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Oral history interview with Ida Mae Shepherd [Transcript]

Transcript. This oral history interview with Ida Mae Shepherd was conducted by Greta Smith Wisnewski from August 14 to October 26, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the interview was conducted using Zoom, a video conferencing software. Shepherd was nominated by Oregonians to be interviewed as part of a program by the Oregon Historical Society Research Library to enhance and expand the range of voices in the library's collections. Interviewees are selected from the pool of nominees by a staff committee appointed by the historical society's executive director. The interview was conducted in five sessions.

In the first interview session, conducted on August 14, 2020, Shepherd speaks at length about her family background, particularly focusing on the life of her maternal grandmother, Edith Goodell Lee. She discusses her early life in the Eliot neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, and talks about businesses in the area. She then briefly talks about living in Vanport during World War II. She discusses her research into her family history.

In the second interview session, conducted on September 11, 2020, Shepherd speaks further about her family background, focusing on her paternal family. She revisits the topic of her early life in the Eliot neighborhood, and talks about her Catholic upbringing and involvement with the Immaculate Heart Catholic Church. She discusses how the Black community changed after World War II, as well as changes in the way white people treated them. She then continues to discuss living in Vanport as a teenager during World War II, including her social life, recreational activities, and segregation. She also talks about her early education and about jobs she worked after dropping out. She shares her experiences during the 1948 flood, including living in Guild's Lake for a short time afterward.

In the third interview session, conducted on September 25, 2020, Shepherd discusses her marriage to Theodore Cassidy Powell. She then talks about living in the Albina neighborhood in the early 1950s. She also revisits the topic of how the Black community changed after World War II, as well as how the way white people treated them changed. She talks about working as a janitor at KGW, and about her brief marriage to Curley Massey. She speaks about her marriage to Emmett Edwin Shepherd, about buying a house in the Eliot neighborhood, and about the changes in the neighborhood since the 1960s. She talks about raising a family, about her career in housekeeping and janitorial services, and about her experiences during the civil rights movement, including meeting Coretta Scott King. She shares her thoughts about police treatment of Black residents, talks about the mass displacement of Black residents during the construction of I-5 in the 1960s, and discusses the Black community in the Albina area of Portland.

In the fourth interview session, conducted on October 9, 2020, Shepherd discusses her experiences picking hops in the 1930s. She shares a childhood drawing she created of a tavern on Union Avenue, as well as a photograph. She talks about the people who lived in the Eliot neighborhood, and discusses her children, their families, and their careers. She revisits the topic of her experiences during the civil rights movement, and the topic of the mass displacement of Black people during the construction of I-5 in the 1960s, as well as during the expansion of Emanuel Hospital in the 1970s. She speaks at length about her involvement with Albina Fair Share and about working to reduce the amount of abandoned houses in the neighborhood. She talks about her involvement with Immaculate Heart Catholic Church.

In the fifth and final interview session, conducted on October 26, 2020, Shepherd speaks at length about how the Albina area of Portland, particularly the Eliot neighborhood, changed over her life. She also shares her reasons for living nearly her entire life in the area. She discusses how the ways that white and Black Portlanders interact have changed over her life. She talks about the death of her husband, Emmett E. Shepherd, about her volunteer work since her retirement in the late 1980s, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected her activities. She discusses the political situation at the time of the interview in 2020, including protests in Portland and the presidential election. She closes the interview by talking about her recent stroke and recovery.

Shepherd, Ida Mae, 1929-

Unidentified man with Rankin brothers’ airplane On-to-Oregon

Photograph showing an unidentified man standing next to a Stinson Detroiter monoplane, the On-to-Oregon, possibly at Rankin airfield in Portland. On the side of the plane are its name and artwork by A. G. Weber depicting oxen and a covered wagon. The photograph was probably taken in August 1930, when pilot Tex Rankin and his brothers, Dick Rankin and Dud Rankin, flew the plane in four unsuccessful attempts to set a record for endurance flying. Also see image Nos. 371N6017, 371N6022, 371N6023, 371N6024, 371N6025, 371N6060, 371N6064, 371N6103, 371N6120, 371N6121, 371N6128, 371N6129, 371N6130, 371N6133, 371N6134, 371N6138, 371N6199, 371N6206, 371N6207, 371N6221, 371N6227, 371N6228, 371N6233, and 371N6234. Image note: Photograph shows discoloration due to deterioration of the negative.

