April: Tax Month.

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"I will begin today with a commitment to invest in and enhance Oregon's human assets and Oregon's natural assets. And as I work for a better Oregon, I don't want you cheering me on from the sidelines. Oregon's future is not a spectator sport. We're all in this together. This is our time." 

--Gov. Barbara Roberts, Inaugural Address, January 14, 1991. 


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Lewis and Clark Expedition
by William L. Lang

No exploration of the Oregon Country has greater historical significance than the Voyage of Discovery led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Historians and geographers judge the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which brought more than thirty overland travelers into the Columbia RiverBasin in 1805-1806, as the most successful North American land exploration in U.S. history. Officially called the Corps of Volunteers for North West Discovery, the Expedition was carried out under the auspices of the U.S. Department of War, with presidential and congressional authorization.

  clark map


fort clatsop


Fort Clatsop
by Kelly Cannon-Miller

Built in 1805 near present-day Astoria, Fort Clatsop was the winter quarters for the Corps of Volunteers for Northwest Discovery, more commonly known as the Corps of Discovery or the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Sent by President Thomas Jefferson, the Expedition had as its assignment the exploration of the Missouri and Columbia rivers in search of an inland waterway to the Pacific Ocean. They were also charged with gathering as much scientific data as possible on the natural resources and resident populations encountered along their route. Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led the group of thirty-one people, which included Toussaint Charbonneau, a French Canadian fur trader; his Shoshone wife, Sacagawea; their infant son, Jean Baptiste; and Clark's slave, York.

United States Exploring Expedition
by James Walker

The United States Exploring Expedition (1838-1842), also known as the Wilkes Expedition, was shaped by both commercial and scientific concerns and a desire to expand American influence and interests in the Pacific Northwest. Maritime merchants, sealers, and whalers needed accurate charts of islands and navigational hazards in the Pacific Ocean. Secretary of the Navy James Paulding wanted “to extend the bounds of science, and promote the acquisition of knowledge."

While in Oregon territory, expedition members made contact with a number of Indian tribes and recorded some demographic information; observed behavioral information was often written with notable disrespect. However, valuable ethnographic data included the collection of nearly two hundred artifacts from the region and an extensive description of Chinook Jargon compiled by the expedition linguist, Horatio Hale. The Ex. Ex., as the expedition became known, returned to New York Harbor in June 1842.

The scientific, political, and cartographic legacies of the Ex. Ex. were enormous. Approximately forty tons of collected material included about 4,000 zoological specimens, more than 50,000 plants, and thousands of ethnographic artifacts, fossils, gems, and corals. Most were placed in the newly constructed National Gallery of the Patent Office and later became foundation collections of the Smithsonian Institute. The immense written output of the expedition eventually comprised twenty-four volumes of reports and atlases, beginning with Wilkes’s own five-volume Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition and atlas in 1844. The Ex. Ex. was responsible for many current topographical names in the Pacific Northwest.

  1838 expedition


Oregon Territorial Library

by Jim Schepke

The Oregon Territorial Library was the first publicly funded library in Oregon, created by the U.S. Congress under the same act that established the Oregon Territory in 1848. The request for funding a territorial library was made by Jessy Quinn Thornton, a delegate sent by the Provisional Government in 1848 with a memorial to Congress requesting territorial status. The memorial stated: “Your memorialist prays that the sum of $10,000 be appropriated, to be expended in the purchase of a library, to be kept at the seat of government for the use of the governor, secretary, legislature, judges, marshal district attorney, and other such persons and under such regulations as may be prescribed by law.” Congress appropriated only half the sum requested, apparently disregarding the argument made in the memorial that a larger amount was needed because “the inhabitable part of the Territory is so remote from the seat of the national government, and . . . access cannot be had to any books or libraries.”


Willamette Stone and Willamette Meridian
by Champ Clark Vaughan

Land surveys accomplished under the U.S. Government's Rectangular Survey System are the basis for the establishment of land titles and boundaries within Oregon. The initial point for the land surveys in Oregon is referred to as the Willamette Stone; and the principle survey meridian, running north and south, is named the Willamette Meridian.

