This oral history interview with Vera Katz was conducted by Linda S. Dodds at Katz's home in Portland, Oregon, from April 28 to May 19, 1982. At the time of the interview, Dodds' name was Linda S. Brody. The interview was conducted in two sessions.
In the first interview session, conducted on April 28, 1982, Katz discusses her family's immigration to the United States from Nazi Germany in 1940. She talks about her early life in New York City, including her education and learning English. She then discusses her experience studying sociology and psychology at Brooklyn College; talks about her interest in modern dance and studying under Martha Graham; and speaks about her marriage to Mel Katz. She also briefly talks about working in marketing while in New York. She then discusses relocating to Portland, Oregon, in 1964, in order to support Mel Katz's career, and describes her early impressions of Portland. She talks about the beginnings of her political career working for Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign. She discusses lobbying the Legislature with the Kennedy Action Corps and how that led to her ultimately running to represent Multnomah County in the Oregon Legislature in 1972. She talks about her campaign, legislation she worked on, and her involvement with the Women's Caucus. She also talks about balancing her home life in Portland with her role as a legislator in Salem.
In the second interview session, conducted on May 19, 1982, Katz continues discussing representing Multnomah County in the Oregon Legislature from 1973 to the time of the interview in 1982. She continues talking about legislation she worked on, and discusses working with lobbyists and her fellow legislators. She talks about representing and connecting with her constituency, her role in Democratic party leadership in the Legislature, and her committee assignments. She discusses her experience as a woman legislator; describes her political philosophy; and speaks about serving on the Ways and Means committee. She closes the interview by discussing her plans for the future.