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Near-fatal lynchings come to Oregon, and Klan rallies in Portland are so popular, fans get turned away.

The Klan comes to Oregon in the 1920s


March: Catholic piano salesman abducted at gunpoint and strung up by mob wearing robes in Medford, who order him to drop lawsuit against reputed Klansman. It's the first of three near-fatal hangings in Medford, called "necktie parties."

April: African American railroad porter from Jacksonville kidnapped by Medford mob and strung up, with gunshots fired at his feet. Upon release, he runs off into the forest.

April: Mexican American farmhand abducted from his Medford home by mob in black masks and robes, and strung up from a tree. The mob, accusing him of bootlegging, releases him and orders him to leave town.

May 9: Klan attracts audience of 5,000 to Portland lecture; 1,500 people turned away due to lack of space.

May 10: Klan turns away another 1,000 people trying to attend Portland lecture.

May 13: Oregon Gov. Ben Olcott issues proclamation attacking Klan, on eve of primary election.

May 19: Olcott defeats Klan-backed candidate for governor, State Sen. Charles Hall, by a few hundred votes in GOP primary.

May 19: Klan candidates John Rankin and Dow Walker elected to Multnomah County Board of Commissioners.

June: Scottish Rite Masons and other anti-Catholic groups file petitions to qualify initiative on Oregon's November ballot aimed at banning Catholic schools.

July: Lem Dever establishes Western American, a regional Klan weekly newspaper, in Astoria; publication relocates to Portland in November.

July 6: Oregon Klan leaders establish Ladies of the Invisible Empire, a women's auxiliary of the Klan based in Portland.

Date uncertain: Oregon Klan leaders form Royal Riders of the Red Robe, which allows immigrants to affiliate with the Klan.

September: Portland Klan director Fred Gifford is named grand dragon of the Northwest, controlling Klans in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana.

Nov. 7: Klan-backed Democrat Walter Pierce easily defeats incumbent Republican Ben Olcott in governor's race. Pierce wins 57 percent of the vote, largest majority in an Oregon governor's race since 1858.

Nov. 7: Anti-Catholic school initiative passes statewide, with nearly 54 percent of the vote.

Nov. 21: Gov.-elect Pierce attends La Grande Klan meeting, introduced as honorary Klan member.

November: Hiram Evans seizes control of national Klan from William Simmons, becomes "imperial wizard."


January: Klan sympathizer Kaspar K. Kubli elected speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives.

Feb. 25: Trial begins in three Medford "necktie" lynching cases.

Feb. 26: Gov. Pierce signs Klan-backed Alien Land Bill, which bars Japanese and Chinese from owning land in Oregon.

March 3: Pierce and Portland Mayor George Baker attend Klan banquet, a birthday party for Klan leader Gifford, at Chamber of Commerce Building in Portland.

March 15: In 11th hour of trial presided by Klan-supported judge, state dismisses all charges against suspected Klansman in Medford "necktie" lynching cases.

Nov. 10: Seven hundred Klansmen initiated in ceremony at state fairgrounds in Salem, before audience of nearly 4,000. As Klan bands perform, airplanes towing fiery crosses fly overhead.

December: Oregon Voter reports there are now 58 chartered KKK chapters in Oregon with seven more provisionally chartered.

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