Former Oregon governor donated land for summer camp in memory of his mother

Julius Meier was a businessman, civic leader and politician who served as the 20th governor of Oregon from 1931-35. But he was also a benefactor, along with several family members, of a Jewish camp that still exists today.

Meier_Julius_OrHi_87416Meier and his family gifted acreage on Devil’s Lake in Oregon to the B’nai B’rith Camp (aka BB Camp) in 1928. The land donation, which included $5,000 for other expenses to establish the camp, was made in memory of Meier’s mother, Jeanette, according to an Oregon Jewish Life article on the camp.

Three years later, Meier was elected governor as an independent, the only in Oregon’s history and one of only eight independents to ever be elected governor in the U.S. (Alaska Governor Bill Walker was the most recent in 2014).

Meier only served one term as Governor and then retired to his country estate near Portland that he named Menucha (Hebrew for rest and relaxation).

The retreat is owned today by the Portland First Presbyterian Church and operated as the Menucha Retreat and Conference Center. So in a way you could say the former governor was partly responsible for creating two camps.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at and I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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