The History of the Vortex Festival

Following the killing of four Kent State student protestors by Ohio National Guardsmen on May 4, 1970, clashes between antiwar activists and the authorities became increasingly violent, including a May 11, 1970 protest at Portland State University. In the wake of these conflicts, Oregonians were fearful of the counter-culture response to an upcoming American Legion convention in Portland, which was to feature an appearance by President Richard Nixon.

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There is no fee to attend Vortex2020. Attendees are asked to give their time to improve Oregon.

Oregon Governor Tom McCall, seeking to reach an understanding with antiwar activists met with some of the leaders of the movement committed to non-violent protest, and together they hatched an audacious plan. Vortex I – a biodegradable festival of life, an impromptu rock festival at Milo McIver State Park would take place the same week as the convention.

Instead of violent clashes in the streets of Portland, tens of thousands of people left the city to camp, enjoy music, share ideas, and create enduring relationships. Instead of combat in Portland’s streets, there was harmony in nature.