In 1850, two years after Oregon had attained territorial status and become part of the nation’s public domain, Congress passed the Donation Land Act to resolve the problems caused by escalating immigration, preemption settlement, and land claims. The primary purposes of the act were to create the Office of Surveyor-General of Oregon, to provide for the survey of public lands, and to make donations of public lands to settlers. The act also set into motion the direct involvement in the Oregon Territory by the United States General Land Office (GLO), which was charged with the administration, survey, and disposition of public domain lands. Land surveys, also known as cadastral surveys, were necessary before the public domain could be conveyed out of federal ownership. 

  willamette stone

land survey map  

Oregon Land Survey, 1851-1855
by Kay Atwood

In 1850, President Millard Fillmore appointed John B. Preston as Oregon Territory's first surveyor general. Preston arrived in the territory in 1851; and by the time he and the last of his surveyors left in 1855, the western interior valleys of Oregon and Washington lay measured in the townships and sections of the Rectangular Land Survey System.

This effort was part of the federal system established by Congress in the Land Ordinance of May 20, 1785. Until then, Colonial America’s rural population had determined land boundaries by the English method of defining a parcel of land—identifying adjacent landowners and describing boundaries as on some apparent line, such as a stream or road. 


University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History
by Judi Pruitt

Located in Eugene on the University of Oregon campus, the Museum of Natural and Cultural History traces its origins to 1876, when Thomas Condon was appointed the first professor of geology and natural sciences at the university. Condon, a Congregational minister, brought his own fossil and rock collection to use in his teaching, and the UO catalog for 1898-1899 announced that “students will have free access to Professor Condon’s great museum.” 

After Condon died in 1907, the university renamed the museum the Condon Museum. In 1935, the Oregon legislature created the Oregon State Museum of Anthropology at the University of Oregon to house the state’s anthropological collections. The following year, the University of Oregon Museum of Natural History was created—incorporating the Condon Museum, OSMA, and a herbarium—to store, protect, and display anthropological, historical, paleontological, and other natural history collections owned by the State of Oregon, as well as by federal agencies.    



U.S. Life-Saving Service in Oregon
by David Pinyerd

The mission of the U.S. Life-Saving Service was to rescue those in peril from the sea. To serve that mission, the federal government built coastal stations to house the men and equipment engaged in rescue operations. The stations were integral in the development of Oregon's coastal communities, whose livelihood and connection to other places depended on safe water travel. 

Oregon's first life-saving station, staffed by a keeper on an island, was erected at Cape Arago in 1878. When a rescue was needed, the keeper, who had no view of the coastline, had to be informed of the emergency. He then would row to town to look for volunteers. Years went by without a single rescue. This first step led to fully staffed stations at Point Adams near Astoria in 1889, Coquille River at Bandon in 1890, Umpqua River near Winchester Bay in 1890, Yaquina Bay at South Beach in 1896, and Tillamook Bay at Barview in 1908. With more stations, men, and funding, the success and reputation of the lifesavers grew.     

Sherman County Courthouse
by Tania Hyatt-Evenson

The Sherman County Courthouse in Moro is one of only three county courthouses in Oregon to be used continuously since its construction in the nineteenth century. The other two courthouses are in Benton, and Polk Counties. Built in 1899, the Sherman County Courthouse is an example of understated Queen Anne architecture, a popular style for government and public buildings at the turn of the twentieth century.

The building was constructed during a time of great economic growth in Sherman County. By the mid-1880s, the county was one of the largest wheat producers in the state. In 1898, the Columbia Southern Railroad built a station stop at Moro, which allowed farmers to more easily transport their wheat, barley, sheep, and cattle to the Willamette Valley and beyond. The population of the county’s population boomed, from 150 residents in 1880 to 3,477 in 1900.

  sherman courthouse


Starkey Experimental Forest and Range
by William G. Robbins

A first-class U.S. Forest Service and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife research facility, the Starkey Experimental Forest and Range is a 28,000-acre enclosure of forests and mountain meadows in Oregon’s Blue Mountains. Located off Oregon 244, southwest of La Grande, twenty-seven miles of eight-foot high, woven-wire fence encloses most of the present-day forest.

The initial research on the Starkey began in the early 1900s, when the Forest Service carried out plot studies to assess the impact of cattle grazing. By the 1940s and 1950s, the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station expanded its investigations at the Starkey Forest to address issues of carrying capacity, the production of forage, and the effects of the grazing of all ungulates on forest health. 

