Julia Butler Hansen Refuge
Pacific Region

Vision Statement

Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for the Columbian Whitetailed Deer is a stronghold for the conservation of this once nearly extinct species. Columbian whitetailed deer and other wildlife thrive here in a mosaic of meadows, wetlands, and riparian forests characteristic of the lower Columbia River watershed. Natural processes and management activities support a broad range of native plants and wildlife from Sitka spruce swamps to wild salmon. The Refuge staff works closely with a variety of partners, both on and off the Refuge, to accomplish Refuge purposes.

Who was Julia Butler Hansen?

Julia Butler Hansen (1907-1988), born Julia Caroline Butler, June 14, 1907, in Portland, Oregon, USA, served as a member of the Unites States House of Representativesfrom 1960-1974. She represented Washington's Third Congressional District as a Democrat. She was the second woman and first Democratic woman elected to Congress from Washington.

Her father, Donald C. Butler, was sheriff of Wahkiakum County and her mother, Maude (Kimball), was named Washington's "Mother of the Year" in 1960. Hansen attended public school in Washington. She attended Oregon State College from 1924-1926, and graduated from the University of Washington (Seattle) with a Bachelor of Arts in home economics in 1930.

Hansen's political career began as a member of the Cathlamet, Washington city council, where she served from 1938-1946. She served in the Washington State Legislature as a member of the State House of Representatives from January 1939 until November 1960, serving as the first woman speaker pro tempore from 1955-1960. She served as chairman of the Western Interstate Committee on Highway Policies for 11 western states from 1951-1961.

She was elected simultaneously as a Democrat to the Eighty-sixth and to the Eighty-seventh Congress by special election, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of United States Representative Russel V. Mack, and was reelected to the six succeeding Congresses (November 8, 1960-December 31, 1974). She served on the House Appropriations Committee after serving for years on Education, Labor, Veteran's Affairs, Interior and Insular Affairs Committees. She did not run for reelection in 1974, and was appointed in 1975 to a six-year term on the Washington State Toll Bridge Authority and State Highway Commission. She served as chairman of the Washington State Transportation Commission from 1979-1981.

She is honored by the Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife Refuge for the Columbian White-tail Deer, established in 1972 in Cathlamet; the Julia Butler Hansen Elementary School, opened in 1994 in Olympia Washington and the Julia Butler Hansen Bridge connecting Cathlamet to Puget Island, Washington.
Hansen was married to Henry Hansen, a logger; they were parents of one natural son, David and Henry's adopted son Richard. She lived in Cathlamet until her death there on May 3, 1988.

For more information contact:

Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for the Columbian White-tailed Deer
PO Box 566
Cathlamet, WA 98612

or Click Here to email us.

Last updated: March 30, 2012