Archive for April 24th, 2020


During the influenza epidemic of 1918, Portland converted one of its newest
and largest buildings, the Portland Auditorium, into a temporary hospital.

Make-shift hospitals were set up in Portland, and other cities.  Here volunteer nurses from the American Red Cross tend influenza sufferers in the Oakland Auditorium, in California.

The Spanish influenza pandemic became one of the deadliest events
in history. Although the Spanish flu struck Portland, Oregon more
than a century ago, how Portlanders reacted then has an uncanny parallel to what we’re experiencing now with the Coronavirus. The
first confirmed case in Portland was a soldier, a private on his way
to Texas for training.

Just a week after Portland’s first Spanish flu diagnosis, the Oregon
State Board of Health ordered all public gathering places to shut
down statewide. Parades were canceled. Church services were
suspended. Restaurants sat empty. Dance halls silent. And
suddenly, 36,000 Portland students had nowhere to go. 

In addition to the closures, stores and businesses limited hours. Portland’s famous department store, Meier & Frank, asked
customers not to come into their store but rather to make delivery orders.

Officials urged Portland residents to wash their hands and keep
at least 4 feet apart — the prototype of “social distancing.”

Salem History: How the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic compares to COVID-19
The Oregon Statesman.

Seattle police officers wear masks during the influenza epidemic made by the local chapter of the American Red Cross in this National Archives photo dated December 1918.


posted by Bob Karm in CURRENT EVENTS,Disease,HISTORY,Medical,NEWSPAPER,Oregon's past,Pandemic,PORTLAND'S PAST and have No Comments