In this episode of PDXPLORES, Garrett Palmer (History, '22) discusses the 1934 Portland Waterfront Strike. The strike has largely been portrayed as "static", where striking workers clashed with the establishment at the hiring halls and the docks of Portland. While that is correct, it is a bit simplistic; we can glean more from the event by considering how urban space, the relationship between metropole and hinterlands, and the role of unconventional groups played roles in the strike. That line of inquiry ultimately showcases that this event was anything but static, as groups like church parishes, the Communist Party, sex workers, cabbies, Portland's homeless, and a coalition of farmers, fishers, and hunters were crucial to the event. Additionally, spaces like public parks, churches, bars, brothels, construction sites, railroad tracks, restaurants, and grocers all played their roles as strikers utilized the entire city to make the strike a success. It challenges the pre-existing static, Portland-centric, and overly labor-focused nature of the event, and reminds us that history does not happen in a vacuum--people across Oregon were involved with and impacted by the strike.
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