Dud Rankin, Tex Rankin, and Dick Rankin with unidentified man and padded bag

Photograph showing four men standing in a row in front of an airplane. The second man from right, who is unidentified, has one hand on a tall, padded bag resting on the ground in front of him. The other three men are pilots and brothers Dud Rankin (left), Tex Rankin (second from left), and Dick Rankin (right). The photograph may have been taken at Rankin field in Portland in August 1930, and the plane in the background may be a Stinson Detroiter, the On-to-Oregon. The Rankin brothers flew the On-to-Oregon in four attempts, all unsuccessful, to set an endurance flying record in August 1930. Also see image Nos. 371N6017, 371N6022, 371N6023, 371N6024, 371N6025, 371N6060, 371N6064, 371N6103, 371N6120, 371N6121, 371N6128, 371N6129, 371N6130, 371N6132, 371N6133, 371N6134, 371N6138, 371N6199, 371N6206, 371N6207, 371N6221, 371N6228, 371N6233, and 371N6234.

Unidentified man and Dick Rankin with airplane On-to-Oregon

Photograph showing two men standing outdoors next to an airplane, the On-to-Oregon, possibly at Rankin field in Portland. The man on the right is pilot Dick Rankin. The man on the left is unidentified. The photograph was probably taken in August 1930, when Rankin and his brothers, Tex Rankin and Dick Rankin, flew the On-to-Oregon in four unsuccessful attempts to set an endurance flying record. Also see image Nos. 371N6017, 371N6022, 371N6023, 371N6024, 371N6025, 371N6060, 371N6064, 371N6103, 371N6120, 371N6121, 371N6128, 371N6129, 371N6130, 371N6132, 371N6133, 371N6134, 371N6138, 371N6199, 371N6206, 371N6207, 371N6221, 371N6227, 371N6233, and 371N6234.

Dick Rankin? waving from refueling compartment of airplane On-to-Oregon

Photograph showing a man, probably pilot Dick Rankin, standing in the refueling compartment of a Stinson Detroiter monoplane, the On-to-Oregon. He is wearing an aviator’s cap and goggles, looking upward, and waving. The photograph may have been taken at the Rankin airfield in Portland, probably in August 1930. That month, Rankin and his brothers, Tex Rankin and Dud Rankin, flew the On-to-Oregon in four attempts, all unsuccessful, to set an endurance flying record. According to an August 10, 1930, Oregon Journal article about preparations for the first attempt, a hole was cut in the top of the plane’s fuselage to accommodate aerial refueling. Also see image Nos. 371N6017, 371N6022, 371N6023, 371N6024, 371N6025, 371N6060, 371N6064, 371N6103, 371N6120, 371N6121, 371N6128, 371N6129, 371N6130, 371N6132, 371N6133, 371N6134, 371N6138, 371N6199, 371N6206, 371N6207, 371N6221, 371N6227, 371N6228, and 371N6233.

Dud Rankin? being assisted with parachute harness

Photograph showing a man, probably Dudley “Dud” Rankin, sitting on a box next to a Stinson Detroiter monoplane named On-To-Oregon. He is wearing a suit, tie, and parachute. An unidentified man is standing behind him and adjusting the straps on the parachute harness, and several other people are watching. The photograph was probably taken in mid-August of 1930, before Dud Rankin and his brothers, Tex Rankin and Dick Rankin, attempted to set an endurance flying record in the On-To-Oregon. Also see image Nos. 371N6017, 371N6022, 371N6024, 371N6025, 371N6051, 371N6060, 371N6063, 371N6064, 371N6103, 371N6120, 371N6121, 371N6128, 371N6129, 371N6130, 371N6132, 371N6133, 371N6134, 371N6138, 371N6199, 371N6206, 371N6207, 371N6221, 371N6227, 371N6228, 371N6233, and 371N6234.

