Oregon History: Chronology - 1951 to Present

photograph of Mark Hatfield and others in support of the Civil Rights Bill
Proponents of Oregon's 1953 Public Accommodations Bill, also known as the Civil Rights Bill. The legislation required "full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any place of public accommodation, resort or amusement, without any distinction, discrimination or restriction on account of race, religion, color or national origin.” (Image courtesy Oregon Historical Society)
Law prohibiting interracial marriages repealed
Constitution amended to provide for equal representation in state legislature
Public Accommodations Law prohibits racial discrimination by businesses
Congress terminates Western Oregon Indian tribes
Supreme Court upholds Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, abolishing segregated schools
Congress authorizes Interstate freeway system
Congress terminates Klamath Indian Tribe
Oregon Fair Housing Act passes
Oregon ratifies 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, 89 years after it is adopted
Census enumerates 1,768,687 residents
Congress passes Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act passes for management of national forests
First female U.S. Senator from Oregon, Maurine Neuberger, elected
Columbus Day Storm causes major damage in Western Oregon
Oregon State University football player Terry Baker (QB) becomes state’s first Heisman Trophy winner
Death penalty abolished
National Civil Rights Act outlaws unequal voter registration requirements; racial segregation in schools, workplace, public places
Congress passes Voting Rights Act prohibiting qualifications or prerequisites to voting
Astoria-Megler bridge
The Astoria-Megler Bridge over the Columbia River. (Oregon State Archives Scenic Image 20090226-0251​)
Workmen complete Astoria-Megler Bridge spanning Columbia estuary
I-5 affords non-stop driving through Oregon
Beach Bill approved, ensuring public access to all of Oregon’s coastal beaches
Racial tensions escalate into riots in Portland
Department of Environmental Quality created
Federal District Court in Sohappy v. Smith affirms Indian treaty fishing rights in Columbia River
U.S. Census enumerates 2,091,000 residents
Bottle Bill approved
Congress confirms Burns Paiute Reservation
Land Conservation Development Commission created
Public Meetings Law approved
Public Records Law approved
Tillamook State Forest created
Congress approves Endangered Species Act
Oregon ratifies U.S. Equal Rights Amendment
Congress creates John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
Oregon Health Sciences University forms out of mergers
Painted Hills at John Day Fossil Beds
Colorful hills at the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument near Mitchell. (Oregon State Archives Scenic Image 20130715-D8C_2705​)
Governor Tom McCall sets odd/even gasoline refueling days
Congress creates Hells Canyon National Recreation Area
First woman, Norma Paulus, elected secretary of state
First Oregon nuclear power plant, Trojan, built north of St. Helens
Aerosol sprays banned by law
Congress restores Confederated Tribes of Siletz
First woman, Betty Roberts, appointed to Oregon Court of Appeals
Portland Trail Blazers basketball team wins the NBA Championship
Death penalty reinstated
Federal District Court in Kimball v. Callahan affirms Klamath Indian hunting and fishing rights within former reservation
U.S. Census enumerates 2,633,000 residents
Congress creates new Siletz Reservation
Mt. St. Helens eruption disrupts ship traffic on Columbia River
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh establishes Rajneeshpuram
Congress restores Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians
First woman, Betty Roberts, appointed justice of Oregon Supreme Court
Congress restores Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde
Congress restores Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw
First Oregon lottery ratified by voters
First African-American woman, Margaret Carter, elected to state legislature
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh deported and fined $400,000
First woman, Vera Katz, selected speaker of Oregon House
Congress restores Klamath Tribe
The MAX light-rail system
The TriMet MAX light-rail transit train at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. (Oregon State Archives Scenic Image 20100219-0117​)
Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) begins light-rail service in Portland
Congress creates new Grand Ronde Reservation
Congress approves Civil Liberties Act paying $20,000 to each surviving interned Japanese-American
Ballot Measure 8 bans discrimination based on sexual orientation
African exchange student Mulugeta Seraw killed by racist skinheads in Portland​
Congress restores Coquille Indian Tribe
First Sports Action Lottery in U.S. sells tickets
U.S. Census enumerates 2,842,000 residents
Ballot Measure 5 limits property taxes to support schools and government
U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife lists Northern Spotted Owl as endangered
First woman, Barbara Roberts, elected governor
First African-American, James A. Hill, Jr., elected to statewide office as state treasurer
First gaming compact for casinos signed with Cow Creek and Umpqua Tribes
First statewide vote-by-mail election held in U. S.
