About Paul Diller
My mother was a public school teacher for over 25 years. She taught me the value of education and hard work at a young age. My father was a brilliant and gentle man who worked for U.S. Customs at the World Trade Center in New York City. His mental illness ultimately forced him to leave his job. Had it not been for my mother’s union-negotiated health insurance benefits, we would have fallen on very hard times. After retiring as a teacher, my mother returned to school to earn a master’s in library science and has worked as a librarian since then.
My grandparents played a big role in my upbringing. My maternal grandparents were refugees from Nazi Germany. My great-grandparents and many other relatives died in the Holocaust. Other family hid during the war or escaped to countries around the world. My paternal grandparents lived in Colorado in a two-bedroom house on a rural property with donkeys and horses. Periodic visits to them, which included road trips to the Grand Canyon and the Pacific Northwest, were highlights of my childhood.
After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, I worked for an organization that trained young people in progressive political activism. After later working for the Congressional Budget Office in Washington, D.C., I attended the University of Michigan Law School. There I participated in law review and moot court, and pursued a desire to work in public law and government. After law school I clerked for a federal judge and then worked as a trial attorney for the Department of Justice, gaining great experience in courtroom litigation and knowledge of government’s inner workings.
Seeing the beauty of the Northwest as a child on multiple visits imbued in me a desire to return. While at the DOJ, I sought out the opportunity to become a law professor. When Willamette offered me a job, I was sold. I moved to Oregon over 12 years ago, have been on the faculty ever since, earning tenure several years ago. Along the way, I married my lovely wife Jennifer and we have been blessed with two very active boys, ages 8 and 6, who attend Wilsonville public schools.
As a professor of local government law, I have advocated for allowing communities to pursue progressive policy solutions without interference from above, whether it be the state or federal government. Never has this message been more salient than now, with an administration in Washington, D.C., that is so hostile to Oregon’s interests and values.
Outside of my day job, I am involved in my community in many ways. I have coached my boys’ soccer and baseball teams. I was on the board of trustees of my synagogue. In Wilsonville, I served on the SMART transit master plan task force and the town center task force. In my spare time, I play on a 35-and-over weekend baseball team, the Cardinals. We affectionately call it “old man baseball.”