Heroes and rascals, shipwrecks and lost gold: Strange but true stories and secrets of Oregon's wild past | Offbeat Oregon History While doing some cleaning-up around the Odd Fellows Hall in Scio, a local girl found a tiny coffin with this partial skeleton inside. Whose? We'll probably never know ... (Story No. 204, Oct. 14, 2012) The ever-elusive D.B. Cooper peeks into the page from behind his signature shades. The story of his skyjacking exploit starts with episode 237, from June 2, 2013. Meet Kitty Kat, the wealthiest feline in the state of Oregon and landlord to the City of Tangent. Kitty Kat, until he died at a ripe old age in 1995, owned City Hall. (Story No. 163, Jan. 8, 2012) This crazy-looking speedboat was the invention of Portland wizard Victor Strode. The city commissioned a harbor patrol boat based on his design, but it didn't work out. (Story No. 201, Sept. 23, 2012) The Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (now known as Osho -- yes, THAT Osho) as he appeared when he lived in Wasco County with his followers. That's also him in the white Rolls-Royce surrounded by followers, in a scene from Rajneeshpuram. (Four-part story starts with Column No. 73, May 9, 2010 This is the roof of the Franz Bread Rest Hut at Pixieland, the Oregon Coast's ill-starred answer to Disneyland, which opened in 1969 and went out of biz in 1974. The Rest Hut consisted of a giant fiberglass loaf of bread sticking out of the top of this giant fiberglass hollow log, the whole thing towering over a log-flume roller coaster ride. It's probably the most campily awesome example of the proud display of crass commercialism that was Pixieland. (Column No. 52 - Dec. 6, 2009)
2012 articles2012 articles About Offbeat Oregon 2012 articles 2011 articles 2010 articles 2008-2009 articles About me Store (the Finn J.D. John Centre for Crass Commercialism and Filthy Lucre)
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Table of contents: 2012 articles

These are the columns published in the fifth year of Offbeat Oregon History.

<< Oldest: 2008-2009 stories | < Older: 2011 stories | | — This page: 2012 stories — | | Newer: 2013 stories > | Newest: 2014 stories >>
 

No.

Date:

Headline

Thumbnail

Area

215

12/30/12

Larry Sullivan: Boxer, politician, con artist, shanghai man

A prizefighter with a great head for business, friends in high places and absolutely no conscience, Larry Sullivan organized Portland's shanghaiiers into a cartel — causing international notoriety for Portland. (Part 1 of 2)
The Portland harbor as it appeared around the turn of the century, when Larry Sullivan ran the local crimping and shanghaiing scene; this picture is from an old postcard.

•Portland

214

12/23/12

Chemawa School: An Oregon cultural treasure

Created to stifle Indian culture, the oldest surviving Native American boarding school has done the opposite — and it's fortunate for Oregon's cultural heritage that it has.
An old postcard showing one of the buildings at Chemawa Indian School back in the first decade of the 1900s. This building is gone now.

•Salem

213

12/16/12

Jim Turk: Shanghaiier, swindler, drunkard, millionaire

The old Portland shanghai scene's 'original gangster' was a mysterious character. Did he really inherit $30,000? If not, where did the money come from?
A drawing published in 1889 showing the intersection of Front and C streets; C street has since been renamed Couch. Jim Turk’s sailor boardinghouse was located on C Street between Front and First, a half-block beyond the right-hand side of this image.

•Portland

212

12/09/12

Visit to Portland ended with life in prison

Like the hero of an 1800s "cautionary tale," teenager Joseph Swards stepped off the ship, fell in with bad company, got caught up in a robbery that went horribly wrong — and in the end was lucky he wasn't hanged.
The Gem Saloon, next door to Portland city marshal James Lappeus's Oro Fino Saloon and Theater, as it appeared in 1876. This business was located on First Street between Stark and Oak, and probably was just a block or two south of the grocery store at which young Joseph Swards would start his tragic spree two years later.

•Portland

211

12/02/12

The fall of the Prineville Vigilantes

Crook County citizens finally decided they'd had enough of the secretive lynchings and killings, and they banded together and defeated the gang of masked riders without a single shot being fired. (Part 2 of 2)
The Portland Morning Oregonian's staff artist, Stan Lee, inked this illustration of the showdown between the Vigilantes and the Moonshiners that ended Vigilante rule in Crook County for good.