Carnegie Libraries in Oregon
by Jim Scheppke

Of the 1,679 public library buildings funded in the United States by Andrew Carnegie between 1883 and 1929, 31 were in Oregon. As was true in most states, the possibility of obtaining a Carnegie library grant spurred the development of public libraries in Oregon in the first two decades of the twentieth century.

Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) was a Scottish-American industrialist who famously devoted the last third of his life to giving away the bulk of his fortune, one of the greatest in the United States at that time. As a boy growing up in a working-class immigrant family in Allegheny (now part of Pittsburg), Pennsylvania, he was able to use a small library established by Col. James Anderson for workers in the poor, industrial community. Carnegie later said of the experience: "I resolved if ever wealth came to me, that it should be used to establish free libraries, that other poor boys might receive opportunities for which we are indebted to that noble man.”

In order to obtain a grant for a Carnegie library, a community had to meet certain conditions. It had to demonstrate the need for a library, provide a site, and, most importantly, create a “maintenance fund” to operate the library that was at least equal to 10 percent of the building cost. In order to come up with a maintenance fund, most communities had to establish a tax-supported library, many for the first time.

  the dalles

crater lake  

Crater Lake National Park
by Stephen R. Mark

As a focal point in the Cascade Range for almost a half million visitors each year, Crater Lake National Park is a place where beauty arose from cataclysmic events. Over seven millennia ago, the eruption and collapse of Mount Mazama generated such quantities of ash that it formed a distinct layer over several thousand square miles. The ash signifies North America's largest volcanic event of the Holocene epoch (10,000 years ago to present) and constitutes what is likely the most recognizable "time marker" in the stratigraphy of the Pacific Northwest.

Crater Lake is clear to a depth of 40 meters (about 130 feet), making it one of the world's clearest lakes. It is essentially a closed basin, with no visible inlets or outlets. The collapsed caldera left by Mount Mazama is roughly 6 by 9 km (3.7 by 5.5 miles), but what sets Crater Lake apart from every other lake in the United States is its depth. At 594 meters (about 1,949 feet), it is the second deepest lake in North America.

Oregon State Library
by Jim Scheppke

Since 1905, the Oregon State Library in Salem has worked to develop library services for all Oregonians. The library also serves as the library for state government, maintaining a comprehensive collection of state publications dating to the nineteenth century.

As part of the executive branch of state government, the State Library is governed by a seven-person board of trustees, appointed by the governor. The state librarian serves as the chief executive and secretary to the board.


oregon caves  

Oregon Caves National Monument
by Stephen R. Mark

Only a few places in the Beaver State are named in reference to California, and Oregon Caves is one of them. Its earlier moniker, the Josephine County Caves, gradually faded from use after exploring parties sponsored by the San Francisco Examiner in 1891 and 1894 publicized their experiences at the site, just seven miles north of the California-Oregon state line. The Examinerreferred to the "Oregon Caves" to distinguish it from caverns located in northern California. The name became official on July 12, 1909, when President William Howard Taft proclaimed 480 acres as Oregon Caves National Monument, one of the first of twenty tracts of federal land protected under the Antiquities Act passed by Congress three years earlier.

What makes the cave system unusual in comparison to others in western North America is the prevalence of marble (a more crystallized type of limestone). In addition to marble and limestone, igneous and sedimentary types are found both inside and outside the cave. The national monument is within a rugged area whose name Siskiyou generally applies to the mountain complex found north of the state line. This complex extends into northwest California as the Klamath Mountains; it is a distinct landscape characterized by diverse geology, botanical richness, and steep topography.

Oregon Industrial Welfare Commission
by Janice Dilg

In the spring of 1913, the Oregon legislature created the first compulsory minimum wage law in the nation and its governing agency, the Industrial Welfare Commission. The law legitimized government’s right to regulate women and minor worker's wages and was copied across the country. The Fair Labor and Standards Act of 1938, which created a national minimum wage, began with Oregon’s minimum wage law twenty-five years earlier.

