Michael “Mike” Burton was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force after graduating from Oregon State University. He served in various Special Operations units around the world, including operations in Laos and air commando units in Southeast Asia in the 1960’s. After the war, he returned to Oregon where he served as an assistant to the Governor and then as a member of the Oregon House of Representatives for 10 years. In the House, he sponsored refugee child protection legislation that was successfully passed in 1985. During these years he also assisted members of the Hmong community in obtaining status so they could continue university education.
Following his service in the Legislature, Colonel Burton was elected as Executive Officer of the Metropolitan government in Portland. Before his final retirement, Colonel Burton served as a Vice Provost at Portland State University. He holds graduate degrees in Education and History.