12 thoughts on “Civil Defense, 1959

  1. In the old Kelly Butte Civil Air Defense facility?
    This is an unsettling picture that brings back a plethora of memories. Somewhat conversely, we may be under greater risk of nuclear Armageddon now… it’s just not part of the zeitgeist anymore.

  2. Yes this is the old Kelly Butte Bunker. In 1957 CBS filmed a simulated H Bomb attack on Portland and how the city would react. The filming has all the real city officials playing their own roles in government, and some of the filming took place in the Kelly Butte bunker. This film was broadcast on December 8, 1957, but you can view this 28 min. film on YouTube. The title is “The Day Called X”

  3. Reminds me of this exchange between Peter Sellers (President) and George C. Scott (General) in Dr. Stangelove (1964) –
    General “Buck” Turgidson:
    Is that the Russian ambassador you’re talking about?

    President Merkin Muffley:
    Yes, it is, General.

    General “Buck” Turgidson:
    A-A-Am I to understand that the *Russian* ambassador is to be admitted entrance to th-the War Room?

    President Merkin Muffley:
    That is correct, he is here on my orders.

    General “Buck” Turgidson:
    I… I don’t know exactly how to put this, sir, but are you aware of what a serious breach of security that would be? I mean, he’ll see everything, he’ll… he’ll see the Big Board!

  4. Well I’d say it was not a simulated H Bomb attack but an A or Atomic Bomb attack From wiki ” A thermonuclear weapon, fusion weapon or hydrogen bomb (H bomb) is a second-generation nuclear weapon design. Its greater sophistication affords it vastly greater destructive power than first-generation atomic bombs, a more compact size, a lower mass or a combination of these benefits.” The Soviet Union did not have H Bombs capable of being carried in a plane in 1957 which is how the bomb would have been delivered to Portland at the time. Once they did have H bombs and ICBM’s capable of hitting Portland there was no point in the Kelly Butte center since an H bombs is orders of magnitude more powerful than an A bomb and there was no way to put that much distance between you and the bomb before it reached Portland. By the way if you want to see a remnant of the siren system that Portland had there is a foundation stone for one of the 5 sirens at Texas Hydropark in SW Portland.

  5. Mike in the opening seconds of the film Portland Mayor Terry Schrunk says an “H Bomb might fall on Portland” The film was about a simulated attack from Soviet bombers in late 1957 armed with H bombs.

  6. wploulorenziprince — the site you wrote about is a great way to learn more about the history of the bunker. I thought it was particularly interesting to see that the city stored microfilm copies of 3 million city documents there, and wonder what happened to them when the place was closed down.

  7. I wonder if the Kelly Butte bunker would have been in contact with Norad to monitor how many of the bombers actually made it through US defenses to reach Portland?

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