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The buildup began in 1915 but by 1921, the Klan became a force to be reckoned with in Oregon.



Early 1915: "Birth of a Nation" released, a film that glorified the original terrorist Ku Klux Klan of the post-Civil War era.

November: William Simmons announces new version of the KKK, with a burning cross atop Stone Mountain in Georgia.


June: With Klan membership languishing, Simmons hires PR pros Elizabeth Tyler and Edward Clarke to expand the Atlanta-based hate group, fueling exponential growth.


Early 1921: Luther Powell, first Klan recruiter in Oregon, arrives in Medford from California to sign up members and to organize Southern Oregon chapters.

Spring 1921: Klan recruiter Bragg Calloway arrives in Portland to sign up members and to organize chapter.

July: Luther Powell replaces Calloway as main Klan organizer in Portland.

Date uncertain: Elizabeth Tyler and Edward Clarke hire Texas Klan leader Hiram Evans to take charge of national membership recruitment.

Aug. 1: Klan claims 1,000 members, including 150 Portland policemen, with chapters forming in Salem, Eugene, Ashland, Medford and Hood River. Powell is now "king kleagle," the regional Klan leader, and Fred Gifford is "exalted cyclops," head of Portland chapter.

August: Portland NAACP petitions Gov. Ben Olcott to promote law and order with regard to Klan activities.

September: Gov. Olcott tells New York World newspaper the Klan has "made practically no impression on our people or our institutions" in Oregon.

October: Klan holds first official chapter meeting in Portland.

Dec. 22: Klan holds first public event in Portland, a lecture attended by 6,000 at Portland Municipal Auditorium (now called Keller Auditorium).

Dec. 23: Portland Mayor George Baker announces formation of 100-person police vigilante squad, many of them Klansmen.

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