News of the Day

Friday, April 29, 2011

Seattle Times Daily Journal of Commerce Headline
Some skeptical of big economic gains rest of year Harold Schnitzer dead at 87
Another high-rise apartment tower breaks ground PORTLAND (AP) — Harold Schnitzer, who was a Portland real estate investor, a philanthropist and one of the wealthiest men in the state, died Wednesday. He was 87.

He was diagnosed with abdominal cancer in 2009, and had diabetes since his 40s, said his son, Jordan. He said that in his father’s final days, “he decided just to let it take its course.”

Schnitzer and his wife, Arlene, were prominent donors, with gifts since 1993 totaling $80 million, according to the Oregonian newspaper. They gave to the Portland Art Museum, the Harold Schnitzer Diabetic Health Center at Oregon Health & Science University, and Judaic studies programs at the University of Oregon and Portland State University.

After graduating from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and serving in the U.S. Army, Schnitzer started what now is Schnitzer Steel Industries with his father and brothers. He struck out on his own in 1951 to make his fortune in commercial real estate.

“He was a brilliant businessman,” said his son, who now runs the company. “He started out with very little, and he built it up, bit by bit by bit.”

His contributions were acknowledged by the likes of Gov. John Kitzhaber, as well as by medical executives and arts patrons. “Anyone who has ever met Harold knows of his amazing generosity of spirit,” said Allan Price, president of the OHSU Foundation.

“We are losing a combination of vision, passion and wealth that has changed the face of every institution he’s become part of,” a longtime friend, Bruce Guenther, chief curator of the Portland Art Museum, told the Oregonian. “No one is ready to step into Harold Schnitzer’s shoes.”

Schnitzer worked until January, said his son. He spent his last weeks tying up personal affairs and business and pushing civic projects to completion, his son said.

“It was a wonderfully slow goodbye,” Jordan Schnitzer said.

Schnitzer is survived by his wife, son, a brother, a sister and two granddaughters.

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About CRE Northwest

Specialist in office & investment real estate in Seattle & the Eastside
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