State Council of Defense for Oregon

Four images symbolizing the Defense Council
Clockwise from top left: The U.S. flag was prominent in patriotic campaigns promoted by the council; State Historian Cornelia Marvin worked to save Oregon's war history; the Oregon flag represented the state's control of life on the home front during the war; Francis Coon of Corvallis (naval aviation) is one of tens of thousands documented in the Defense Council personal military service histories.
World War I presented challenges existing state agencies were not well equipped to meet. Certainly, the Oregon National Guard played a central role in the state's response to war. But there were legal and practical limits to its powers. Oregon needed the ability to address a wide range of home front issues with speed and flexibility, unencumbered by the status quo and engrained institutional barriers.

The defense council existed for only a short time during the war but took on the vital job of coordinating a myriad of efforts on the home front. And it left a legacy of personal military service histories that provide an invaluable window into the experiences of nearly 36,000 Oregonians who went to war.

Rising to the Times