•Prineville area (Crook County)

210

11/25/12

When the Vigilantes ruled Prineville

In Crook County, the early 1880s were like something out of a Louis L'Amour novel: Masked riders galloping around by night, dispensing what they saw as justice. It all started with the lynching of an innocent man. (Part 1 of 2)
The front cover of "Masked Rider Western," a pulp magazine published during and after World War II. This particular piece of cover art depicts a fictional scene that looks surprisingly similar to what actually happened the night of the lynching that kicked off Vigilante rule in Crook County.

•Prineville area (Crook County)

209

11/18/12

Horrifying asylum kitchen mix-up left dozens dead

Sent downstairs to fetch a pan of powdered milk, a kitchen assistant at the Oregon State Hospital dipped his scoop into the wrong bin — and brought back six pounds of roach poison. It was mixed into the eggs and fed to 467 people.
The main entry of the Oregon State Hospital as it appeared in the late 1940s, shortly after this incident.

•Salem

208

11/11/12

Courthouse square once was the site of palatial “Hotel Portland”

The grand monument to the Gilded Age was a municipal architectural treasure and hosted U.S. presidents, but was razed in the 1950s to make way for a parking garage; all that remains is a wrought-iron rail.
A view of the Portland Hotel across the lawn from the Pioneer Courthouse, circa 1920, with a streetcar on the right.

•Portland

207

11/4/12

Boozy generosity turned the tables for the Prineville Nine that day

Wall Street financial wizard Thomas Lawson happened to be in town and betting on Prineville's amateur baseball team, when he learned the Silver Lake team had hired "ringers" to make sure they'd win. It was working; they were up 9-0 halfway through. But Lawson knew how to change that.
A residential street in Prineville, circa 1905.

•Prineville

206

10/28/12

Senator John H. Mitchell: The Snidely Whiplash of Oregon

John Hipple dumped his family, changed his name and moved West. A dozen years and a few easy-money real-estate swindles later, he was a wealthy man, a prominent Portland citizen, a hugely successful railroad-and-timber lawyer and a U.S. Senator.
The classic moustache-twirling melodrama villain, a property deed in his hand and an icy chill in his eye, is a dramatic staple to this day. But the character isn't as unrealistic as you might think.

•Portland

205

10/21/12

Long-lost Guild's Lake was once Portland's water wonderland

The hordes of awestruck visitors who admired the scenery at the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition would have been shocked if they'd known the beautiful little lake would be gone in 20 years — filled in for industrial lands. Not a trace remains.
The front cover of “Glimpses of the Lewis and Clark Exposition,” a souvenir booklet printed for the event by a Chicago publisher, shows a hand-painted overview of Guild’s Lake when the Exposition was under way on its shores in 1905.

•Portland

204

10/14/12

Mysterious skeletons of Oregon: If only these bones could speak ...

Sometimes the silent bones of the long dead almost seem to want to tell their stories ... but, of course, they can't.There are a few stories of skeletal remains found in Oregon whose secrets will probably never be known.
The skull of the skeleton found in the Odd Fellows hall in Scio, which is now at Oregon State University. The skeleton was that of a hard-working man who died sometime between 1860 and 1890.

•Scio, Prineville, southeastern high desert

203

10/07/12

Deadly weather catches Oregon by surprise when it comes

Cyclones, tornadoes, flash floods, earthquakes and volcanoes — the Beaver State is not immune to any of these things, but they're rare enough that no one is expecting them when they appear.
This is a screenshot from a YouTube video posted by "Newsiegirl2008" after the Aumsville tornado. It's video footage of the funnel cloud actually on the ground, picking up stuff -- in Aumsville, Oregon, December 2010.

•Astoria, Heppner, Aumsville, Portland, etc.

202

9/30/12

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

This was the town where the Eastern Oregon Gold Rush of '61 got started, and it was a wild and lawless place; town ordinances did prohibit stabbing or shooting people “in public places," but otherwise the town was mostly wide open.
Auburn was founded by miners who sought placer gold the old-fashioned way, with a shovel and a pan, but more sophisticated techniques were soon in play. One of the reasons Auburn died, though, was a lack of water; the creek that ran through town didn’t deliver enough to supply operations like the one pictured here; this particular operation is Sheriff Brown's placer mine, near Baker City.

•Near Baker City

201

9/23/12

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

Prolific Portland inventor Victor Strode designed a boat that was half airplane and all art-deco-age futurism, and early tests with a smaller model were very promising. But the larger model he built for the city was a disappointment.
Oregon inventor Victor Strode’s revolutionary boat, the 'aerohydrocraft,' made the front cover of the March 1931 issue of Popular Science. The design didn't prove a useful one for the City of Portland, though, and the larger model the city commissioned to function as a harbor police boat didn't work out.