The nation’s increasingly industrialized workplaces had spurred conflict between workers and industrialists; and many politicians, civic leaders, intellectuals, and clergy sought social reforms to limit industrial strife, mitigate corporate behavior, and improve working conditions. Progressives believed that legislative remedies not only benefited the parties involved but also served the broader public interest, and Oregon’s system of direct democracy made the state a leader in labor reform legislation.

  ohara report

highway 101  

Highway 101 
by Robert W. Hadlow

Many places on the Oregon coast were virtually inaccessible in the early twentieth century. Small fishing villages existed as remote outposts, separated by rocky headlands and timber-covered hills. The Roosevelt Coast Military Highway, named in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt, was a result of a renewed national sense of isolationism and the perceived need for emergency preparedness following World War I. In 1919, Oregon voters approved the sale of $2.5 million in bond obligations for the project, but matching federal funds failed to materialize.

By the early 1920s, however, a pleasure-seeking public asked for coastal highway construction. Work on the new coast road, designed by the state’s highway department, began in earnest in 1921. Throughout the 1920s, crews graded and paved section after section of the 400-mile route. In 1926, the road became U.S. 101; in 1931, the state renamed it the Oregon Coast Highway.

Bonneville Dam
by William F. Willingham

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built and operated Bonneville Lock and Dam as the first of eight federal locks and dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Located 41 miles upriver from the mouth of the Willamette, Bonneville Dam impounds a 48-mile-long reservoir with a pool elevation of 76.5 feet. The dam is located at the farthest reach of tide from the Pacific Ocean and is named for Captain Benjamin Bonneville, an early nineteenth-century army explorer and booster of the Oregon Country. 

The impetus for building Bonneville Dam stemmed from the need to alleviate unemployment during the Great Depression and to provide electric power for economic development in the Pacific Northwest. In 1932, while campaigning for the presidency, Franklin D. Roosevelt called attention to the “vast possibilities of power development on the Columbia River.” 

  bonneville dam

short sand beach  

Oswald West State Park
by Mark Beach

Shortly after Samuel Boardman became Oregon’s first director of state parks in 1929, he received a proposal for a park along the north coast. Helen Drollinger, who owned land on the coast, wrote Boardman proposing a new park and suggesting that Sam Reed, the founder of the town of Neahkahnie, would contribute some of his land on Neahkahnie Mountain. During the next ten years Boardman acquired the land that became Oswald West State Park. The park embraces 2,474 acres from the south slope of Neahkahnie Mountain to the north slope of Arch Cape. Five miles of coastline in the park span the border between Tillamook and Clatsop counties.

Oswald West State Park has inspired wonder and offered respite for centuries. At Short Sand Beach, which stretches a quarter-mile along a cove framed by two headlands, archaeologists have found evidence that Tillamook and Clatsop people spent time on the beach. Early white travelers often rested at Short Sand on their way north to Astoria or south to Tillamook. By the early twentieth century, urban tourists used the beach for picnics and other recreation. Beginning in the 1970s, Short Sand became a destination for surfers seeking its dependable breaks.

Timberline Lodge
by Sarah Munro

Timberline Lodge is the showplace for Works Progress Administration projects in Oregon. Its construction was financed with nearly a million dollars from the WPA and additional funding from the Federal Art Project for furnishings and art.

With WPA funds available in December 1935, Gilbert Stanley Underwood was selected as consulting architect. Underwood had already designed lodges in several national parks, including Bryce Canyon and Yosemite. Timberline was designed in a similar rustic style to the national park lodges, with their asymmetrical design, the use of native materials, and a roughness reminiscent of pioneer craftsmanship. Working with Underwood, Forest Service architects Tim Turner, Linn Forrest, Howard Gifford, and Dean Wright drew the plans for Timberline, including sketches for the wrought-iron detailing and some of the rustic wood furniture.



Federal Writers' Project in Oregon
by Tom Nash

The Federal Writers' Project was one of five independent branches of the Works Progress Administration, established in the summer of 1935 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In its inception, the WPA sponsored not only the Writers' Project, but also the Federal Art Project, Federal Music Project, Historical Records Survey, and the short-lived Federal Theatre Project. Bearing testament to the times, the Theatre Project was branded "socialist" by the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1939 and disbanded. Unlike the Civilian Conservation Corps (1932), where young men worked on roads, bridges, and dams, the Works Progress Administration employed non-construction workers, as well as laborers. In Oregon, the Federal Writers' Project was the most visible white-collar agency of the WPA.

