John Reed May Be Reburied In Oregon -- Family Asks To Remove Author's Remains From Grave Near Kremlin Wall

PORTLAND - John Reed, the famed Communist who chronicled the 1917 Russian Revolution and served as the inspiration for the Warren Beatty film "Reds," may be coming home to Portland.

Reed's nephew, John Reed II, has petitioned the Russian government to have his uncle's remains removed from their resting place beside the Kremlin Wall and brought to Oregon for burial.

"We just want Uncle John returned home and his body buried where it belongs, with the rest of the family," said the 70-year-old nephew.

Reed made the request after learning that Lenin's body may be moved from its mausoleum in Moscow's Red Square. He said he didn't want his uncle's body simply disposed of along with those of other Communists who have fallen into disfavor since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

"I'm optimistic," he said, "but of course we must wait pending the outcome of the current political situation."

The petition was recently delivered to Russian President Boris Yeltsin through U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov.

This week, William Daniels, officer in charge of the Citizens Emergency Center of the U.S. State Department, contacted Reed and offered assistance in any way possible.

"Uncle" John Reed was born in Portland in October 1887. He grew up in an estate on the city's west side and attended Portland Academy. He became involved in radical politics as a student at Harvard University. His mentor, famed muckraking journalist Lincoln Steffens, got him a job covering the Mexican Revolution for William Randolph Hearst's Metropolitan magazine.

Riding with revolutionary Pancho Villa, Reed became known as "The Yankee Who Dances" and gained fame in the United States for his book "Insurgent Mexico," published in 1914.

In 1917, he accompanied Louise Bryant, his Portland-born wife, to Russia. He wrote about the Bolshevik Revolution in "Ten Days That Shook the World," a dramatic first-person account.

Reed died of typhus in Moscow in 1920 and was honored by the Communists, who placed his remains beside the Kremlin Wall.

Reed's nephew has been working with the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission, which wants to erect a "representational artwork" of the noted Communist near his birthplace.