•Tomahawk Island, Salem, Portland

200

9/16/12

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

Largest elephant in captivity went from 'Tusko the Magnificent,' star of Lotus Isle, to 'Tusko the Unwanted,' abandoned at the Oregon State Fair, with several destructive rampages along the way.
The roof of the bumper cars ride at Lotus Isle was formed like a massive, hairless, growling bulldog, complete with fangs -- seemingly custom-made to frighten any small children who might happen by.

•Tomahawk Island, Salem, Portland

199

9/09/12

The story of Lotus Isle, Oregon's most surreal amusement park

The short-lived attraction on Tomahawk Island was launched in an attempt to shake down the owners of nearby Jantzen Beach; their bluff called, the backers were forced to go forward with it
The roof of the bumper cars ride at Lotus Isle was formed like a massive, hairless, growling bulldog, complete with fangs -- seemingly custom-made to frighten any small children who might happen by.

•Tomahawk Island (Portland)

198

9/02/12

Fort Rock's legendary Reub Long could spin a wild “tall tale”

Oregon was once known as a place full of "great liars" — tellers of tales so tall they'd cause every pair of pants in the room to spontaneously burst into flame. Oregon storyteller Reub Long could hold his own with the best of them.
Artist Leland John of Oregon City sketched this scene from one of Reub Long's adventures. The city man in the car is wondering what Reub and his neighbor are doing; they've got a big, fierce, live rat and a bucket of whitewash, and -- "Never mind. Drive on, James."

•Fort Rock, Bend

197

8/26/12

Schemers sought to seize Peter Iredale shipwreck, sell for scrap

Clackamas County man claimed his father had bought the salvage rights in 1908, setting off a huge dust-up among residents, beachgoers and politicians, who scrambled to protect the landmark wreck. He almost got away with it, too.
The remains of the barque Peter Iredale as they appear today, jutting out of the beach sands on Clatsop Spit at Warrenton as they have since 1906. In 1960, the wreck nearly was lost to a man who claimed he owned it.

•Astoria, Warrenton

196

8/19/12

Apollo 15 astronaut left a piece of Oregon lava on the moon

When astronaut Jim Irwin came to Bend for lunar landing training in the lava rock of Oregon's 'moon country,' he made friends with a local resident — who gave him a sliver of Oregon lava to leave on the moon's surface. And so he did.
Commander Dave Scott salutes the U.S. flag, which has just been planted on the surface of the moon. A small piece of Oregon lava rock, carried to the moon by Scott's fellow astronaut Jim Irwin, lies within this photo, next to one of the many bootprints. (Image: NASA)

•Bend, McKenzie Pass, the moon

195

8/12/12

Before newspaper “crusade,” tainted milk was killing babies

State regulators didn't care, so neither did some dairy farmers, who left dead cows to rot among their dairy herds and brought milk to market in the same cans they used to slop the hogs; Portland led the nation in baby deaths as a result.
A lantern slide showing a "modern dairy farm" early in the 20th century. The dairy operation shown in this slide is clean and tidy, unlike some of the outfits newspaperman Marshall Dana encountered when he investigated Portland's milk supply in 1909.

•Portland

194

8/05/12

Long-gone dance hall hosted Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash, more

Elvis Presley himself is rumored to have played at The Cottonwoods, a jumpin' joint near Lebanon, where thousands danced to the music of many of the 20th Century's greatest musicians. Today, it's a vacant lot — piled high with memories.
The Woody Herman Band performs at the mid-Willamette Valley's legendary Cottonwoods Ballroom in November 1947.

•Lebanon/ Albany

193

7/29/12

Rusty derelict turned out to be historic Liberty Ship lifeboat

What looked like a rotting-away hunk of scrap steel was a rare artifact of Portland's World War II shipbuilding industry — but the discovery was made just a few days too late.
The courtyard at the Oregon State Penitentiary as it appeared in the 1910s.

•Sauvie Island

192

7/22/12

Busting out of the joint was a job for a safecracker, 100 years ago

Of all the prisoners who tried to escape from Oregon's state prison, the "yeggs" were most successful — if “successful” is the right word. Their schemes for leaving the jailhouse behind included a tunneling scheme right out of “Shawshank.”
The courtyard at the Oregon State Penitentiary as it appeared in the 1910s.