Hart Mountain Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp
by Lee Juillerat

Camp Hart Mountain, a Civilian Conservation Corps camp, operated from October 1937 until July 1941. Located near Plush, about forty miles northeast of Lakeview, the camp was established by enrollees from Camp Clear Lake near Tulelake, California. Superintendent William Edmiston reached the camp on October 17, the same day that 166 enrollees of Company 3442 arrived in Lakeview after a four-day train trip from Rutledge, Georgia. They were taken to Camp Hart Mountain by truck and housed in tents.

CCC crews helped develop the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, established on December 21, 1936, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt's executive order. Other projects included improving the road and stringing telephone liens from Plush to the camp and, later, to the refuge headquarters, building a garage for vehicles at the refuge headquarters, erecting fabricated buildings, and constructing a road from the camp to refuge headquarters.

  hart lake

state capitol  

Oregon State Capitol
by Elisabeth Walton Potter

Among capitol buildings in the United States, the Oregon State Capitol in Salem is a landmark of Modernistic design. Like most other statehouses, it was symmetrically organized in the tradition of Classically inspired architecture, but it was stripped down to its essential form and detailed with utmost simplicity. Oregon’s Capitol was completed in 1938 at the height of the Depression with assistance from the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works (PWA). It replaced Krumbein and Gilbert’s Italian Renaissance statehouse of 1876, which had been destroyed by fire in 1935. 

Constructed of reinforced concrete and sheathed in brilliant white Vermont marble, the four-story Capitol building is a brisk, rectilinear volume surmounted by a cylindrical, ribbed lantern enclosing an interior dome. Beneath the dome, on the interior, the central rotunda marking the crossing of the main axes of the building forms the hub for circulation. On the second floor, extending to the east and west, are the legislative chambers at the head of grand staircases rising from the rotunda. On the south, opposite the formal entrance, is a compact wing housing the governor’s ceremonial and executive office suite. 

Umatilla Army Depot
by Susan Badger Doyle

In 1940, the U.S. Army identified twenty thousand acres straddling the Umatilla and Morrow county line, eight miles west of Hermiston, as the site for a military munitions and supply depot. The Umatilla Army Ordnance Depot stored and supplied munitions to the army until the early 1990s. Between 1962 and 1969, chemical weapons were received and stored at the depot; and from 1996 to 2012, under the name Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility, the depot was the site of the destruction of those weapons.

Construction of the depot began in January 1941, with J.A. Terteling and Sons Construction Company as the primary civilian contractor. The site was chosen because it was safe from sea attacks and it was close to railroad lines and a port on the Columbia River. North-central Oregon's relatively mild climate, low humidity, and sparse population were also factors in the selection. At the peak of construction, seven thousand men worked three shifts a day building munitions storage bunkers, barracks, a headquarters, base housing units, warehouses, workshops, a fire station, and a railroad engine house.

  depot workers


Woody Guthrie and the Columbia River
by William Murlin

It is sometimes hard to believe that one month in the life of a twenty-eight-year-old Oklahoma-born folk singer could have a lasting impact on an entire geographic region, but such is the case with Woody Guthrie in the Pacific Northwest.

Guthrie was one of the country’s most prolific songwriters, whose ballads spoke to and about everyman. He traveled through the American landscape during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, experiencing and writing about the people of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, World War II, and social and political events. His “people’s songs,” as he called them, were his greatest legacy.

Woodrow Wilson Guthrie was born and raised in Okemah, Oklahoma, and Pampa, Texas, during the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s. It was in Pampa where he learned to play guitar, married his first wife, Mary Jennings, and started his cross-country travels that would eventually take him to Portlandin May 1941. And it was the Bonneville Power Administration, a four-year-old agency, that set the stage for Guthrie's historic month in the Pacific Northwest.

Vanport Extension Center
by Bryce Henry

The Vanport Extension Center grew from a converted shopping mall and recreation center in the World War II city of Vanport into Portland State University, the first publicly supported institution of higher learning in Portland.

In early 1946, Stephen E. Epler moved to Portland to take a job counseling returning veterans on their educational opportunities. Like many returning servicemen, Epler discovered that Portland housing was nearly impossible to obtain, and he decided to move to Vanport, where housing was inexpensive and abundant.

