A Moment in Oregon’s History: May1880

map_mouth_columbia_river_1855_WSUMay 4, 1880 dawned with a gentle breeze fanning the flat surface of the Pacific Ocean. Conditions were ideal for commercial salmon fishing at the entrance to the Columbia River. Without warning a freak storm struck and within minutes the wind was blowing in excess of a hundred miles an hour.

Within a half-hour the entire Columbia River fishing fleet was lost, including 240 boats, and the loss of life was set at 325.

crg-salmon-fleet-1910s-400For weeks after the disaster, families and friends of the deceased walked the beaches searching for some sign of their loved ones.

And the ocean, it showed not the slightest remorse.


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