Portland to the Rescue: Rose City Rushes to Stricken San Francisco

June 27, 2016 7PM

Before Hurricane Katrina, the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 was the greatest natural disaster in US history. News of the raging hell of fire, ruin, and death—3,000 fatalities and 200,000 homeless—stunned Portlanders, but the Rose City rallied with speed, organization, and generosity. The Oregon Doctor Train—a contingent of physicians and nurses—rushed food, supplies, and medical care to the stricken city not knowing how much civil strife or contagious disease awaited them. Among them was Portland's future medical leader and the political activist Dr. Marie Equi. The California Governor lavished praise on the Oregon team for doing so much “at a time when we were practically helpless.” Michael Helquist is the Portland-born author of Marie Equi: Radical Politics and Outlaw Passions, published by Oregon State University Press in 2015. The American Library Association named Marie Equi a 2016 Stonewall Honor Book for Non-Fiction. An historian and journalist, Helquist has published widely, including in the Oregon Historical Quarterly and The Advocate.