Retired Oregon Public Broadcasting journalist Jeff Douglas died Tuesday after a long battle with cancer.
Douglas was known for creating OPB’s “Oregon Art Beat” series and for his outdoor work on “Oregon Field Guide” and historical documentary work on “Oregon Experience.” He was also a news producer with KGW-TV.
Going back to 1968, he also founded KINK radio — playing deep cuts from albums — rather than the top 40.
Because of his many accomplishments, Douglas has often been called “the sound of Oregon.” In an interview before his death, Douglas said he was most proud of his documentary work that brought urban and rural Oregonians together.
“I could just see all these people in the urban area, which is where I’m living, who talked about an issue in one particular way and you go to the other side,” Douglas said, “they’re talking about it in an entirely different way. But they’re not really discussing what the real questions are.”
Longtime viewers might be interested to know that Jeff Douglas was not his real name — his real name was Malcolm Cross. Douglas changed it for air because when he arrived in Oregon there was another journalist called Malcolm Cross.
Douglas documented his illness on Facebook with unflinching detail and humor. In hospice, he celebrated larger Social Security checks, saying, “Based on my medical prognosis, it’s not likely I will collect.”
OPB CEO Steve Bass said many people knew Douglas from his on-air appearances, but his contributions to Oregon were often behind the scenes.
“As I recently wrote to Jeff, it’s hard to create one television series that endures, let alone three. He created programs that have bonded people to OPB through a shared love of the region where we live,” Bass said. “And each was created, nurtured and thrived because of his vision and tenacity.”