•Salem

191

7/15/12

Prison break happened during “conjugal visit” at cheap motel

By far the most embarrassing jailbreak in state history happened when a murderer simply walked out the back door of a Motel 6 during an unsupervised “date” with a woman officials thought was his fiancee.
The Motel 6 on Mission Street in Salem as it appeared in the 1970s, when Carl Cletus Bowles escaped from the custody of the Oregon State Penitentiary by walking out the back door during a conjugal visit while a prison guard watched the front.

•Salem

190

3/11/09

The heroic final flight of Cottage Grove's Jim Wright

He'd spent thousands of hours re-creating history's most mysterious aircraft. Something had gone wrong, and he was about to crash it. When he did, somebody would die — who that would be was up to him.
The painstaking replica of Howard Hughes' H-1 Racer, which shattered the world speed record in the early 1930s, parked outside the hangar of its builder, Cottage Grove entrepreneur Jim Wright.

•Cottage Grove

189

7/08/12

Quest for “Lost Cabin Gold Mine” led to discovery of Crater Lake

Miners were searching for a fabulous source of gold, formerly belonging to a friend who'd mysteriously disappeared; they never found it, and maybe it's still out there somewhere.
The miners who 'discovered' Crater Lake never did find the gold mine they were looking for, and back in Jacksonville folks were unimpressed with their story. After all, you can't set up a round for the house and pay for it with a lake, can you?

•Jacksonville, Crater Lake

188

7/01/12

Crooked gambler and liquor man was Portland's first police chief

James Lappeus came to Portland from the gold fields of California, where he was a gambler, saloonkeeper and general mining-town rowdy. His career as a cop was dogged by rumors he'd offered to spring a murderer for a $1,000 bribe.
Portrait of James Lappeus, former Portland Chief of Police, made from an old photo by artist Leland John.

•Astoria

187

6/24/12

In 1880s, salmon were the real “most dangerous catch”

Fishermen working in heavy 24-foot boats at the mouth of the Columbia kept getting sucked out onto the bar and drowning in its massive breakers. Their odds of not surviving a season were as high as 1 in 15.
Fishing boats come in off the bar after the turn of the tide. This postcard image dates from the late 1800s, when salmon fishing on the bar was done with heavy 24-foot double-enders. If they drifted too far out onto the bar, there was often nothing that could be done for them.

•Astoria

186

6/17/12

Oregon lost world's biggest log cabin in spectacular 1964 fire

Ancient electrical wiring ignited Portland's legendary Forestry Building, a structure made of massive, flawless old-growth logs that had been built for the Lewis and Clark Exposition in 1905.
A souvenir postcard image of the Forestry Building from the 1905 Lewis and Clark Expo, probably from a sketch made before construction was complete.

•Portland

185

6/10/12

The mysterious demise of the S.S. South Coast: What happened?

Historic steam schooner vanished on a calm night in 1930, leaving lifeboats and debris floating in the water — but no bodies, alive or dead. Was it a violent micro-storm? A “seaquake”? A boiler explosion? We'll never really know.
The West Coast steam schooner South Coast, drawn early in its long but fateful maritime career.

•Coos Bay

184

6/03/12

How Oregon almost lost public access to its beaches

After a beachfront landowner discovered a loophole in the law and fenced off “his” beach, other oceanfront property owners were eager to follow suit. Governor Tom McCall was determined to stop them, and this is how he did it.
Haystack Rock and Cannon Beach as seen in a postcard image from 1966. When this photo was made, the fences, cabanas, lounge furnishings and "no trespassing" signs were on the beach to the right of the area shown in this picture.

•Cannon Beach

183

5/27/12

Oregon's first female lawyer: A legal Mother Teresa?

The real Mary Leonard was probably someone who had given up “the good life” after realizing, during her time in jail, that the powerless women of her time were getting a raw deal — and determined to do something about it.
An old photo of Mary Leonard, circa 1890. Leonard was the first female attorney in the history of both Oregon and Washington states.

•Portland

182

5/20/12

Pioneering Oregon “lady lawyer” deserved a better legacy

Had Mary Leonard died in 1890, she'd be remembered as a brilliant orator and an inspiration to future Oregon women and attorneys. But fate let her live another 20 years, during which she devolved into a total nut case.
Portland's Pioneer Courthouse as it appeared in 1887. At the time this engraving was made, Mary Leonard was a regular officer of this court.

