Date of visit: May 27, 2012
Population: 6,906 (2010 Census)
Oregon Women won the right to vote in 1912. In 1916 in Umatilla they exercised that right to elect some of their own into city government. Citizens were dissatisfied with the way the all-male city council was running things (or rather, not running things). So on December 5 they voted seven women into power: four city council members, a recorder, a treasurer, and a major. Laura Starcher was elected mayor, defeating her incumbent husband, E.E. Starcher. In her victory speech she said “We believe the women can do many things and effect many reforms in this town that the men did not dare to do.” The press called it a “petticoat coup.”
The Umatilla government continued to be female-dominated until 1921. The women felt that they had accomplished what they wanted done and bowed out that year. No other women stepped up to replace them and the government returned to being all-male.
City Hall and Library