May 20, 1956 – After 18 years of service, The Spokane, Portland & Seattle (S P & S)
steam locomotive #700 makes its final, official run. The Farewell to Steam Excursion attracted 1375 passenger who piled into 21 cars in Portland for a trip to Wishram, Washington and back. Today the SP&S 700 is owned by the City of Portland, and is maintained by the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation. The locomotive was declared a “historic place” in 2006, and is still occasionally enlisted for special occasions, like the annual Holiday Express.
May 21, 2006 – At 7 a.m. the 499 foot tall cooling tower of the Trojan Nuclear Power Plant, Oregon’s first and only commercial nuclear power plant, is imploded. Located in Rainier on the Columbia River, The Trojan Nuclear Power Plant had been decommissioned since 1993. Cost overruns, construction flaws, frequent malfunctions, poor performance and protests marked its 16 year existence (about 20 years shorter than its design lifetime). Check out this short video presentation of Trojan’s history and demise.
May 22, 1969 – The Black Student Union clashes with police at a demonstration
demanding the resignation of one of Seattle Community Colleg’s five white trustees and
the appointment of a black one. A few hundred protestors storm the Edison Technical
School (an SCC satellite school), but are cleared out by the Seattle Tactical Squad.
May 23, 1937 – The Palomar supper club opens at 713 Burrard Street at Alberni in Vancouver, B.C. The Palomar quickly becomes the place in town for big-name entertainers in the 1940s and & 50s,, including the Ink Spots, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.
May 24, 1935 – One of the most sensational crimes in Washington history occurs when
George H. Weyerhaeuser, the 9-year-old son of timber baron John Philip Weyerhaeuser
Jr., is kidnapped off the street in Tacoma, Washington in broad daylight. His captors
mail a note to the Weyerhaeuser family demanding $200,000 ransom for the boy’s safe
return, giving them five days to acquire the money. After his father paid the ransom in
specially marked bills, the boy was released on the Issaquah-Hobart Road approximately
four miles south of Issaquah. Fifteen days later , after an exhaustive manhunt, autorities
would arrest Harmon Metz Waley and his wife, Margaret, in Salt Lake City, Utah for
possession of some of the marked money. The pair confessed to the crime and identified
ex-convict William Dainard as the “brains” behind the kidnapping.
May 25, 1972 – Oregon’s tallest building, the 40-story Wells Fargo Tower in downtown Portland, Oregon is dedicated. Originally called the First National Center, the Charles
Luckman Associates-designed building was constructed for $40 million dollars. When it opened the first 21 floors, plus the five stories of the adjacent (via sky bridge) data processing plant building, were occupied by the First National Bank (about 1500 employees at the time). This short feature focuses on Wells Fargo’s sense of equality during its founding history in Oregon, a trait it seems to have forgotten as of late.
May 26, 1928 – With much fanfare, and expensive advertising, the Jantzen Beach
amusement park opens on Hayden island in the middle of the Columbia River. It was said that every eight hours, 1,000,000 gallons of clean water would flow into the park’s mammoth swimming pools, considered the finest and cleanest in North America. The park also featured the Big Dipper roller coaster, the largest of its kind in the west, a Tilt-a-Whirl, The Skooter bumper cars, and a spacious promenade. The following film features vintage footage as well as first hand accounts of what was once the largest amusement park in the U.S. A.
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