•Portland

181

5/13/12

Oregon's first female lawyer faced trial for murder of her husband

Historians, eager to see in her the caricature of the nagging, garrulous fishwife and gold-digging black widow, have missed the real story of Mary Leonard — and done both her, and the historical record, a disservice.
After the trial, Mary Leonard moved to Portland and opened a boardinghouse two blocks west of this intersection.

•The Dalles, Portland

180

5/06/12

“Roaring Twenties” murder mystery solved by cop's diligence

Caught by a railroad “bull,” the thief shot his way out and ran for it. But an accurate shot by the dying guard and some persistent police work brought the bad guy to justice in a pistol-waving scene in a seedy Albina hotel room.
As the cops walked into the room, a long arm snaked out from under the bed and dove under the pillow, then emerged gripping a big revolver.

•Albina (Portland)

179

4/29/12

Giant skeleton find recalled old legend of pirate treasure

Neighbors wonder if the eight-foot-tall skeleton found by developer at what today is YWCA Camp Westwind was evidence that an old Native American legend of a pirate ship is true; if so, there might actually be booty buried there, some say.
An aerial view of Three Rocks Beach, which today fronts YWCA Camp Westwind, beneath Cascade Head. The spot where the giant skeleton was found is just to the right of this picture.

•North Lincoln County

178

4/22/12

Historic mansion was once home of Portland “starvation cult”

The motto of Kate Ann Williams' cult was "Pray and be Cured," and adherents went on rigorous 40-day fasts that occasionally killed them. The cult disappeared after its leader starved herself to death.
A color lithograph of George and Kate Ann Williams’s Victorian  mansion, located at 18th and Couch streets downtown. This picture is from the mid-1890s.

•Portland

177

4/15/12

Oregon man's Supreme Court confirmation scotched by his wife

Senate committee went from a solid consensus to confirm George H. Williams, to a firm determination not to, in just one week. The cause? Most believed it was because of the arrogant attitude of Mrs. Williams toward the senators' wives.
The letter, signed by President U.S. Grant, asking the U.S. Senate to remove George H. Williams for consideration as a nominee for U.S. Supreme Court chief justice.

•Salem,
Washington, D.C.

176

4/08/12

Mass murderer honored in monument at county courthouse

75 years ago, without realizing who he was, Wallowa County included Bruce “Blue” Evans — leader of the gang that massacred dozens of innocent Chinese miners back in 1887 — on a plaque commemorating its pioneers.
The archway monument leading up to the Wallowa County Courthouse,  built in 1936. The bronze plaque on the inside left of the arch includes  the name of murderer and horse thief Bruce “Blue” Evans.

•Snake River/ Wallowa County

175

4/01/12

Mariner survived shipwreck by being trapped in the wreckage

George May was in an impossible situation, trapped in the upside-down hull of his ship, waiting for death. But then the ship washed ashore, the tide receded, and he lived to tell the story of the wreck of the M/V Oshkosh.
A postcard image of the schooner H.H. Chamberlain in the great gale of 1898. The Oshkosh was smaller and had just two masts, but the situation the ship was in was similar.

•Oregon Coast

174

3/25/12

Shanghaied in Astoria: Port city was once a perilous place

Desperate for men, shanghai operators once tried to kidnap the local Methodist minister — and found out the hard way that he was a retired prizefighter.
A street scene in downtown Astoria from the "golden age of  shanghaiing" in Oregon, featuring the Odd Fellows Temple, drawn by the staff artist at The West Shore, a literary magazine based in  Portland, and published in 1887.

•Astoria

173

3/18/12

“Oregon’s Outback” was a real moonshiner's paradise in ’20s

Central and Eastern Oregon was “Oregon's liquor cabinet” during Prohibition; its wide open spaces and tight-knit communities made busting bootleggers uncommonly difficult there.
A mountain moonshine still on display at the McCreary County Museum in Stearns, Kentucky.

•Prineville area, Central Oregon

172

3/11/12

Postwar Portland turned away Nat “King” Cole, Billie Holiday

Crusty, spluttering city leaders, full of self-righteous outrage over mixed-race dancing that was going on at “The Dude Ranch,” found an excuse to order the West Coast's hottest jazz club shut down.
The Hazlewood Building, built in 1923, was the home of The Dude  Ranch for a year or two at the end of World War II.