First Death With Dignity Act approved permitting doctor-assisted suicide
First vote-by-mail election for federal office held
Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) extends light-rail service 18 miles west from Portland
New Carissa, freighter runs aground near Coos Bay
U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife lists several salmon species from Columbia and Willamette Rivers as endangered
U.S. Census enumerates 3,421,399 residents
Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) extends light-rail service to Portland Airport
Susan Castillo, first Hispanic woman elected to statewide office as school superintendent
Measure requiring removal of racist language from state Constitution passes
Near record forest fire season leaves 1,000,000 acres burned
Perry Bridge
Oregon began a plan in 2003 to fix bridges. Shown above is the Perry Bridge designed by Conde McCullough. (Oregon State Archives Scenic Image 20160615-2650​)
Oregon begins 10-year plan to fix deteriorating bridges
Measure 37 casts doubt on the future of Oregon land use laws
Trojan, Oregon’s only nuclear power plant decommissioned
L.L. Stub Stewart State Park opens, Oregon’s first new state park campground in more than 30 years
Oregon State Quarter released with design featuring Crater Lake
Trojan, Oregon’s decommissioned nuclear power plant imploded
Oregon State University wins NCAA Baseball Championship
Sandy River’s Marmot Dam, built in 1912, removed
Oregon State University wins NCAA Baseball Championship
Oregon Equality Act passes
New Carissa, freighter that ran aground on Coos Bay beach in 1999, dismantled and removed
Oregon celebrates its sesquicentennial on February 14, 2009
Oregon unemployment rate tops 12% amid recession
Portland Timbers became major league soccer’s 18th team on March 20, 2009
Governor’s panel predicts 10 years of state budget deficits
Oregon legislature began annual sessions, with the even-numbered years having a month-long session in February
University of Oregon football team wins first Rose Bowl Game in 94 years
Klamath Tribes’ senior water rights in Upper Klamath Basin reaffirmed by courts
Drought and lightning produced most expensive wildfire season on record
Josephine County’s last sawmill closes for lack of logs
U.S. District court strikes down same-sex marriage ban
Voters approve recreational marijuana use; Equal Rights for Women in Oregon Constitution
University of Oregon football player Marcus Mariota (quarterback) wins the Heisman Trophy
Governor John Kitzhaber resigned Feb. 18, 2015, Secretary of State Kate Brown became governor according to the order of succession required by the Oregon Constitution
Minoru Yasui, Hood River Attorney, was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of his challenge of a military curfew placed on Japanese Americans during World War II and for his lifetime of civil rights work
Photo of the sun during an eclipse shows a dark circle in the middle with a blaze of light around it.
The 2017 ​total solar eclipse as seen from Lebanon. (Oregon State Archives Scenic Image 20170821-9069​)​
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Armed militants seized and occupied the headquarters of Harney County’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for 41 days
Total solar eclipse crosses Oregon on August 21, 2017. Visible across the U.S.,  Oregon cities in the path of totality include Lincoln City, Newport, Salem, Albany, Madras, John Day, Baker City and Ontario
After public funding campaign, Oregon’s 158 year old Constitution is professionally restored
Oregonian Colin O'Brady becomes first person to traverse Antarctica solo and unaided
Governor Brown invokes the Emergency Conflagration Act as fires threaten structures in Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Marion and Washington Counties
Boardman, Oregon’s only coal-fired power plant, closes after 40 years in operation
A Washington County man was Oregon’s first diagnosed COVID-19 case on February 28, 2020
A Multnomah County man was Oregon’s first reported COVID-19 death on March 14, 2020
​On December 16, 2020 Oregon gave its first COVID-19 vaccines to health care workers in three Portland hospitals and one Ontario hospital​