Home » Oregon » Toledo

James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

We mourn the loss of our friend and colleague and remain committed to the work he began.



Basic Information

Type of Place
Independent City or Town
Metro Area
Politics c. 1860?
Don’t Know
Unions, Organized Labor?
Don’t Know

Sundown Town Status

Confirmed Sundown Town?
Was there an ordinance?
Don't Know
Don’t Know
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?
Probably Not, Although Still Very Few Black People

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
1930 2137 0
1970 2818
2000 3472 3190 8 20 117 90 18

Method of Exclusion

  • Violent Expulsion
  • Threat of Violence
  • Reputation

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black
  • Asian


Taken from Ted Cox, The Toledo Incident of 1925 (Corvallis: Old World Publications, 2005):
July 12, 1925, 50 white men “brandishing wooden planks and rocks, threatened Japanese migrant workers who had been hired to work at the local lumber mill.
“Cheered on by both women and children standing on a nearby bridge, the men smashed windows and forced their way into Japanese homes…. By the next day, the Japanese workers and their families had been driven from town.
1926 trial, Japanese won. (xiii, xv.)

7/19/1925, S Pacific RR had imported 27 Japanese (2 with families), 4 Filipinos, and 1 Korean. Contract workers, went to new housing built for them, nice cottages with indoor sinks, one common outhouse. Acc. to Mrs. Ito Kawamoto, wife of the foreman, the City Marshal George Schenck met the Japanese on the streets of downtown Toledo 7/11, ordered them back to their houses and to leave town the next day. “According to her, he said that they would be thrown out and killed if they did not leave.” (p. 35)
That evening, whites passed out handbills:
“”Mass Meeting by the citizens of Lincoln County at the Toledo ballpark, 2PM, July 11. Purpose to decide the question now and forever as to whether we want our citizens replaced by Japanese or other foreign labor…. The Japs are here now. A taxpayer.”” Only 70 showed up.
Wm. Colvin “argued that property values would fall if Japanese were allowed to stay.” Rosemary Schenck: “”Everything women can do has been done. Now it’s time for redblooded men to do as they did with the Japs at Longview.”” [don’t know what happened at Longview]
2PM Sun. 7/12, 50 men and 200 women and children gathered. (p. 36-40)
Men from Pacific Spruce stopped the mob. They had been deputized by the sheriff. A deputy pointed a gun at the mob, stopped them momentarily. Deputy was disarmed and beaten. Mob pushed past. (p. 42-44)
Sheriff Horsfall arrived, arrested 2 mob leaders. The two arrested men came right back.
Mob drove Japanese like cattle to Hill St., then they were taken by trucks and cars to Corvallis, 50 miles inland.
Sheriff arrested 5. Some Japanese shook hands with their drivers in Corvallis, because they had helped them get away. S Pac. RR took them on a chartered “Red Electric train” to Portland. Some got work in sawmills in Columbia County north of Portland.
Pac. Spruce Corp. then hired a team of Mennonites [so race, not local labor, was the real issue]
Pac. Spruce fired all its workers who admitted they supported the riot. (p. 51-55_ DA said, however, that he would not prosecute, because no one was killed or injured. (p. 63)
10/2/1925, US Marshal serves 9 Toledo residents, including the City Marshal, with civil suit for $130,000. The defendants tried to raise a defense fund, raised just $268.
The Japanese were OR residents. 5 plaintiffs. (p. 79-81)
Trial, 7/12/1926, Portland, federal court, citing 1911 Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between US and Japan. (p. 90) Verdict, 7/23, for Japanese, $2,500, against 6 defendants (3 others had left the area). “The case established for the first time in a federal civil suit that legal aliens living in the US had civil rights…” (p. 123)
Additional defendants then settled the untried suits and agreed not to harass Japanese. Defendants had to pay $6,500 in all, incl. costs. Some were ruined. (p. 125-126)
Mill workers had NOT led the mob, so it wasn’t mainly economic. (p. 128-129) Case is called Ogura.
No criminal indictments. Local jury (in Toledo) would not indict. (p. 85)
Acc. to the 95-yr.-old man, his source, for years after the riot, if black hobo entered Toledo, the sheriff [or other law enforcement?] escorted him to the cafe, treated him to a meal, then escorted him to the edge of town and told him not to come back, ever. Native Americans, on the other hand, could live in Toledo.
Email in 2007: at least four families with black adults live in Toledo without apparent incident.