•North Portland

171

3/04/12

Cruise-ship skipper wasn’t the first to “fall into a lifeboat”

Captains are supposed to be the last to leave their sinking ships, not the first. But that required act of valor has always been easier said than done — as evidenced by the story of the 1903 wreck of the S.S. South Portland off Cape Blanco.
 The 216-foot, 1,045-ton coastwise steamship Czarina was of similar 
size and vintage to the 900-ton S.S. South Portland. In 1910 the 
Czarina also came to a bad end, foundering in a gale in the outer 
breakers off Coos Bay; only one person survived.

•Cape Blanco

170

2/25/12

Incompetent opium smugglers had friend in high places

Political boss James Lotan had landed a federal appointment that was flush with possibilities for graft and corruption. Too bad he picked such a bumbling group of criminals to partner up with.
Portland's Stark Street Ferry, shown here during its salad days when it was the only way to get across the Willamette River in Portland. By the time part-owner James Lotan blackmailed the city into buying it, it had been made irrelevant by bridge construction, and unseaworthy by lack of maintenance.

•Portland

169

2/19/12

First seaworthy log raft helped Oregon build city of San Diego

Lumber magnate Simon Benson needed to get logs from the Columbia to his mill in Southern California, so he designed cigar-shaped log rafts a full acre in size. They were a familiar sight until the early 1940s.
One of Simon Benson's famous log rafts, made with more than 6 million board feet of old-growth Oregon timber, is launched in Columbia Slough and prepared for its 1,100-mile journey down the West Coast to San Diego.

•Clatskanie/ Lower Columbia River

168

2/12/12

Fog made the difference between a reprimand and a medal

Legendary Coast Guard lifesaver took his brand-new rescue boat dangerously close to shore to save four drowning people; hundreds of people were watching and cheering, but USCG brass wanted to bust him for risking the boat
Master Chief Thomas McAdams at the helm of one of the Coast Guard boats. McAdams participated in more than 5,000 rescues, and personally saved at least 100 people from drowning.

•Newport/ Yaquina Bay

167

2/05/12

Homesteader’s plan to get extra land involved bigamy, murder

Norman Williams “married” her to get title to her land claim, but then she found out he had another wife in Dufur, so she moved out. So he killed her and her mother and forged her signature on the land-claim deed.
The headlines of the article on the bigamy-murder trial of Norman Williams in the May 26, 1904, edition of the Portland Morning Oregonian

•Hood River

166

1/29/12

Forty-day debauch made Oregon legislature nationally notorious

Six-week-long drunken party was thrown by the notoriously rascally Jonathan Bourne Jr. to keep the state Legislature from convening, so it couldn't elect John H. Mitchell to the U.S. Senate. It worked — well, sort of.
A portrait of Portland's 'municipal rascal,' bad-boy businessman and politician Jonathan Bourne Jr., as he appeared in the 1880s when he was still young and still sporting his giant, fluffy mustache.

•Salem

165

1/22/12

Coast Guard catastrophe sprang from bad boat design

Bafflingly, the Coast Guard's biggest rescue boat on the Columbia River Bar was one that hadn't been designed to survive a rollover. So, in early 1961, it didn't — and neither did five members of its six-man crew.
The crew of the 52-foot motor lifeboat Triumph II lays a wreath in the sea where five members of the crew of the first Triumph died, on the Columbia River Bar. The Triumph II is a completely different boat design.

•Columbia River bar

164

1/15/12

Coast Guard's worst Columbia disaster started as routine rescue

Mammoth seas on the legendary Columbia River Bar, plus the untimely removal of a vital piece of life-saving gear by short-sighted military brass, cost the lives of five Coast Guardsmen that night.
A 40-foot Coast Guard utility boat. One of this type participated in the disastrous rescue of a fishing boat, which ended in the death of seven people - five Coast Guardsmen and the two men they were trying to rescue.

•Columbia River bar

163

1/08/12

Tangent City Hall office cat was the city's landlord

Willamette Valley town's mascot was the state's wealthiest housecat; he owned City Hall along with the farm it was built on, as well as an iconic red barn. Today, you can visit Kitty Kat's grave, but his barn is in danger of being torn down.
The late Kitty Kat, in his day Oregon's wealthiest feline,

•Tangent

162

1/01/12

Oregon City was home of world's first electric power grid

Entrepreneurs figured out how to send power long-distance for the first time in American history; later, after a flood wiped out power station, they pioneered alternating-current transmission
The first power station in U.S. history to supply a long-distance grid connection.

•Oregon City

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