Commemorating “Bloody Wednesday”

Solidarity at Pier Park during the 1934 Longshore Strike

On Saturday, July 11th, the Pacific Northwest Labor History Association (PNLHA) will host a commemoration of Portland’s Bloody Wednesday. The event will feature a guided walk through the park as local historians join union members and the community to discuss what happened that day, the meaning it had for those who were there, and reflect on the strike’s role in Portland’s history. This event is an extension to a research project conducted by a Portland State University history student and will share the history of a pivotal event in the 1934 longshore strike as told through previously recorded oral histories and archival research. The role of community support for the longshoremen’s strike, police repression, and tactics of solidarity organizing will be showcased.

Date: Saturday, July 11
Time: 2:30pm
Location: Pier Park in St. Johns (meet at traffic circle at N James St. & N Bruce Ave.)

Facebook Event Page

Musical accompaniment by General Strike.
Hosted by Pacific Northwest Labor History Association (PNLHA) Oregon

Sponsors: International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) – Local 8, ILWU Columbia River Pensioners Association, Portland Jobs with Justice, Portland State University Department of History


On the morning of July 11th, 1934, one hundred policemen piled aboard a train loaded with export cargo and headed to Terminal No. 4 with the intent of forcefully breaking the picket lines of striking longshoremen. At the intersection of what is now Columbia Blvd. on the edge of Pier Park, five hundred picketers blocked the train’s passage with their bodies and makeshift barricades. The chief of police ordered the officers to open fire upon the unarmed workers using pistols and shotguns. The picketline held firm and the strikers won their demands a few weeks later, but four men were wounded in this incident. The trees of Pier Park were pockmarked by police bullets and for decades served as reminders of what would be known as Portland’s Bloody Wednesday.

How to Get There:

Pier Park has accessible parking, is on the #44 and #75 bus lines, and is a 15 minute walk from downtown St. Johns.

Where to Meet:

Pier Park is big! Meet at the traffic circle at N James St. & N Bruce Ave.

What else to know:

We’ll be walking through Pier Park’s trails and stopping at four sites. While first two stops are ADA accessible, the third is along  gravel path with a moderate slope. Be sure to wear appropriate footwear and bring water since it will likely be hot! The park offers restrooms and play areas for children. Families are welcomed.

By Mary Ann Aschenbrenner

Mary Ann Aschenbrenner is President of Waterlink Web, a web development firm located in the St. Johns neighborhood of North Portland. An active neighborhood volunteer, Mary Ann served on the Friends of Pier Park board for over eight years and is the designer and administrator of this site.