Approximate Site of the Former Chinese Community
On February 22, 1886, at about 1 o'clock in the morning, a mob of 40 to 50 white men descended upon the Chinese community in Oregon City, broke into the dwellings of the sleeping residents, robbed them of any money and valuables, and told them they must leave town immediately.
About 40 Chinese men, all of whom had been employed at the local woolen mill, were forced down to the wharf on the Willamette River where the steamer Latona was waiting. The skipper of the steamer was paid, according to the Portland Oregonian newspaper, "probably with the money stolen from the Chinese residents." He took the expelled Chinese down the river to Portland, about 10 miles away.
The following day a man name Wong Chung, who was one of those deported from Oregon City, filed a compliant with the U.S. Marshall in Portland. Two men, Nat Baker and Al White, were said to be leaders of the mob and ten other men were identified as being part of the crowd. All were arrested and charged with conspiring to deprive the Chinese of their rights.
Eventually many of the Chinese who had been forced to leave were able to return to Oregon City, and for a while things settled down. However, more than a year later, on November 6, 1878, a small riot broke out after about 10 white men attacked another group of Chinese laborers in Oregon City. This time the Chinese were able to resist, and in the knife and gun battle that broke out several men on both sides were severely injured. After the arrests of several of the white attackers, there were no more major incidents in Oregon City.
Sources: Pfaelzer, Wong, New York Times, local newspapers
About this site: Several Chinese businesses and dwellings are identified on the 1884 Sanborn Fire Insurance map of Oregon City, found in the Multnomah County (Oregon) Public Library. I found the present location of that area by overlaying that map with the current street grid.