Remembering Pat Harrington
A Tribute by Jane Jarrett, Former AFO Executive Director
June 1, 2023
Patrick Charles Harrington, Hon. AIA
October 10, 1950 – May 4, 2023
The Portland architecture community recently lost a man who many of his friends and colleagues called one of the finest humans we’ve ever known.
There are beautiful tributes to Pat Harrington on his former employer, Bora’s website and in his obituary at Riverview Abbey. AFO has asked me as former Executive Director and a long-time friend and colleague of Pat, to tell you about some of the work he did for the Foundation.
It took more than one request for Pat to agree to serve on the AFO Board. He was then managing director of Bora and served on boards of several important community nonprofits. In his ten years with AFO, he did nearly everything except serve as president, an honor he repeatedly and successfully declined. Nonprofit insiders will understand that his years as Governance Committee chair made even greater contributions to the organization.
Long before most of us were fully attuned to the need for diversity, equity and inclusion, Pat was quietly assuring that the diversification of AFO’s board was beginning to take shape. As someone who was well known and deeply admired in arts, social services, educational and religious communities throughout Oregon, his relationships and his persuasive abilities were invaluable in assuring that AFO secured the best leaders available from the broadest segments both within and beyond the A/E/C professions. Ever humble, Pat much preferred leading without being in the limelight.
His participation on our strategic planning task force was equally stealthy and successful. He brought clarity of vision and practicality of purpose to the group’s deliberations. It was clear from his low-key manner that he thought everyone had abilities like his, but the rest of us were often astounded by the richness of his contributions.
Early in his AFO service, Pat was instrumental in re-shaping the annual Honored Citizen Dinner, making the honor itself coveted and the evening celebrating it one of the most anticipated and appreciated fundraising events around. With his guidance on the committee, it became not just a fun evening that raises a lot of money for AFO, but an opportunity to educate our community in an entertaining way about some of the meaningful contributions being made by our honorees and by the foundation itself.
Pat’s fellow board members and AFO staff held him in the highest esteem, and we all looked to him for guidance. He would demur, claiming that anyone could give a better answer than he. Then he would pull some magic, thoughtful rabbit out of his hat that would unfailingly point us in the right direction.
We were fortunate that Pat chose to invest his time and expertise with AFO. The foundation was blessed to enjoy his wise, thoughtful, often humorous, always engaged and deeply committed service.
As Pat was known to say frequently, Onward!
Former AFO Executive Director