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Former Portland Mayor, City Commissioner Dead

October 18, 1985

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ Former Mayor Fred L. ″Pete″ Peterson, who often referred to himself as ″the elephant mayor″ for spurring effort to expand the city’s zoo, has died at the age of 89.

The retired pharmacist and one-term mayor died Wednesday of liver cancer in a Portland nursing home.

During his one term as the city’s 40th mayor that began in 1953, construction began on the largest conduit from Bull Run reservoir, and Peterson introduced and won voter approval of street light and dock improvements, the zoo expansion and creation of the building that became Memorial Coliseum.

Washington Park Zoo’s elephant herd was founded during his administration.

Peterson defeated incumbent Dorothy McCullough Lee in 1952, and was in turn defeated by Multnomah County Sheriff Terry D. Schrunk in 1956. Peterson served 12 years on the City Council, beginning in 1941.

Born in Owatonna, Minn., the lifelong Republican moved to Portland with his parents in 1902.

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