March

Beyond the Beach Bill
Governor Tom McCall halts all construction projects potentially damaging to the Oregon Coast’s natural environment. “We can no longer go pell-mell into development efforts without regard to the harm we do,” he announces. His order kills the highway commission’s plans for a devastating new path for US 101 and further burnishes the governor’s environmental legacy, which began three years earlier when he led the passage of Oregon’s Beach Bill, forever guaranteeing public access to the state’s entire coastline.

Death of a Commissioner
City Commissioner Stanley Earl keels over of a heart attack. With Commissioner Bill Bowes having died four months earlier, and Commissioner Buck Grayson planning to retire, the Portland City Council is ripe for a transformation in the November election.

April

 

70s-great-notion

A poster for Sometimes a Great Notion.

Touching a Nerve
Mirroring the country’s growing frustration with the ongoing war in Vietnam and its growing worries about pollution, 2,000 citizens march downtown to condemn the Army’s plans to store 13,000 tons of nerve and mustard gas in Hermiston. Five weeks of public outrage reach a crescendo in a dramatic “die-in” in front of the Oregonian’s headquarters.

For the Love of Gaia
A Wisconsin senator may have dreamt it up, but it’s Oregonians who celebrate the first Earth Day with a vengeance as students across the city engage in weeklong programs to clean up our corner of Mother Earth, even going so far as to scrub Teddy’s Rough Rider statue in the Park Blocks with soap and water. Governor McCall uses the day to rally opposition against the Army’s nerve-gas storage. “If we are to succeed in saving our planet, the battle will be won or lost at the local level,” he says in an Earth Day speech. Putting a new spin on Cold War rhetoric, he adds, “Oregon is the key state in the domino structure of North America. If we fail, pollution marches on.” After five weeks of protest and a state lawsuit, the Army relents and McCall wins a major battle against the Nixon administration.

Studying the Other History
Amid racial tensions and nationwide unrest over school integration, Portland State University rolls out its Black Studies program “to develop a better understanding of, and rapport with, blacks.” Administrators encourage whites to enroll in the program.