PORTLAND State Treasurer Ben Westlund, an independent spirit in Oregon politics and a passionate advocate of health care reform, died Sunday after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 60.
Westlund was diagnosed in 2003 but survived to win election to a Senate seat to which he had been appointed. In October, he said he was undergoing treatment for a recurrence.
He was in his office as recently as Tuesday and participated in a conference call on Thursday, said Stacey Dycus, his campaign manager. She said he went to a hospice Saturday in Bend.
“He worked right up to the end,” she said.
Westlund served 12 years in the Oregon Legislature, first as a Republican, then as an independent and finally as a Democrat. In 2008, he was elected treasurer as a Democrat.