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As It Was: Marjorie O’Harra Writes Southern Oregon History

Southern Oregon native Marjorie O’Harra was appointed Jackson County’s first female commissioner in 1973, where she pushed for the establishment of the Bear Creek Greenway.
O’Harra graduated from Ashland High School in 1945, marrying Robert “Bob” O’Harra two years later and raising a family in Ashland. 

She attended the University of Oregon Journalism School before working for the Medford Mail Tribune and the Ashland Daily Tidings.  In the 1960s she wrote a column titled “From the desk of Marjorie O’Harra.”  Her writing focused on local people and history, including her weekly columns in the two newspapers, three books, and still found time to contribute anecdotes for the Jefferson Public Radio series titled “As It Was.”

In 1981 she wrote a history book titled “Ashland: its first 130 years” and another in 2000 titled “Ashland in Transition: the 1980’s and 1990’s.” She published a travel book in 1985 titled “Southern Oregon: short trips into history.”

She was a leader in forming the Ashland Railroad Heritage District.

O’Harra died on July 9, 2019, at the age of 91 in Medford, Ore., where she was born.

Source: Marjorie O'Harra Obituary, Mail Tribune, July 14, 2019, www.soobituaries.com/adportal/listingView.html?id=1411.

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.