World War II
Thanks to Henry Kaiser’s mass-production techniques, 10,000 workers were employed in the Portland shipyards. But in addition to laying the foundations for future growth, the war years in Oregon and their immediate aftermath were full of trials for state residents. Vanport—at one time a city of 45,000—grew up in the shadow of Kaiser aluminum plants and the shipyards north of Portland, but it was washed off the map in 1948 by a Columbia River flood. Tillamook County forests, which supplied Sitka spruce for airplanes, endured several massive fires that destroyed 500 square miles of trees.
Along with these natural disasters, Oregon was the only state among the contiguous 48 to have a military installation (Fort Stevens, near Astoria) shelled by a Japanese submarine, to endure a Japanese bombing mission on the mainland (on Mount Emily, near Brookings), and to suffer civilian casualties when a balloon bomb exploded (near the Gearhart Mountain Wilderness Area in Lake County).
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel