Women's groups and Oregon Democrats yesterday called on the Senate ethics committee to investigate allegations from 10 women that Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.) made unwelcome sexual advances to them. There also were calls for Packwood's resignation.

Wayne Anderson, chairman of the Oregon Democratic Party, said Packwood, just reelected to his fifth term and the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, "has lost any credibility that he may have had" with Senate Democrats and the incoming Clinton administration.

"He must step aside so we have a reputable voice in the U.S. Senate," Anderson said.

The Washington Post reported Sunday that "since Packwood's earliest days on Capitol Hill, he has made uninvited sexual advances to women who have worked for him or with him, according to former staff members and lobbyists, including 10 women" who gave specific accounts.

Four of the women repeated their charges yesterday and Sunday in newspaper and network television interviews.

Packwood categorically denied the allegations when The Post questioned him the week before the Nov. 3 election while he was locked in a tight race against Rep. Les AuCoin (D). Packwood provided the newspaper with information intended to discredit the women.

On Friday, Packwood sent the paper a statement saying that he was sorry "if I have conducted myself in any way that has caused any individual discomfort or embarrassment."

Carol Auger, executive director of the state Democratic Party, said that while Packwood had always led people to believe he was a strong advocate for women's issues, "these reports show that Bob Packwood is truly a study in hypocrisy."

Jim Whitfield, executive director of the Oregon Republican Party, said yesterday that "all Republicans" were disturbed by the allegations, but that "it's a little bit too early for anyone to seriously call for his resignation."

Whitfield said that Packwood's statement, apologizing for his actions if they were deemed inappropriate, was a "step in the right direction," but that Packwood "needs to be more forthcoming vis-a-vis the allegations."

As for calls for a Senate ethics committee investigation, Whitfield dismissed the committee as ineffectual in dealing with serious allegations against members. "They forgave the Keating Five and they took no action with regard to Brock Adams, who was charged with far more serious violations than this," he said.

Earlier this year, the ethics committee declined to investigate charges that Adams, a senator from Washington state, had made unwanted sexual advances toward eight women. The Seattle Times published the allegations in March. Adams denied the charges and chose not to run for reelection this year.

Packwood was vacationing and could not be reached for comment yesterday. His director of communications, Julia Brim-Edwards, said last night, "He's not going to resign over unproven allegations.

"We've had many, many calls to our office supporting Senator Packwood and basically asking him to carry on," Brim-Edwards said. She called the Oregon Democratic Party's demand for Packwood's resignation "totally predictable."

Jack Faust, a close friend and adviser to Packwood, reiterated yesterday that Packwood will not wage a counterattack against his accusers and "would appreciate it if his supporters will honor that."

Faust, a Portland lawyer, said in a telephone interview yesterday that Packwood is considering how to make his first public response to the reports and the reaction to them.

At a news conference in Portland yesterday called by representatives of more than a dozen women's organizations, Betty Roberts, a Democrat and former Oregon Supreme Court justice, said, "What {Packwood} says will depend on what the people of Oregon say."

The women holding the news conference offered support to women who came forward and discussed possible actions against Packwood.

Roberts, who ran against Packwood in 1974, led the call for his resignation at the news conference. She said rumors that Packwood sexually harassed women had circulated for years in Oregon. Lobbyists wanting something from Packwood were advised to send a woman, she said.

Roberts also discussed the possibility of a recall drive, although a 1935 Oregon attorney general's ruling said that members of Congress are not subject to recall under state statutes.

Tia Plympton, Oregon state coordinator for the National Organization for Women, said she supports a full Senate investigation into the allegations. "Sexism and misogyny come in all forms and it's important to catch all perpetrators. This is a particularly shameful case. Packwood is supposed to be a role model. As an individual, I would be very happy if he resigned," she added.

Laurie Wimmer, executive director of the Oregon Coalition of Women, said, "It's terrible to ask someone to end their career, but it would be only fair and courageous for Packwood to recognize he has outlived his usefulness and resign."

Oregon women's groups and state political and civil liberties leaders were scheduled to meet to last night in Portland to decide on a unified response.

In Washington yesterday, leaders of several national women's organizations stopped short of calling for Packwood's resignation, but did call for a Senate ethics committee investigation of him.

"The political leadership has got to see the seriousness of this. Too much that happens to women is not treated seriously," said Eleanor Smeal of the Fund for a Feminist Majority. "I don't think there should just be a newspaper story and nothing else happens."

Harriet Woods, head of the National Women's Political Caucus, said that if Congress does not take the allegations seriously, "it sends the wrong message -- that Congress is still a fraternity house, a male club. We don't want to go back to the pre-Anita Hill stage when accusations of sexual harassment are trivialized," referring to the allegations made by the Oklahoma law professor against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas during his Senate confirmation hearings last fall.

National Abortion Rights Action League executive director Kate Michelman, whose organization endorsed Packwood over AuCoin, said she found the Post article "very disturbing" and "shocking." She said she had never heard any of the persistent rumors about Packwood that have circulated in Washington and Oregon in abortion rights circles.

Asked whether Packwood should resign, Michelman said, "That's not for me to answer. But he has to be held responsible and he has to take responsibility." She said the allegations have "changed forever" Packwood's "credibility" and "role in Congress on issues he is best known for -- advocacy for women."

Michelman said she believes that the problem on Capitol Hill is larger than Packwood and that an ethics committee investigation should be the first of several steps taken by Congress to show that it takes seriously the issue of sexual harassment.

The ethics committee is in disarray, with its leaders and most of its members either stepping down or retiring from the Senate. An aide to the committee declined to say yesterday whether the committee has received a formal complaint about Packwood, although the committee customarily does not release that information.

With Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell (D-Maine), Minority Leader Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) and others out of town yesterday, there was no immediate response from the leadership to the allegations against Packwood.

Sen.-elect Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said yesterday that the Packwood case "points out once again there needs to be a very clearly defined policy against sexual harassment in the United States Senate."

"I really believe our highest elected officials should set the standard for the nation," she said.

Murray, one of four women elected to the Senate this month, said that new rules adopted by the Senate this year to establish an office of fair employment practices to field staff complaints do not go far enough. She favors legislation to eliminate the congressional exemption to federal laws prohibiting sexual harassment.

Woods agreed that the procedures established after the Thomas-Hill hearings a year ago are inadequate. "If I were a young woman concerned about a career, I'm not sure I would ever file a complaint," she said. Woods said that if there were a process where members of Congress "faced real serious consequences" for sexual harassment "that would be a real deterrent."

Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Rep.-elect Elizabeth Furse (D-Ore.) also said a Senate ethics investigation was needed.

"As a woman and as a newly elected member of Congress, I am shocked and appalled at recent stories documenting Senator Packwood's behavior toward women -- particularly women employed by the senator as official staff or as interns," Furse told reporters in Oregon.

As for the man Packwood defeated, AuCoin said in a statement, "I feel a great sense of sorrow for the tragedy in the lives of 10 women and perhaps others. In the end, it is their courage in stepping forward to where none have been prepared to go which writes a new chapter in the history of equality and hopefully of ethics in the United States Senate."

Staff writer Charles E. Shepard and special correspondent Leef Smith in Portland contributed to this report.