Remembering Art

I used to say to Vanguard employees that working for the student newspaper, while a serious undertaking, was a chance to learn about the journalism and publications trade. I told the writers, photographers and graphic designers they would make mistakes (and we all did), but the goal was to learn from those mistakes. With an ever-evolving staff, we made a lot of the same mistakes over and over again.

And always watching from the sidelines with a fatherly eye was Art.

Art Chenoweth worked at the Vanguard because he enjoyed writing, but he also loved engaging with students and living the college experience to the full. Art never judged us for our ignorance or mistakes despite his own vast background in journalism and public relations.

He just sat back and soaked it all in because the student experience of making and learning from mistakes – the essence of college – was why Art came to Portland State and the Vanguard in the first place.

Change at student newspapers should occur on a regular basis. As you progress through the college years, you eventually outgrow the university environment and move on to the rest of your life. Art had experienced life to the fullest already and was ready to start making some mistakes again himself. (He enrolled in a Japanese language class every term I knew him and still could only speak a little.)

Art’s stalwart presence gave all of us at the Vanguard a sense that we were really doing all right as long as we kept doing our best, despite our mistakes. And as long as we kept doing our best, Art kept cheering us on in his quiet but steady presence.

Andrea J. Barnum worked at the Vanguard from 1998-2001 as a news writer, news editor, and editor-in-chief.


I first met Art Chenoweth about 36 years ago, when as a new reporter on the Oregonian staff, I was assigned to cover some aspect of the Portland Rose Festival, and Art was the public relations director.

Hard-nosed reporters in those days, when the Oregonian covered virtually every petal of the entire festival, tended to sneer a bit at what seemed a hokey civic endeavor. Art brought me up short with a gentle but direct lecture about the value the Rose Festival gave to Portland, and then he was graciously helpful.

Art worked for the Oregonian’s then Sunday “Northwest Magazine” in the late 1970s when I was the city editor, and we had many pleasant working experiences. He was always a dogged pursuer of the facts and a keen writer of both magazine-style and news pieces.

In 1995, when I became adviser for Student Publications at Portland State University, I was pleasantly surprised to see Art working as a reporter for the Vanguard while being a student in the university’s Senior Adult Learning Center.

As he had over earlier decades, Art continued his dedicated and incisive reporting and writing, and maintained his delightful sense of humor. On many occasions, I enjoyed listening to Art tenaciously pursuing news sources on the telephone. If Art had been on your tail, you might as well have given up early because he would have gotten you in the end. I will miss him sorely.

Judson Randall has been publications advisor at Portland State since 1995.


Art Chenoweth was more than just a reporter. He was an institution in and of himself. As the longest working Vanguard writer – by many, many years – his mind contained more knowledge of Portland State than all of our staff combined.

As an “older returning student,” Art was both an inspiration and a pain in the ass.

He was an inspiration because he outworked all of us young kids. He was meticulous in his research, kept a log of his contacts, which he cultivated constantly, and understood how to corner a source and get an answer, even if it couldn’t be printed.

Art was a pain in the ass for all the same reasons. While we were all giddy at our newfound journalistic prowess, running around like chickens with our heads cut off, and acting like whatever we were doing on any particular day would change the world, Art would saunter into the office, make a couple of phone calls, type up his story in an hour or two and hand it in with little to no fanfare.

Because he had seen it all.

Art went through countless cycles of agitated college kids and knew that come the end of the year, he would see a new cycle. There was no reason, in his mind, to get worked up over anything. That could put a damper on a 21-year-old’s first above-the-fold cover story on the most recent drama in student government really quickly.

When I heard of Art’s passing, I was incredibly sad. But Art found a way to do what he loved until the end. I just hope that when I go, people will say the same of me.

Erin Lloyd worked at the Vanguard from 2000-2003 as a news writer and editor-in-chief.