Skip to main content

Patricia P. Hoover papers

Identifier: COU:5054

Scope and Contents

The Patricia P. Hoover papers primarily cover the period after 1990, when she discovered she was a Hanford Downwinder, until 2021. It documents her participation in grassroots efforts and personal advocacy for government transparency and justice for those affected by radiation and other toxic emissions from the Hanford Nuclear Site. When she attended and presented at conferences and events Hoover kept presentation notes, pamphlets, fliers, research data or papers, and lists of conference attendees. During 25 years of litigation against the companies contracted to run Hanford, Hoover gathered evidence to support her case including medical and health information from doctors, photographs of family activities and correspondence with her lawyers.

The papers also include materials from her time working with grassroots and activist groups including correspondence among significant individuals among the Downwinder community including activists, doctors, and scientists. These individuals include Lois Camp, Dr. Rudi Nussbaum, Kay Sutherland, Barbara Howard, Linda Keir, Jay Mullen, and Mary Pengelly. Materials also include meeting minutes, organizational records, newsletters, fliers, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, research articles, and survey data.

There is also material from media and events Hoover participated in including copies of video interviews, oral histories, presentation texts, and speeches. Hoover also shared pamphlets, fliers, and research with other Downwinders that informed her own understanding of the effects she experienced as a Hanford Downwinder.

Hoover included as part of the collection her own explaination of groups of materials to provide additional context, first-hand experience, and knowledge. These are usually on yellow paper.


  • Creation: 1947 - 2021

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

This collection contains or may contain private and personally identifiable information (PPII). Researchers must sign the University Libraries’ Private and Personally Identifiable Information Agreement in advance of access to collection materials. Contact for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers may not make notes, reproductions (including photographs), or other record of any private and personally identifiable information (PPII) located in this collection and may not publish, publicize, or disclose that PPII to any other party for any purpose. Exclusions may apply to researchers who have obtained authorization from the University of Colorado Institutional Review Board to produce human subject research records in de-identified form. All researchers must sign the University Libraries’ Private and Personally Identifiable Information Agreement indicating their understanding of the use restrictions for PPII found in this collection. Contact

Copyright Statement

The University Libraries do not own the copyright to this collection. Researchers are responsible for contacting the copyright holder(s) for this material and obtaining permission to publish or broadcast. The University Libraries will not grant permission to publish or broadcast this material and are not responsible for copyright violations resulting from such use.

Biographical Note

Patricia P. Hoover was born in 1947 in The Dalles, OR, which was 125 miles from Hanford Nuclear site, where she lived until she was 6 years old. Her family relocated to Hermiston, OR in 1955, 40 miles away from Hanford, where she lived until she was was 18. Growing up, her family often fished the Columbia River and hunted wild game; deer elk, salmon, sturgeon, pheasant, duck, and geese were all part of the family's diet.

Hoover attended University of Washington and University of Hawaii before graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism in 1969. She worked in the radio and television industry in both commercial and public broadcasting.

Hoover began experiencing health issues from birth. In 1958 at age 11, she became ill when her thyroid gland stopped functioning. In 1977 a large tumor and her thyroid gland were removed. In 1990, Hoover was recovering from a year-long illness and hospitalization when she watched a "Nova" program on PBS titled "The Bombs' Lethal Legacy." It was then that Hoover linked her chronic health problems with her childhood proximity to the Hanford Nuclear site near Richland, WA.

For a time she attempted to work with government efforts by serving on the Oregon Advisory Board and as a Resource Center materials reviewer for the Hanford Health Information Network (HHIN). She resigned the from the board in 1994 with four other to protest inadequate efforts by HHIN on behalf Hanford Downwinders.

Afterward, Hoover participated in many activist groups and grassroots efforts adovocating for government transparency and justice for those affected by the production of plutonium and resulting pollution at Hanford. She was involved in a Hanford lawsuit with nearly 6,000 litigants, against the companies contracted to run Hanford, including DuPont and General Electric, that took over 25 years to resolve. She attended conferences and events such as the Healing Global Wounds Conference, in 1992 which was the first radiation health conference she attended where she met others who identified as Downwinders. She went to an event where Japanese Activists visited Richland, WA to discuss the legacy of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. She attended an Initiative for Social Action and Renewal in Eurasia (ISAR) event where the U.S. and former Soviet Union citizens exchanged anti-nuclear ideas and activism. She presented several times for Womens Action for New Directions (WAND; 2011, 2017, 2018).

She participated in leadership or was involved with several activist and grassroots groups. These groups are numerous but were essential in exchanging information and organizing Downwinders from across a large geographic area that incompassed the inland northwest (Washington, Oregon and Idaho). The groups Hoover participated in included:

  • The Hanford Education Action League (HEAL) which was based in Spokane, WA and was very active in 1990s
  • The Handford Downwinder Coalition (HDC) started by Judith Jurji and Lois Camp
  • The Hanford Downwinders Health Concerns (HDHC) broke away from HDC in 1992 and led by Lois Camp
  • The Northwest Radiation Health Alliance (NRHA) formed in 1993 by Hoover and Dr. Rudi Nussbaum and was active until the early 2000s
  • The Oregon chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibilty (PSR) which had a Hanford working group that helped form and later collaborated with NWRHA
  • Hanford Watch chaired by Paige Knight out of Portland, OR
  • Hanford Challenge chaired by Tom Carpenter out of Seattle, WA
  • Columbia River United (CRU) chaired by Greg deBruler out of Hood River, OR

She currently resides in Eugene, OR and continues to be impacted by the exposure to radiation and toxic emissions from Hanford in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.


3.33 linear feet (8 document boxes)

Language of Materials



Patricia P. Hoover was born in 1947 in The Dalles, OR which was 125 miles from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, in southeast Washington state. The collection primarily covers the period from 1990 when she discovered she was a Hanford Downwinder through 2021. It documents her participation in grassroots efforts and personal advocacy for government transparency and justice for those affected by radiation and toxic emissions from the Hanford Nuclear site, and includes research papers, correspondence, newsletters, fliers, newspaper clippings and interviews.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was received from Patricia P. Hoover in 2021 (COU 2021-26).

Related Materials

The photograph book "Hanford Reach: In the Atomic Field" by Glenna Cole Allee is available in the CU Boulder Rare Books collection. It contains photographs and stories of Patricia P. Hoover. It is available for use in the Rare and Distinctive Collections Reading Room. See its catalog record for more information.

Permanent URL

Patricia P. Hoover papers
In Progress
This finding aid was created by Ashlyn Velte, 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States