he 1931 Legislative Assembly authorized the transfer of the provisional and territorial government records from the Secretary of State's Office to the Oregon Historical Society in Portland. This was partially in response to a 1926 report by the Board of Control which outlined the high risk of fire in the Capitol. Of course the accuracy of the report was soon displayed by the 1935 Capitol fire that destroyed the building and most of its contents including a great number of valuable records. The law allowed the Board of Control to judge when conditions were suitable for the records to be returned to Salem.
Twenty years later a number of factors led to calls for the return the records to Salem:
The president of the Oregon Historical Society responded with reasons why the records should stay in Portland.
The Board of Control settled the issue by voting unanimously for the return of the records to Salem. By April, 1952 the records were in the custody of the State Archives. However, in 1973 an effort was made to permit the transfer of the records once again to the Oregon Historical Society. After a flurry of letters, Secretary of State Clay Meyers (who as of July, 1973 had authority over the State Archives based on the passage of HB 3205) rejected the idea and stated that he could not "contemplate transfer of the 'Oregon Territorial Papers' without specific statutory direction."15 The issue died in spite of the fact that some legislators had voted for HB 3205 based on an understanding that it would permit the transfer.16