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Multnomah

The Tumultuous Story of Oregon's Most Populous County

Jewel Lansing and Fred Leeson

6 × 9 inches. B&W photographs. Notes. Bibliography. Appendices. Index. 336 pages.

2012. ISBN 978-0-87071-665-2. Paperback, $24.95.


Available June 2012

Covering people and events from 1854 to the present day, this definitive reference on the history, politics, and policy of Multnomah County provides compelling details about public works undertakings and political scandals.

Oregon’s tiniest county geographically quickly grew to be the state’s most populous. Through nearly sixteen decades, Multnomah County’s history seldom has been calm and peaceful. From hangings that turned into grim public spectacles in the nineteenth century to a glaring failure to deal with urban growth in the middle of the twentieth, the county has survived frequent home rule charter changes and several attempts to revamp its structure or merge with Portland’s better-known municipal government.

Highlighted episodes include the construction of the iconic Columbia River Highway between 1914 and 1918, the tragic flooding of Vanport City in 1948, the employee strike of 1980, the library scandal of 1989- 1990, and the same-sex marriage license debacle of 2004.

Historian Jewel Lansing and journalist Fred Leeson make effective use of archival sources, oral histories, newspaper articles, and personal interviews. History buffs and informed Portland citizens will be particularly engaged by the regional trivia and narrative details.

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