January

Portland Plants a Flag
In an auspicious beginning to a year of change, the City Council adopts an official city flag for Portland. Created by artist and teacher Douglas Lynch (and redrawn by him in 2002), the banner, which portrays two blue rivers converging in a field of green possibilities, still flies over City Hall.

Talking Trash
After years of spending millions of dollars to combat litter, Oregonians have had enough. Legislators vote to form the nonprofit group Stop Oregon Litter and Vandalism (SOLV), initially funding it with a tax on the can and bottling industries. Today, SOLV leads environmental projects in 250 communities, ranging from highway and beach cleanups to removal of invasive species.

Keep Hope … on Life Support
Reflecting Oregon’s perennial tardiness on race relations, Governor Tom McCall denies three Albina ministers’ request to declare Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a statewide holiday. Local black leaders call for a complete boycott of Portland Public Schools and hold a rally in North Portland.

Dam Environmentalists
Oregon Senator Bob Packwood joins with a fellow Republican to sponsor the Hells Canyon–Snake River Bill, which will add 395,000 acres in Idaho and Oregon to the federal wilderness reserve and forever ban the building of dams on the Snake and Salmon rivers.

Making a Living Room
Citing downtown’s increasing congestion and pollution, the Portland City Planning Commission unanimously denies the Meier & Frank Co department store a permit to build an 8- to 10-story parking garage next door. The retailer argues that an 800-car facility plopped in front of Pioneer Courthouse is crucial to its survival and accuses the commission of “discrimination.” But the vote clears the stage for the creation of Pioneer Courthouse Square 14 years later.