In 1967 Governor Tom McCall signed the Beach Bill with great fanfare — granting the public recreational access to Oregon’s beaches. But the bill almost died in committee. A behind the scenes look at the history, politics and people behind HB 1601.
In 1946 the field of electronics was exploding. Radiomen Howard Vollum and Jack Murdock were home from the War and decided to start their own business. The company was Tektronix. The product? An indispensable piece of test equipment that engineers couldn’t work without. In The Spirit of Tek you’ll meet some of the people who built a unique company that changed the world.
Bill Bowerman (1911-1999) is considered one of the greatest track and field coaches the world has ever known. In his 24 years at the University of Oregon, he won four NCAA team championships and coached 33 Olympians, 16 sub-four-minute milers and 64 All-Americans.
In the summer of 1970, some tens of thousands of people converged in rural Clackamas County for an event called Vortex 1. This “biodegradable festival of life” celebrated freedom — freedom from violence, from drug laws and from clothes. It also served as an elaborate ploy to lure young people away from Portland. And to this day, Vortex remains America’s only large-scale rock festival ever sponsored by a Republican governor.
In the late 1800s, thousands of Chinese miners came to Eastern Oregon in search of gold. Among them were two men - Ing “Doc” Hay and Lung On - who opened a store and herbal apothecary called Kam Wah Chung. Though originally catering to their fellow Chinese, over time these two men attended to the medical needs of many, becoming highly regarded members of the community.
In 1887, a gang of horse thieves gunned down as many as 34 Chinese gold miners on the Oregon side of the Snake River near Hells Canyon. Some have called it the country’s worst massacre of Chinese by whites. Though the killers were known, and at least one confessed, no one was ever convicted.
Oregon once had one of the country's most extensive streetcar systems in the country. Streetcars provided cheap, comfortable public transportation - before there were automobiles. Streetcar lines formed the streets and neighborhoods that shaped our cities, providing a foundation for the modern streetcar revival.
In partnership with The Mighty Endeavor, we were proud to honor several WWII veterans from Oregon and Washington at a program and reception on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.
Black and white Oregonians have sometimes been in conflict and, at other times, have cooperated as they threaded their way through the state’s history. Blacks in Oregon sometimes pioneered laws and societal practices that reflected national events. Although minuscule in numbers, blacks, along with white allies, led the way in enacting racial justice legislation during the mid-twentieth century. Oregon’s Constitution, however, banned both slavery and free blacks — while the state’s political leadership supported the Union during the Civil War, which led to the end of slavery. Join us for an evening exploring Oregon’s enigmatic history in relation to blacks.
At age 85, Portland's Darcelle XV is the nation's oldest performing drag queen and operates what is thought to be the country's longest running drag revue. Throughout her long career she has been a part of revolutionary change within the LGBT community. Today, Walter Cole, as Darcelle XV, remains Portland's iconic Drag Queen.