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Senate marks Courtney's 76th birthday

Members and staff adopted Courtney's uniform - a short-sleeved shirt, colorful tie, khaki pants and sneakers - for the day in tribute to the a Salem Democrat.

Sen. Peter CourtneySenate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, turned 76 on Tuesday.

Members and staff adopted Courtney's uniform — a short-sleeved shirt, colorful tie, khaki pants and sneakers — for the day in tribute to Courtney, a Salem Democrat who has been Senate President since 2003, and a legislative institution who has represented Salem since he was first elected to the House in 1980.

Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, and Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, D-Beaverton, led the singing a modified version of "76 Trombones" from the musical "The Music Man" on the Senate Floor Tuesday in honor of Courtney.

"76 years old is the Senate Prez, with 110 great bills to his name," they began. "He is followed by rows and rows of the finest legislators, the pride of all of Oregon."

About a half an hour after they sang the song, though, Courtney got what was probably a troubling birthday present.

Senate Republican Leader Herman Baertschiger, Jr., of Grants Pass, sent out a public statement warning that Republicans were "prepared to take action to stop HB 2020" — aka, walk out to stop the bill.

They've ended up doing so in a spectacular fashion as of press time, drawing national attention for their escape.