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Bucket List

OCF, toilet cleaning, law, Obama and the Dalai Lama

Lawrence Taylor may be in his 30th year cleaning toilets at the Oregon Country Fair, but there is more to his story than sanitation. This criminal defender once held demonstrations with President Barack Obama at Harvard Law and, if that wasn’t enough, drove His Holiness the Dalai Lama around Portland during his recent visit. “That currently has me on cloud nine,” he says. 

Experiencing the Oregon Country Fair has an effect on him, too — even now, in his 40th year attending. An Oregon native, Taylor, 58, went to the UO for undergrad and became hooked on OCF after his freshman year. “I went out there and it was just mind-blowing,” he says. “It was just another world. I’ve found a way to be there ever since.” 

And he wants to be there forever — literally. He says OCF’s Main Stage in particular has been a second home, and his kids know to make it permanent. “When I ask my kids where they should scatter my ashes, they say, ‘Yeah, we know, Dad. It’s at the Fair, and right between your campsite and the Main Stage Meadow, right?’ There are few places at the Fair I don’t love.” 

There isn’t much about law that he doesn’t love, either. Licensed in Oregon in 1992, he worked as a public defender in Coos and Douglas counties before continuing his criminal defense work in Portland as a sole practitioner. At age 10 he settled on his profession, initially inspired by E.G. Marshall and shows like The Defenders. Additionally, the Chicago Convention in 1968, he says, “really radicalized me.”

As a result, he arrived at Harvard for law school focusing on more than just his studies. He worked with Obama, whom he says “everybody knew.” 

“He was extremely high-profile figure,” he adds. “It was no surprise to me at all when he started developing a political career.” 

Meeting His Holiness was surprising, though. “Getting to shake hands and look him in the eye,” he says, “this was definitely the best thing off my bucket list so far.” 

At the OCF, he deals with another kind of bucket, so thank him for OCF’s sanitation.