Portland’s Lost Alaskans 😢, the white plague 🤒 and a state sponsored rock festival that included some 😜 naughty stuff! Check out these videos

We’re living through a pandemic, we’ve seen the wildfires, and we are known for our protests. But before all of this, there were other, fascinating, scary, conflicting, sad stories that happened here. Luckily for us, they’ve been documented on videos.

9 Videos Documenting Important Times in Our History

  1. The only state-sponsored rock festival. Nudity. Check. Drugs. Check. Protests curtailed. Check. Over fifty years ago, Oregon’s Republican governor did something that has never been done before or since – he authorized and encouraged young people to attend a free, drug-fueled rock concert at a state park. The decision might have ended in disaster. Instead, tens of thousands of people attended, successfully drawing anti-war protesters away from President Richard Nixon’s planned visit to Portland. Watch: Vortex 1: The only state-sponsored rock festival in U.S. history
    (Credit: Oregon Public Broadcasting)
  2. Winds up to 145 mph ripped through Willamette Valley. The 1962 Columbus Day Storm sent winds up to 145 miles an hour ripping through Willamette Valley without any warning. It’s still considered one of the worst weather events in Oregon’s history. Watch: Preparing for disasters, remembering the Columbus Day Storm
    (Credit: Oregon Public Broadcasting)
  3. The violent clash between Portland Police and Portland State University students
    Protests against the Vietnam War, the shipping of nerve gas through Oregon, the imprisonment of Black Panther Bobby Seale, and most notably, the infamous shooting deaths of four students at Kent State, started a student demonstrations at Portland State University in 1970. For five days, Portland and Portland State University were separated by anger, mistrust, suspicion. On the sixth day, they were separated by hate, grief, and fear. Watch: The Seventh Day (1970)
    (Credit: Portland State University)
  4. Goodbye highway, hello park
    In the 1970s, Portland made the radical decision to rip up its oldest freeway and replace it with a city park. This documentary explores the forgotten story of Harbor Drive — how it was once Oregon’s most prestigious roadway, and how a variety of circumstances eventually led to its removal. Watch: The Forgotten Story of Harbor Drive: Portland’s Demolished Freeway
    (Credit: KGWS)
  5. How a whole “town” disappeared in Portland
    The biggest Columbia River Flood of the 20th Century wiped out the wartime housing project of Vanport, Oregon’s second largest city during World War II. How did Vanport come to exist, and how did it disappear? Watch: Vanport and the Columbia River Floods of 1948
    (Credit: National Weather Service – Portland)
  6. The story of the last stop on the Oregon Trail
    Where the Future Began reveals the dramatic story of cultures, risk-takers, and entrepreneurs tapping into “one of the great geologic secrets of North America.” Willamette Falls, among the largest waterfalls in the nation, was the last stop on the Oregon Trail, the birthplace of a state, and a place where dreamers unlocked the potential of electricity, and changed the world forever.
    Watch: Willamette Falls – Where the Future Began
    (credit: Portland General Electric)
  7. The Lost Alaskans of Portland – because they were considered criminals (but weren’t)
    Thousands of Alaskans were sent to Morningside Hospital in Oregon between 1904 and the early 1960s because there were no facilities in Alaska to treat the mentally handicapped and those suffering other disabilities. After the hospital closed, many of these people were never heard from again. The hospital building burned and all records were lost. Watch: The Lost Alaskans
    (Credit: University of Alaska Fairbanks)
    [Note: the sound of this video is not good but the information is important. Click here, if you would rather read about The Lost Alaskans in Portland.]
  8. The White Plague 
    Getting tuberculosis (TB) in 1900 was a death sentence. One in seven people in the world died from it. It was a long, drawn out death, which earned it the nicknames: the wasting disease, consumption, and the white plague. There were no antibiotics at the time, so the only treatment was to isolate people, put them outside on porches to take in the cure “fresh air,” and make sure they had plenty of rest. At first, it was thought to be a genetic disease, but then scientists realized it was a contagious disease, and that good hygiene was an important part of keeping it at bay. Since TB was so deadly, it caused great panic. Health inspectors were hired to inspect people’s homes. People were quarantined against their will. Parents were urged not to kiss their children. Some states, like NY, built floating hospitals. Other states, like South Carolina, built hospitals with three walls to a room (making sure that one wall was just the great outdoors). Oregon was the first Western state to build a public tuberculosis hospital, a.k.a., sanatorium (sometimes called “lungers” camp).
    Watch: How Oregon Fought Tuberculosis.
    (Credit: Oregon Public Broadcasting)
  9. That time Oregon pretended to be the moon
    Before the 1969 moon landing, most of the Apollo astronauts trained in Central Oregon. The area’s unique lava formations were thought to resemble the lunar surface. Oregon played a pivotal role in man making it to the moon. Watch:  Oregon’s Moon Country
    (Credit: Oregon Public Broadcasting)