Crowd around Rankin brothers’ airplane On-to-Oregon

Photograph showing a crowd gathered around a Stinson Detroiter monoplane named On-to-Oregon, possibly at Rankin airfield in Portland. The photograph was probably taken in August 1930, when pilot Tex Rankin and his brothers, Dick Rankin and Dud Rankin, flew the plane in four unsuccessful attempts to set a record for endurance flying. Also see image Nos. 371N6017, 371N6022, 371N6023, 371N6024, 371N6025, 371N6060, 371N6064, 371N6103, 371N6121, 371N6128, 371N6129, 371N6130, 371N6132, 371N6133, 371N6134, 371N6138, 371N6199, 371N6206, 371N6207, 371N6221, 371N6227, 371N6228, 371N6233, and 371N6234.

Shell Oil plane dropping refueling hose to Rankin brothers’ On-to-Oregon

Aerial photograph showing a Shell Oil plane and a Stinson Detroiter monoplane, the On-to-Oregon, in position for midair refueling, probably above the Portland area. The end of the refueling hose is visible just above the On-to-Oregon. The photograph was probably taken in August 1930, when brothers Tex Rankin, Dick Rankin, and Dud Rankin made four attempts, all unsuccessful, to set an endurance flying record in the On-to-Oregon. Also see image Nos. 371N6017, 371N6022, 371N6023, 371N6024, 371N6025, 371N6060, 371N6064, 371N6103, 371N6120, 371N6121, 371N6128, 371N6129, 371N6130, 371N6132, 371N6134, 371N6138, 371N6199, 371N6206, 371N6207, 371N6221, 371N6227, 371N6228, 371N6233, and 371N6234. Image note: Negative damage visible in image.

On-to-Oregon takes off in Rankin brothers’ attempt at endurance record

Photograph showing a Stinson monoplane, the On-to-Oregon, taking off. The photograph was probably taken in August 1930 at Rankin airfield in Portland during one of four attempts that month by brothers Tex Rankin, Dick Rankin, and Dud Rankin to set an endurance flying record. Image note: Photograph shows discoloration due to deterioration of the negative.Photograph showing two men standing outdoors next to an airplane, the On-to-Oregon, possibly at Rankin field in Portland. The man on the right is pilot Dick Rankin. The man on the left is unidentified. The photograph was probably taken in August 1930, when Rankin and his brothers, Tex Rankin and Dick Rankin, flew the On-to-Oregon in four unsuccessful attempts to set an endurance flying record. Also see image Nos. 371N6017, 371N6022, 371N6023, 371N6024, 371N6025, 371N6060, 371N6064, 371N6103, 371N6120, 371N6121, 371N6128, 371N6129, 371N6130, 371N6132, 371N6133, 371N6134, 371N6138, 371N6199, 371N6206, 371N6207, 371N6221, 371N6227, 371N6228, and 371N6234.

Thomas Colby, Charles W. Meyers, Bill Baldwin, and unidentified man next to plane

Photograph of four men in front of an airplane. The three men on the left, Thomas Colby, Charles W. Meyers, and Bill Baldwin, were the team of Plane 19, a Waco, on the 1928 Ford National Reliability Air Tour; the man on the right is unidentified. The tour reached the Swan Island airport in Portland on July 16, 1928. Meyers was the pilot. The name Meyers is painted on the plane and the number 6528 appears on its tail. The text “T. B. Colby — Charles Myers [sic] — Bill Baldwin” and number 2 are written on the negative. The the writing is visible on the right side of the image.

Eddie Cooper, L. F. Schoenhair, and Ray Acre, team of Plane 23, Ford National Reliability Air Tour

Portrait of three men, Eddie Cooper, L. F. Schoenhair, and Ray Acre, in front of an airplane. They were the team of Plane 23, a Lockheed monoplane, on the 1928 Ford National Reliability Air Tour. The tour reached Portland on July 16, 1928, and the Plane 23 team was the first to arrive at the Swan Island airport. Schoenhair was the pilot and Cooper was the mechanic. The text “Cooper — Schoenhair — Acre” and the number 9 are written on the negative and are visible on the right side of the image.

Eddie Cooper, L. F. Schoenhair, and Ray Acre, team of Plane 23, Ford National Reliability Air Tour

Portrait of three men, Eddie Cooper, L. F. Schoenhair, and Ray Acre, in front of an airplane. They were the team of Plane 23, a Lockheed monoplane, on the 1928 Ford National Reliability Air Tour. The tour reached Portland on July 16, 1928, and the Plane 23 team was the first to arrive at the Swan Island airport. Schoenhair was the pilot and Cooper was the mechanic. The text “Cooper — Shoenhair [sic] — Ray Acre” and the number 8 are written on the negative and are visible on the right side of the image.

