After the stock market crashed on October 29, 1929 and the United States entered a period of economic decline called the Great Depression, Oregon’s economy experienced an important transition. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, elected in 1932, proposed an economic plan called the New Deal to counteract the effects of the Depression. Numerous conservation projects of long-range value were begun by such New Deal agencies as the Work Projects Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). In cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service and other permanent government agencies, projects were undertaken for reforestation, soil conservation, irrigation, and flood and forest fire control. Highways and recreational areas were also built or developed during this period. The most important New Deal project for Oregon was the Bonneville Dam, completed in 1938, which harnessed the power of the Columbia River for electricity, navigation, and flood control.
The electric power provided by the Bonneville Dam was one factor responsible for greatly increasing Oregon’s industrial output during World War II (1939-1945). During the war, Portland became a shipbuilding center and the home of numerous wartime industries. Vanport City was built just north of Portland to house Oregon’s new industrial workers, and it temporarily became Oregon’s second largest city. After the war, however, Vanport City’s population dropped to less than half its wartime level, and the city was destroyed by a flood on the Columbia River in 1948.
During the war a Japanese submarine shelled Fort Stevens, at the mouth of the Columbia River, but no damage was done. However, in 1945 a Japanese balloon bomb killed an Oregon family on a picnic.
After Japanese fighter planes dropped bombs on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii in 1941, President Roosevelt ordered all Japanese living west of the Cascades to move east of the mountains because they were considered a security risk. Japanese nationals and Americans of Japanese descent were forced to move to makeshift housing in Arkansas, California, Idaho, and Wyoming. When relocation centers closed, many Japanese returned to their homes to find possessions gone, their savings and bank accounts impounded, and their fields overgrown. They also often faced racial prejudice. In 1988 Congress allotted $20,000 in compensation to each living Japanese American who had been sent to an internment camp during World War II. "Oregon" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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