19 thoughts on “Insect Control, 1965

  1. Were they using DDT at that time? I believe Dorothy McCullogh Lee was mayor then. We lived in NE Portland and were THRILLED that this spraying was going to eliminate summertime mosquitoes which had been such a city nuisance up until then.

  2. Right above and over the horses. đŸ˜¦ It was the same in the neighborhoods, too, kids playing out side, women hanging clothes on the clothes lines (to fully absorb the DDT), yard workers…..

  3. On March 30, 1965 (page 14), The Oregonian published an article with the headline, “Buzz, Buzz.” It said, “Although consistent shirtsleeve weather surely still is many weeks away, Portland’s insect control operatives report mosquitoes are beginning to hatch in the Willamette and Columbia river lowlands. Steps already are being taken to give them a Sunday punch before they invite themselves to our Sunday barbecues.

    Signing of the annual cooperative agreement between Multnomah County and the City of Portland for joint financing of spray operations assures an adequate control program within the county’s borders.”

    It goes on to say that neighboring counties don’t have as good a program, which will lower the effectiveness of the spray program for Multnomah County.

  4. In 1965 Portland’s Mayor was Terry Schrunk. But Margaret, you’re right about earlier Mayor Dorothy McCullough Lee. During WWII (1944) when she was on the city council she made use of a loaned U.S. Army bomber to effectively control mosquitoes, particularly in the NE part of town and out where the Willamette flows into the Columbia, and all those sloughs.”Dauntless Dottie” she was later called, for cleaning up Portland’s vice and corruption — and also, apparently, those pesky mosquitoes!

  5. That means that the photo is earlier than 1965. It makes sense. Portland had a lot of undeveloped wetlands until post- WW2 (1947 on), . People who rail against the complexities of modern day living often don’t realize how primitive life was in the first half of the 20th century,

  6. We lived on North East Morgan street from 62′ to 68′. I remember them spraying something right over the house. They used to (or still do?) put what were called “Mosquito fish” in the ponds down at Delta park. Us kids would sneak down there and bring them home in a bucket. They looked just like guppy’s. It was neat because one didn’t need salt water to keep them alive. In those days you left the house unescorted in the morning then the parent would yell your name to come home for dinner.

  7. I doubt photo is earlier. That’s the way it looked back in sixties. Even in the 70’s it was undeveloped around the horse track.

  8. We lived on the Peninsula more toward the Columbia River Slough and wetlands around Smith Lake. As pretty young children, we picked beans for commercial growers along the Columbia River prior to the airport expansion. We were ‘sprayed’ continuously as kids. I think I did ok with DDT. It was in my early 20’s living in the Siuslaw National Forest along the Alsea River that we were all subjected to Agent Orange as the post-logged ‘chemical thinner’ of choice by the Forest Service. Lots of health problems from that time forward. (look it up!) There’s no mosquito abatement in our part of North Dakota. I would gladly risk exposure to DDT rather than to the West Nile virus. I thought once exposed a person was immune. Not so, for some of us! Symptoms aren’t as severe, but not easily shaken.

  9. I hesitate to post this, but I admit that circa the time of this photo I hauled in tank trucks more than a few loads of DDT, consigned, to several different vector control agencies here in the Northwest, OR, WA and ID. If memory serves me, I loaded out of the GATX tank farm in Linton off St. Helens Rd. It was manufactured by either Monsanto or Dow Chemical and shipped on their bill of lading. I have thankfully yet to suffer any ill effects despite my considerable exposure. Please do not interpret that statement as an endorsement of DDT or any application of DDT. Sorry, please don’t hate me.

    By the 1970s we had many of those same vector control agencies receiving tank truck loads of xylene, I was told in lieu of DDT. The xylene was spread as a sheen over standing water as an inhibitor to mosquitoes. Several of these recipients were in fact water supply agents, in particular I recall the Pasco, Kenniwick WA Water District.
    Now the chemical engineers among us I’m sure will agree that in as much that xylene is a benzene derivative it is a known carcinogen, adding xylene to a human water supply in lieu of anything hardly seems a improvement. I recall assurances from the plant operator that the xylene would evaporate long before it became a problem. And it had the advantage of eliminating not only mosquito breeding but public out screech about DDT as well.

    I have no idea if we have moved on or not but I live in hope. Naive me, no doubt.

  10. Rod ~ We were all naive. In some ways, we still are. As I said, above, I would rather risk DDT than West Nile or Lyme’s. When we moved here 20 years ago there was no GMO agriculture. Now, we are surrounded by industrial agriculture. Every chemical imaginable sprayed on every side of our land. A neighbor’s married daughter stopped in a few weeks ago and observed how many song birds and insects were in our garden and farmyard. “We don’t spray,” I told her. Her dad grows round-up ready alfalfa to feed his dairy cows. We do see fewer and fewer bees since the ‘technology’ took over. Doesn’t seem to lessen the mosquito population, though.

  11. My Dad said he and my uncles used to have DDT fights back on the farm in Wisconsin. He’s now 84. I’m also in no way endorsing DDT. The banning of it brought the populations of Eagles back. (Eggshells no longer crack). I worked with a guy at Oroweat bakery in the 80’s who had worked at Lily Miller in the early 70’s. He claimed that when DDT was outlawed they buried their supply somewhere on the property(Columbia Blvd.?)

  12. In the late 50s and early 60s, we camped in state parks in the summertime. In the evening a truck would come around spraying–and all the kids would run after it in the spray. Glad I’m still alive to write this.

  13. In 1972 I lived above Scott’s Mills, OR, in a small house that had been a summer-house, surrounded by a blueberry field. The small barn out back was falling down, so we thought we’d tear it down. Stashed on the 2nd floor of the barn was several bags of DDT treated sawdust, effective, it was said, against some kind of beetle that liked blueberry vines. I called the State Ag dept in Salem and they came out to take the stuff away. I asked what they were going to do with it and they said, “We’ll use it… The best way to get rid of it.”

  14. Great answer! We should use up more of the stuff we generate. Like eating the left-overs inthe refrigerator.

  15. Stanley and Margaret: I agree, great answer, use it up. But they must’ve had to do it right away because DDT was banned nationwide in 1972.

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