Past winners have been substantially involved in one or more issues important to Chair McCoy: civil rights, human rights, affirmative action, community, neighborhood, local political party, local government, environmental, or educational.
The Gladys McCoy Award was established in 1994 to honor Multnomah County individuals who have contributed outstanding community service and citizen involvement. The award is given to an individual who has exemplified the life of the late Multnomah County Chair Gladys McCoy by making major contributions to civil rights, human rights, affirmative action, children and youth, family issues, community, neighborhood, local political party, local government, environmental issues, and/or education.
Who was Gladys McCoy?
Gladys McCoy was Chair of the Multnomah County Board of County Commissioners from 1987 until her death in April 1993, having been elected to two terms. She previously served two four-year terms on the Commission representing North and Northeast Portland. Her first elected position was on the Portland School Board where she was a strong advocate for quality education. She was the first African-American to serve in these positions.
Gladys was married to the late Senator William “Bill” McCoy, Jr., with whom she had seven children. Her activities centered around children, family and civil rights. She was Oregon’s 1980 Mother of the Year, nominated by the black inmates of the Oregon State Penitentiary. She also received many other honors, including the Oregon Assembly of Black Affairs Political Development Award.
Gladys’ legacy to Multnomah County includes her unfailing concern for children and the elderly; her successful efforts to make Multnomah County employment available to all persons; and her dedication to citizen involvement.