John P. Wood and F. H. Clewers

Portrait of two men wearing jackets and bow ties. The man on the right has a cigarette in his mouth. The text “John P. Woods [sic] - F. H. Clewers” is written on the negative and is visible on the right side of the image. The photograph may have been taken in mid-July 1928, when pilot John P. Wood and mechanic Frank Clewers arrived in Portland as part of the Ford national reliability air tour. Image note: Photograph shows discoloration due to deterioration of the negative.

On-to-Oregon takes off in Rankin brothers’ attempt at endurance record

Photograph showing a Stinson monoplane, the On-to-Oregon, taking off. The photograph was probably taken in August 1930 at Rankin airfield in Portland during one of four attempts that month by brothers Tex Rankin, Dick Rankin, and Dud Rankin set an endurance flying record. Also see image Nos. 371N6017, 371N6022, 371N6023, 371N6024, 371N6025, 371N6060, 371N6064, 371N6103, 371N6120, 371N6121, 371N6128, 371N6129, 371N6130, 371N6132, 371N6133, 371N6134, 371N6138, 371N6199, 371N6206, 371N6221, 371N6227, 371N6228, 371N6233, and 371N6234.

Tex Rankin, Dud Rankin, Oakley G. Kelly, and Dick Rankin with airplane On-to-Oregon

Photograph showing four men standing in a row next to a Stinson Detroiter monoplane named On-to-Oregon, possibly at Rankin field in Portland. From left are pilots Tex Rankin, Dud Rankin, Oakley G. Kelly, and Dick Rankin. Tex Rankin and Kelly are shaking hands. The photograph was probably taken in August 1930, when the Rankin brothers flew the On-to-Oregon in four attempts, all unsuccessful, to set an endurance flying record. Also see image Nos. 371N6017, 371N6022, 371N6023, 371N6024, 371N6025, 371N6060, 371N6064, 371N6103, 371N6120, 371N6121, 371N6128, 371N6129, 371N6130, 371N6132, 371N6133, 371N6134, 371N6138, 371N6199, 371N6206, 371N6207, 371N6227, 371N6228, 371N6233, and 371N6234.

Floating of tugboat Wilavis

Photograph of a tugboat, the Wilavis, being lowered to the Willamette River by crane. The tug was built by Albina Marine Iron Works in Portland and completed in 1929. Also see image Nos. 371N5356 through 371N5360.

Women on parade float, possibly in Astoria

Photograph of unidentified women in matching dresses riding on a parade float. One woman is sitting in an elevated seat under a canopy decorated with a United States flag. The photograph may have been taken in Astoria, Oregon. Also see image Nos. 371N4877 and 371N4882. Image note: Photograph shows discoloration due to deterioration of the negative.

Men in parade, possibly in Astoria

Photograph of a group of parade marchers standing in the street on either side of a decorated rope attached to a large wheeled vehicle in the background. They are wearing matching hats and sleeveless shirts with a winged “U” emblem on the chest. The photograph may have been taken in Astoria, Oregon. Image note: Photograph shows discoloration due to deterioration of the negative.

Car in parade, possibly in Astoria

Photograph of four unidentified people in a car, probably during a parade. The car is decorated with flowers and United States flags, and the two men in the front seats are wearing uniforms. Spectators are watching from the sidewalk. The photograph may have been taken in Astoria, Oregon.

Women on parade float, possibly in Astoria

Photograph of unidentified women in matching dresses riding on a parade float. One woman is sitting in an elevated seat under a canopy decorated with a United States flag. The photograph may have been taken in Astoria, Oregon; a building that may be the Clatsop County Courthouse is visible in the background. Also see image Nos. 371N4881 and 371N4882. Image note: Photograph shows discoloration due to deterioration of the negative.

Rex Oregonus dismounting from elephant

Photograph of Tommy Luke, in the role of Rex Oregonus, sliding off a crouching elephant at Multnomah Civic Stadium during the 1929 Rose Festival. Rex Oregonus was co-regent with the Rose Festival queen. Portland Mayor George L. Baker is walking nearby on the right side of the image. The number 3 is written on the negative and is visible in the lower right corner of the image. Also see image No. 371N2998.

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