Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies was just an idea that grew out of other urban programs at Portland State.
“I think it has created for itself a far bigger agenda than it started out as,” said Rosenbaum, 82, a founding member of the board of the Institute. “It went from minor issues to major issues; the economy being a major thing, urban growth boundaries, urban renewal areas.”
Rosenbaum served on the Institute’s board from its inception in 1992 until he retired earlier this year, when the Institute presented Rosenbaum with an award of appreciation for his years of service.
“I hated to quit, but I’m up to here,” he said, bringing his hand parallel to his forehead. A recent heart attack and a 13-year battle with cancer has led Rosenbaum to scale back in his schedule, but it is not in his nature to give up all of his public service endeavors.
Rosenbaum’s dedication to his community stems partly from the fact that he almost didn’t make it to the United States. He escaped out of a school window at age 12 in order to avoid the Nazi secret police in his native Austria. He eventually ended up Stateside and began a life of public service. He served in the Pacific Theater in World War II and eventually rose up to rank of brigadier general in the Oregon National Guard. He started at Reed College in Portland after the War before graduating from PSU. Rosenbaum stayed in Portland and in 1957 started an insurance and investment business, now known as Rosenbaum Financial, where he still works today with his son Mark. His bio reads as almost a directory of reputable institutes and service organizations in Portland, and his office wall features dozens of plaques and pictures of him with former governors and other dignitaries.
Among other accomplishments, Rosenbaum was the chairman of the Housing Authority of Portland for 13 years and served as chairman on the advisory committee to the School of Urban and Public Affairs at PSU. He also started Camp Rosenbaum, which for 38 years has given underprivileged children a chance to attend camp at the coast.
Rosenbaum said he still makes phone calls daily in hopes of making a difference. He remains passionate about issues in Portland as well and sees the Institute as a catalyst in city improvements in emergency planning, public housing and helping lower income families. Though Rosenbaum will no longer be formally serving the Institute, he will continue to serve his community.
“I went to a counselor for a year and half to learn how to retire. She retired, but I didn’t,” he said. “I just have to keep going as long as the dear Lord lets me.”
— Matthew Kaufmann