A native of Athena, Oregon, Stafford Hansell served in the state legislature from 1957-1974. He was influential as a member and chairman of the Joint Ways and Means Committee and of the State Emergency Board which functions between legislative sessions. In 1960, in partnership with his brother, he established one of the country's largest swine enterprises on the site of the Umatilla Ordnance Housing Project. In 1974, he was chosen by the governor to head the state's executive department. Long a supporter of higher education, he was presented a Distinguished Service Award by Oregon State University in 1978.