Outpouring of support after Senator Alan Bates death

Photo of Senator Alan Bates from his website

MEDFORD, Ore.-- Senator Alan Bates office said he died suddenly on Friday at 71.

His office issued out a press release with a statement from the family. "The entire Bates family is still in shock at this sudden tragedy. We are gathering together to be there for one another in this time of need," the family said. "He was such a great man with an impact on Oregon, his community, his patients and most of all, his family. He saved so many lives through a lifetime of practicing medicine, helping generations of southern Oregonians better their health. He went on to help many more people in his work in the Oregon Legislature. His loss will be felt throughout the state. The family welcomes thoughts and prayers while we grieve together. We are comforted in the fact that he passed after a day of doing something he loved: fly fishing his son. We will always think of him when we hear the sound of the river, feel the summer sunlight and see a fly line cast upon the water."

Senator Bates represented District 3, serving Medford, Talent, Phoenix, Jacksonville, Applegate, Ruch and Ashland. According to his biography online, Dr. Bates first served in the Oregon House of Representatives from 2000-2004. He was elected to be an Oregon State Senator in 2004. He was also an established primary care physician in Medford. He served southern Oregon for more than 30 years.

Prior to his public service, Senator Bates was a Vietnam veteran, he served 10 years on the Eagle Point School Board, plus two years on the Governor's task force on Quality in Education.

With more than ten years of serving the state, the press release said, "he had become respected for his policy and leadership on health care, education, the environment and the state's budget. He developed a strong reputation for being able to bring opposing sides together, an important function in keeping the Legislature moving forward."

Governor Kate Brown issued the following statement: "Alan was a close friend, a statesman, and a doctor who was deeply committed to ensuring that every Oregonian had access to health care. He left an indelible impression on Oregon, and I will miss him forever."

Senator Ron Wyden also issued out a statement in regards to Senator Bates' passing. "As a frequent moderator of my town halls in southern Oregon and a regular adviser on virtually every important health issue to Oregon and the nation, I have watched Senator Bates pour his heart and soul into helping others. As a doctor and legislator, Alan succeeded mightily in making people's lives better -- a rich legacy that I remember as I mourn the sad news of his passing. I will always treasure Alan's wise and common-sense counsel on health care, foster care and so many other issues core to his ethic of service to others. My wife Nancy and I extend our deepest condolences to Alan's wife Laurie and their entire family."

Senator Jeff Merkley said in a statement, "Alan was a good man, a wonderful friend, and a powerful voice in the legislature. It was a pleasure to serve with him. His leadership and expertise will be deeply missed. Mary and I are holding his family in our hearts."

House Republican Leader Mike McLane said in a statement, "Our hearts are in mourning today as we grieve the loss of our friend, Senator Alan Bates. Senator Bates was a man of enormous integrity and a truly selfless public servant. He touched the lives of thousands of Oregonians through his work as both a senator and family physician."

"On behalf of House Republicans, I extend the deepest condolences to Senator Bates' family and to his colleagues and friends in the Senate. He will be dearly missed by many."

Representative Sal Esquivel said, "the sudden passing of Doctor Bates is a great loss for our community and the State of Oregon. He was always a statesman and it was an honor serving with a fellow Vietnam Veteran and a gentleman."

Cindy Mayo, Chief Executive of Southern Oregon Service Area Providence Health & Services said in a statement, "Those of us at Providence Health & Services are deeply saddened by the loss of Dr. Alan Bates. His medical service as Chief of Medicine at Providence Medford Medical Center, as well as his distinguished legislative service, were invaluable to our patients and community. He leaves behind a legacy of care and compassion. Our condolences are with his family and friends."

"My prayers go out to Senator Bates family, our community is deeply saddened by the news of his passing. I was so fortunate to get to know Doc Bates over the past few years, serving side by side on the human services budget committee. He demonstrated compassion for people in need, while keeping an eye on the taxpayer's wallet. The Senator was instrumental in making the new Grants Pass Sober Center become reality and he was even working with me to maintain drug treatment services in Grants Pass this week. His leadership and service has left a lasting legacy in Southern Oregon that will benefit future generations," Representative Duane Stark said in a statement

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