Monument for a former Ore. mayor dies after he is linked to anti-Japanese group during WW II

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GRESHAM -- The effort to honor former Gresham Mayor Herbert H. Hughes with a monument is officially over.

The City Council killed the proposal Thursday after learning that Hughes' role in an anti-Japanese group during World War II was larger than first thought.

"It just needs to go away," City Council President Shane Bemis said Thursday. "It would be difficult to honor someone with that background."

Hughes, who served the city from 1941 to 1956, had previously been linked to an anti-Japanese group, Oregon Anti-Japanese Inc., in one local newspaper article in 1944. But a second article, in 1945, was uncovered this week during The Oregonian's review of news reports of the time.

A previous city investigation had wrongly concluded that Hughes had been named only once in print and only as a temporary director in connection with the group, which sought to keep Japanese Americans from returning to their homes after they had been sent to internment camps.

"It is clear that while the original research (into Hughes' background) was well-intentioned, it was not complete," Bemis said Thursday. "This proposal," he added, "should not have come forward to begin with."

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