Ben Selling

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Ben Selling
Ben Selling.jpeg
27th Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives
In office
Preceded byClifton N. McArthur
Succeeded byRobert N. Stanfield
MajorityRepublican Party
Member of the Oregon House of Representatives from the 18th District
In office
Preceded byRobert W. Hagood
Succeeded byA. C. Callen
ConstituencyClackamas and Multnomah counties
President of the Oregon Senate
In office
Preceded byJay Bowerman
Succeeded byDonald Malarkey
MajorityRepublican Party
Member of the Oregon State Senate from the 1st District
In office
Member of the Oregon State Senate from the 13th District
In office
Personal details
Political partyRepublican Party

Ben Selling (1852[1] or April 29, 1853 – 1931) was a businessman, philanthropist, civil rights advocate, and politician in Portland, Oregon, United States. He was a noted leader in the Jewish community, and he owned a clothing store in downtown Portland.[2]

Selling arrived in Portland with his family in circa 1862. He started with a boot and shoe business, then a clothing store.[1] He was regarded as "the outstanding Jewish leader in Portland", receiving the first First Citizen Award from the Portland Realty Board in 1928.[1] MacColl remarked the choice of Selling was ironic because he "possessed none of the acquisitive instincts ... associated with the realty trade."[1] He also organized kitchens for the unemployed during the Panic of 1893 and Panic of 1907, serving over 450,000 meals.[1] He heavily supported the Armenian Relief Society, bought $400,000 in Liberty Bonds during World War I, and supported the Waverly Baby Home and Jewish Neighborhood House, both in Portland.[1] MacColl also stated "Suffice it to say, Ben Selling probably gave away more money in proportion to his income than any Oregon citizen since the state was founded."[1]

He served on the Port of Portland Commission, then on the Portland Dock Commission.[1] After being elected to the Oregon State Senate in 1910, he served as President of the Senate for one session in 1911.[2][3] He was also Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives for one session, 1915.[2][4] He ran for the United States Senate in 1912, losing by a few hundred votes to Harry Lane.[2]

After he died in 1931, four of his 40 employees sued his estate, saying he had promised the business to them.[1] Their claims were rejected, as Selling was known for being honest and writing everything down.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j MacColl, E. Kimbark (1979). The Growth of a City: Power and Politics in Portland, Oregon 1915-1950. Portland, Oregon: The Georgian Press. ISBN 0-9603408-1-5.
  2. ^ a b c d Friedman, Elaine S. "Ben Selling". The Oregon Encyclopedia.
  3. ^
  4. ^

External links[edit]