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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon State Rep. Vic Gilliam Steps Down

Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network
In this February 2016 photo, Rep. Vic Gilliam sits at his desk in the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.

Oregon state Rep. Vic Gilliam, a Republican from Silverton who is battling ALS, announced Monday that he's stepping down. His resignation is effective Wednesday, the first day of the 2017 legislative session.

Gilliam told his constituents in 2015 that he was facing ALS and was easily re-elected for a sixth term last fall. In an interview last year, Gilliam said he wanted to be open about his diagnosis and that he was wrestling with how long he should continue to serve.

"At what point do you say, maybe I gotta step down and let somebody else?” he said.

Gilliam is known around the Capitol for his humor and good-natured personality. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle paid tribute to him upon learning of his impending resignation. County officials in Marion and Clackamas Counties will appoint a replacement.

"Vic was a wonderful colleague and an even better friend," House Republican leader Mike McLane said. "As a freshman legislator, I remember looking up to Vic as a statesman, who handled the people’s business with dignity and class, but without taking himself too seriously."

Democratic House Speaker Tina Kotek, who like Gilliam entered the legislature in 2007, called Gilliam "the model of a statesman and a true public servant. He served his community with honesty and integrity, and he is without a doubt the funniest guy in the Capitol."

In addition to his legislative career, Gilliam also worked as an actor. He had small parts on several television shows including "Leverage" and "Portlandia."