As an education counselor, Epler realized that few colleges had the housing and jobs needed for the flood of veterans who wanted to take advantage of the GI Bill. He proposed the Vanport Extension Center (VEC) as an emergency measure to take some of the burden off the state’s colleges. Rather than act as a junior college or vocational school, VEC’s initial purpose was to be a two-year "feeder" college for Oregon's professional and liberal arts schools. The center opened for classes in the summer of 1946.

  vanport ext center

forest park  

Forest Park
by Libby Provost

Forest Park is a unique and impressive recreational and scenic area established in Portland as a city park in 1948. The park covers 5,170 forested acres within the city limits, is roughly one mile wide and eight miles long, and provides a majestic green backdrop for the city’s west side.

Sitting atop the Tualatin Mountain Range, Forest Park is comprised primarily of Douglas-fir, western red cedar, western hemlock, and various deciduous varieties of trees and other native plants. More than 110 bird species and 62 mammal species can be found in the park. Portlanders revere the park for the seventy miles of recreational trails, including the thirty-mile Wildwood Trail, which is designated a National Recreation Trail, as well as the well-trod Upper and Lower Macleay Trails.

Pine Mountain Observatory
by Jarold Ramsey

Located at 6,300 feet of elevation on a landmark butte in the High Desert, southeast of Bend, Pine Mountain Observatory (PMO) is owned and operated by the University of Oregon (UO) Department of Physics under a special-use permit from the Deschutes National Forest. It is Oregon's only professional astronomical observatory.

The facility originated in the late 1950s with an experimental telescope installation on Cache Mountain in the Cascade Range west of Sisters. UO astrophysicist E.G. “Eb” Ebbighausen was hoping to find a site that would provide good observational conditions for his work on binary stars. The site proved unsatisfactory, however, with cloudy and unstable weather, so Ebbighausen determined to look for drier weather and clearer skies farther east. After consulting with the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and local naturalists, including Phil Brogan of Bend, Ebbighausen and his UO colleague Russ Donnelly settled on Pine Mountain. Observations there began in 1967.

To make the complete facility possible, Ebbighausen—a legendary, much-loved professor and the author of a widely used textbook, Introductory Astronomy—undertook a remarkable personal campaign for grassroots financial support in central Oregon and elsewhere. He enlisted the help of former students in the area and solicited substantial contributions from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, which made possible the construction of outbuildings around the observatory dome. The acquisition of telescopes and scientific equipment was largely funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and other national funding agencies.

  pine mountain


Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC)
by Nancee Hunter

The Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) on Yaquina Bay in Newport was originally established in 1965 as a marine laboratory for Oregon State University (OSU). It is named in honor of Mark O. Hatfield, U.S. senator from Oregon for thirty years.

The center is home to OSU researchers, students, and faculty from five colleges at the university and more than ten departments. On-site partners include state and federal agencies involved in the research and management of the marine environment, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The HMSC is a unique laboratory facility that plays an integral role in marine and estuarine research, instruction, and management, as well as serving as a base for oceanographic research.

Oregon Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program
by Ryan Madden

The National Tsunami Warning System provides advance warning of earthquakes in distant locations that generate tsunamis with the potential to reach the Oregon coast. The warning is crucial in giving people enough notice to evacuate to higher ground along the Tsunami Evacuation routes that have been established in Oregon’s coastal communities.

On March 27, 1964, at 5:36 p.m., one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded hit Alaska. Measuring an estimated 9.2 on the Richter scale, it released at least twice as much energy as the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The Alaska earthquake claimed 131 lives, 119 of them attributable to the effects of the ocean and about one-third due to the open-ocean tsunami (4 at Newport, 12 at Crescent City, and about 21 in Alaska). Local waves killed at least 82 people.

The tsunami, traveling at five hundred miles an hour, reached the Oregon coast about four hours after the earthquake, destroying cars and homes in Seaside; wrecking wharves, houses. and the Elk Creek Bridge in Cannon Beach; and tearing out docks and smashing boats in Gold Beach. In Beverly Beach, near Newport, four children were swept out to sea. The waves caused as much as a million dollars in damage in Oregon, the greatest destruction in the estuary channels, where wave heights were amplified—10 to 11.5 feet in the Nehalem River, 10 to 11.5 feet at Depoe Bay, 11.5 feet at Newport, 10 to 11 feet at Florence, 11 feet at Reedsport, 11 feet at Brookings, and 14 feet at Coos Bay.

  tsunami wreckage

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