Richard J. Brownstein, 80, passed away Jan. 24, 2011, from a heart attack. Richard is survived by his wife, Donna Brownstein; sons,
Jerome Brownstein (Cherie) and Richard Brownstein II (Patricia); daughter, Jois Brownstein (Dudi Amir); stepsons, Robert Sacks (Nicole) and Mark Sacks; and sister, Helen Runstein. He was born June 29, 1930, in Los Angeles to Vera and Alfred Brownstein. Dick attended Reed College and received his law degree from the Willamette University College of Law in 1953. He served both institutions on their boards. He was admitted to the Oregon State Bar in 1953 and practiced for 20 years with the firm that was ultimately named White, Sutherland, Brownstein & Parks. In 1973 he was the founding partner of Brownstein, Rask, Sweeney, Kerr, Grim, DeSylvia & Hay, LLP. He actively practiced with that firm to the time of his passing. Dick practiced law for 58 years. He was a retired colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, Judge Advocate General's Corps. Dick was committed to community service throughout his life beginning in high school when he served as student body president of Lincoln High School and the international president of
Aleph Zedik Aleph. Dick's commitment to human rights was highlighted by his appointment and tenure as general counsel of the Housing Authority of Portland from 1960 to 2004. His closest personal friend and then HAP chairman, Fred Rosenbaum, had the revolutionary concept of constructing public housing in a Portland suburb. Dick chose Hillsdale. Dick worked hand in hand with Fred Rosenbaum to solicit the support of neighborhood religious institutions, the community and political leaders. With their hard work, the Hillsdale Terrace project was approved and built. Dick was also a member of the Portland Civil Rights Committee, the Oregon Advisory Committee of the U.S. Civil Rights Committee, the Committee on Integration of Portland Schools of the Portland City Club and chairman of the Metropolitan Human Rights Commission. Through the Oregon State Bar, Dick was secretary of the Civil Rights Committee and co-author of the Oregon State Bar Affirmative Action Program and chairman of the Affirmative Action Committee. The Oregon State Bar Association is the only state bar association that sponsors and pays for an affirmative action program. This initial program was a direct result of Dick's leadership in 1974 and in 2007 when the program was continued. Dick was also actively involved in the Portland Jewish community. Dick's most significant Jewish-related legal representation was pro bono. Cedar Sinai Park issued $11.5 million in revenue bonds for the construction of the Rose Schnitzer Manor in 1996. He served as issuer's counsel in negotiating the underwriting of the bonds. Again in 2005, he represented Cedar Sinai as issuer's counsel for its $9.2 million in revenue refunding bonds. Dick was also president of Portland Lodge, B'nai B'rith, Congregation Neveh Shalom and the Institute of Jewish Studies; vice president of Jewish Federation of Greater Portland; a director of the Mittleman Jewish Community Center; and a member of the board of governors of B'nai B'rith International. Dick loved Portland. He never missed an opportunity to go on training runs in his beloved Forest Park, and ultimately capitalized on those outings enough to be able to run 19 marathons, his first when he was 54. Dick was a consummate storyteller whose infectious laugh could frequently be heard during the intermission of the opera at the Schnitz, in the restaurants of the University Club or at the table sharing dinner with friends. A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011, at Congregation Nevah Shalom, 2900 S.W. Peaceful Lane, Portland, OR 97239. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made in Dick's honor to the Friends of Forest Park.
Published in The Oregonian on January 27, 2011