Day 1: Fact or Fiction in Dallas Oregon
Updated: Aug 20, 2019
As we "open a can of worms" (as one person stated) regarding myths vs facts in Dallas, we would like each of our readers to know that we have zero intention of hiding, covering up, changing or altering the truth behind Dallas Oregon. Although some of Dallas history is particularly ugly in nature (as is every town's), it is what it is, history. The Dallas Area Visitor Center believes history is an important part of progression in civilization. We wouldn't be where we are today without history. We understand some of these subjects may be considered "taboo", never to be talked about, or perhaps particularly embarrassing. However, hiding it or ignoring it doesn't change the fact that it's true (or in some cases, not true). The rumors surrounding Dallas Oregon are many but none more prevalent than the history or the Ku Klux Klan in Dallas. The following is a blog article written on this subject based on personal research, interviews, and articles found a long the way. "The Ku Klux Klan grew and faded quickly in Oregon, said historian Eckard Toy. However, klansmen left more silly stories than burning crosses in their wake." 1. In the mid 1800's slavery divided our nation and Oregon was not immune to this division. Many already know that Oregon law prohibited slavery in 1843, however the issues surrounding this was much more complicated. 2. In the 20's there was an active klan chapter that practiced in Polk County, specifically the area of Hwy 99 and Clow Corner Rd. 3. However, that doesn't make this area particularly racist. During this time, most towns and cities across the nation had active klan chapters.
The Polk County chapter was known to attend community events to further their "cause", which is why some folks in Dallas have photographs of the klan passing out bibles in local parades. In spite of the name "Ku Klux Klan" most people didn't even know that this group was a racist group. They would participate in events under the guise of increasing their "fraternal organization", numbers, which was a success. It wasn't until people of our community became involved that they became aware of the "racist" nature of this group. However, the racism of this group wasn't focused on African Americans, rather it was anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish. In fact, former President Harry S Truman was planning to join the KKK until he found out this information. "Most ex-members were ashamed they ever were members," Toy said.". 1 This post could go on and on regarding the KKK's involvement in Dallas's History. However, from our research, two conclusions can be made. One, Yes, the KKK was active in the Dallas Oregon area, just as it was in Portland, Salem, Seattle, Denver, Dallas Texas, Memphis, Chicago, New York and all areas, big and small, in between. This doesn't make us any more or any less racist, anti Semitic, or prejudice now, than any other place in the US. Second, if it weren't for this particularly disturbing past of our area, ( or any area for that matter), Dallas Oregon wouldn't be as accepting, kind, friendly and open to all walks of life. It doesn't matter if you're Black, White, Jewish, Catholic, Gay, Straight or a little green martian, a la The Flintstone's The Great Gazoo, YOU are welcome in Dallas Oregon. Stay tuned for tomorrow's blog regarding the "Dallas Dragons".
2. Slavery, Oregon and the Early Emigrants. 2019, Rachel Greco, Grandma's Attic.
3. Personal Interview with Kent Rasmussen. 2019