The Women Who Took Over An Oregon Town 100 Years Ago

100 years ago, the town of Umatilla, Ore. was not a pleasant place to be.

Broken streetlights lined the roads, the sewer system only existed in dreams, and stray dogs darted over crumbling sidewalks in the tiny Oregon community.

A government filled exclusively with men stood behind this abject disrepair, and a lack of political opposition had made them inactive and complacent.

The town’s women were sick of it — and decided to take matters into their own hands, and through the very process that Umatilla governing officials took for granted.

Out of Umatilla’s 198-person population, very few people bothered to vote. After all, the boy’s club running things was well-established — so much so that it was asseumed any challenger would lose in a landslide.

To avoid this outcome, the women had to be secretive. Under the guise of a card party, they met to craft a plan.

Agreeing on the names they would write into the ballots (women in Oregon had been afforded the right to vote in 1912), they discreetly began canvassing for support....more