Pioneering TV journalist Dick Bogle dies

Hazel Dell resident was also a volunteer detective

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter

Published:

Updated: February 25, 2010, 7:18 PM

 

Dick Bogle, Oregon’s first black TV journalist, former Portland City Commissioner and Clark County resident, died Thursday morning of congestive heart failure.

Bogle was in and out of hospitals, nursing facilities and rehabilitation programs for severe pain in his spine since October, his wife of 33 years, Nola, said Thursday evening. Bogle returned home Jan. 26 and was making strides toward recovery, she said.

“He was enthusiastic and happy,” she said.

But on Monday, Bogle lost consciousness following severe coughing spell and was put on life support at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center. Bogle’s condition worsened until his family took him off life support Thursday morning, Nola Bogle said. He was 79.

Bogle, a fifth-generation Oregonian, and Nola moved to Hazel Dell about five years ago. He is survived by his son Richard “Buddy” Bogle of Mount Vernon, and daughters Richelle Lewellyn of Los Angeles, Renita Byrd of Decatur, Ga., Ericka Turay of Beaverton, Ore., and ­Tiffany Peaks of Palmer, Alaska.

In 1968, Bogle launched a 15-year career as a reporter and news anchor at KATU News. He then went on to become Portland’s second black city commissioner, serving from 1985 to 1993. He also worked as a policeman for the Portland Police Bureau prior to his career in TV news.

“I’ve always looked upon my life as being one of service,” Bogle told The Columbian in June. “I tried to do that in journalism and in police work, obviously. And then in public office.”

Cracking cold cases

In his retirement, Bogle continued to pursue his passions. For 15 years he hosted weekly jazz radio broadcasts on Mt. Hood Community College’s public radio station and helped solve old murders for Portland Police’s cold case homicide unit.

As a volunteer, Bogle was on a team working to crack nearly 300 unsolved murders dating to the 1960s. Bogle used information from detectives to write a short synopsis of each case for the unit’s Web site.

Bogle’s interest in law enforcement was sparked decades earlier when he was in his 20s and working as a private investigator of insurance fraud cases. It was then when Bogle also began to feel the impact of racial discrimination. Though most investigators doubled as guards in the city, Bogle was sent home without pay because the agency didn’t allow black guards.

But Bogle never let his skin color stand in his way and took his place in Oregon TV news history.

“It was meant to show people it was possible,” he told The Columbian.

Bogle also knew what he stood to lose had he let discrimination interfere with fulfilling his dreams.

“Don’t put limits on yourself,” he said. “I never do.”

Nola Bogle said she will remember her husband for his love of his friends, family, community, church, jazz music and his passion for life.

“That says it all,” she said, “just a passion for life.”