"Your Honor, that statute was not passed in Eugene City, the lawful capital of Oregon, and is therefore null and void. The Legislature must vote at the seat of government."


At that session (1855-56), the accustomed budge of memorials were adopted, among which was one for the removal of General Wood, U.S. Army, from the command of the Department of the Pacific, and another for the removal of Joel Palmer from the office of Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Joint resolutions were passed censuring the Surveyor-General and Postal Agent. The counties of Curry and Josephine were organized. A bill was passed providing for an election to be held in April for delegates to a convention to frame a state constitution, and at the same election to take the sense of the people as to holding such convention. Delegates were elected. They held no convention, as the vote on the propriety of holding the convention was 4,097 in favor, and 4,346 against. An act was also passed providing for the submission to a vote of the people the selection of the seat of government. The legislature adjourned on the 21st of January.

At the general election in June, in accordance with the provisions of the act of the Assembly, a vote was taken on the relocation of the seat of government. Eugene City received 2,627 votes; Corvallis received 2,327 votes; Salem 2,101 votes; and Portland 1,154 votes. The act had provided that the returns should be filed in the office of the secretary of the territory within forty days from the date of the election, at the expiration of which time that officer should canvass the vote and declare the result. The counties of Wasco, Tillamook, Jackson and Josephine failed to forward returns. The secretary thus announced the official result: Eugene City received 2,319 votes; Salem 2,049 votes; Corvallis 1,998 votes; and Portland 1,154 votes. By the provision of said bill, should neither place voted for at the June election receive a clear majority, a special election was to be held on the First Monday in October, at which election the places to be voted for should be restricted to the two places which had received the highest number of votes at the general election. At the October special election, the contest was between Eugene City and Salem. By that time, the feeling had become one of apparent indifference. The people had generally settled down to the belief that Congress would have to approve any territorial enactment removing or relocating a seat of government to make it operative; and that, until such approval, the appropriation for the erection of a capitol would be expended at Salem; and also, that a legislative assembly meeting elsewhere than at Salem would neither be recognized nor paid. In the counts of Marion, Tillamook, Polk, Curry and Wasco, elections were not held. In the rest of the territory, Eugene City received 2,559 votes; Salem 444 votes; and Corvallis 318 votes. Although Eugene City had received a large majority as the place for the seat of government, yet no regard was paid to that popular verdict. Both the Supreme Court and the Legislative Assembly alike ignored the law providing for the vote and the vote itself. Both their annual sessions convened at Salem; and that city continued to be the capital of Oregon.