McKenzie River Reflections - Make the McKenzie Connection!

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Radical Wobblies found support among Oregon loggers

In early 1917, shortly after the U.S. declared war on Germany, the first detachment of U.S. soldiers was dispatched ... to the forest of western Oregon. It turned out the wildest, boldest and (if you...

 

In the First World War, Allies flew planes made of Oregon spruce

The last year of the First World War saw an explosion in Allied aircraft. The forces of Imperial Germany put up the best fight they could, and fielded probably the best aircraft of the war - the...

 

America's first "shock jock"

The first radio broadcaster ever to do be sent to prison for cursing on the air was a hard-charging early shock jock known as "The Oregon Wildcat," who kept the city of Portland and surrounding region...

 

Legend of Portuguese buried treasure farfetched, but possible

Stories about buried treasure are very seldom completely untrue. Even the wildest flight of golden fantasy started out, hundreds or thousands of augmented and embellished retellings ago, as true...

 

Larry Sullivan's shanghaiing syndicate

In the mid-1890s, ship captains and sailors' boardinghouse owners were like partners in crime - both busily and happily swindling sailors out of what little money they had and were owed. But in the...

 

Prizefighter, politician, con artist, shanghai man

Sometime around 1897, complaints suddenly started pouring into the headquarters of shipping companies in Liverpool and Hamburg from the captains in charge of their ships. It seemed something new was...

 

Created to stifle Indian culture, boarding school has done the opposite

On the northernmost outskirts of Salem, tucked quietly away on a 275-acre campus between the Interstate 5 freeway and Highway 99, is the oldest continuously operating Native American boarding school...

 

Astoria rich in legends of hidden treasure

The city and environs of Astoria strike most visitors as the kind of place where pirate loot might be stashed away. Certainly it seems to have struck Steven Spielberg that way, back in the early...

 

Jim Turk was Portland's millionaire shanghaiing thug

The "shanghai artists" of old Portland and Astoria were all a fairly secretive lot. But none of them were more mysterious, in quite so many ways, as the man who started the whole shanghaiing scene in...

 

Young adventurer's visit to Portland ended with life sentence in prison

Joseph E. Swards was 16 years old when he left his native Philadelphia as a brand-new apprentice seaman on the barque Geo. F. Manson, bound for Astoria and Portland. He would turn 17 at sea, in July...

 

Citizens of Prineville finally challenged, defeated Vigilantes without a shot

In the last few months of 1882, a group of prominent Prineville-area stockmen were leading a double life: Ranchers by day, and masked outlaw riders by night. They called themselves The Vigilantes. The...

 

"First Five" almost didn't get to run

Thinking back, Robert Cox recalls, "The weather was nice and fairly warm but I was out of shape. Despite that, he and his brother George joined three other men to spend a day in the late 1980's...

 

Lynching of innocent man kicked off Vigilante rule in Crook County

It was the Ides of March - March 15, 1882. A.H. Crooks and Stephen Jory were blazing the boundary lines of some land - cutting big marks in trees to mark what they claimed was the property line -...

 

OSU's world-record-breaking chicken sparked a fowl feud with newspaper

October of 1913 was a triumphant time for Professor James Dryden, the poultry specialist at Oregon State University (or Oregon Agricultural College, as it was then called). His name was in newspapers...

 

Palatial Hotel Portland once stood in Courthouse Square

Next time you're in the neighborhood of Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square, take a minute to look at the wrought-iron fence and archway at its south end. Looks a little out of place, doesn't it?...

 

Well-timed generosity turned the tables in Prineville baseball game

Things looked grim for the Prineville Nine that summer day in 1910. The little high-desert town's baseball team was getting its clock cleaned by the Silver Lake ball club. The score was nine-zip, and...

 

Sordid slasher murder still baffling 100 years later - continued

CONTINUED FROM LAST WEEK The trial started on July 27 with the state presenting its evidence. It looked pretty damning, at least at first. The physician who was called to help the dying Harry Agee...

 

Sordid Portland slasher murder still baffling 100 years later

It was a little after 10 p.m. on a Friday evening in the summer of 1921. In their little house on Druid Street in the St. Johns neighborhood of Portland, Robert Green and his family were getting ready...

 

Oregon's own Snidely Whiplash

When you're watching a melo-drama, you know right away who the villain is. That's him over there, twirling a sinister handlebar moustache beneath a sleek silk hat and telling the pretty widow and her...

 

Auburn: A long-gone gold town's short but colorful past

A few dozen miles southwest of Baker City, if you know right where to look, you just might stumble across a few weatherbeaten gravestones - all that's left of an old cemetery. And that old cemetery...

 

Stewart Holbrook preserved the spirit of mid-century Oregon

Ninety-eight years ago, in a logging camp deep in the forests of British Columbia, a logger in a funny hat walked up to a big stump, an ax in his hand. Taking off the hat - it was a battered bowler,...

 
 By Finn J.D. John    History    July 8, 2021

Buck Rogers-style police boat didn't work out for Portland

On the morning of April 23, 1936, the city of Portland was proudly preparing to launch its new harbor patrol boat, the Jack Luihn. It was going to be a big deal. Mayor LaGuardia of New York City was i...

 
 By Finn J.D. John    History    July 1, 2021

Oregon's most famous elephant led a colorful and tragic life

Under the light of a single bulb, in a big storage room at the University of Oregon's Museum of Natural and Cultural History in Eugene, are the bones of a famous onetime Oregonian named Ned. Ned had...

 

Prisoner escaped by back door during conjugal visit

It was a few minutes after midnight on May 17, 1974, and the Oregon State Penitentiary employee sitting in his car outside the Salem Motel 6 was starting to get nervous. He was there to supervise a...

 

Treasure piqued FBI's interest too late

Dawn was just breaking, and Tom McAdams had just barely crawled into bed, when he got the alarm. A 50-foot sailboat was washing ashore near Waldport. McAdams had been up all night escorting a leaking...

 

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