The Oregon Territory was created by the U.S. Congress in 1848, but the appointed governor, Joseph Lane, did not arrive at Oregon City until March the next year. And not until July 16, 1849 did the first Territorial Legislature convene.
The territorial legislature, known as the Legislative Assembly, was made a bicameral body. It consisted of a nine-member Council and an eighteen-member House of Representatives. The House could be increased in size, but could not exceed thirty members. Legislators were popularly elected and vacancies were filled by special election. Legislative sessions were limited to sixty days. The Legislative Assembly was prohibited from passing laws interfering with land claims and with passing laws which taxed non-residents at a higher rate than residents. The Legislative Assembly was also prohibited from incorporating banks and financial institutions and from acquiring debts in the name of the territory.
Issues decided in that first session included renaming Tuality County to Washington County, and Champoeg County to Marion County. Asa Lovejoy, of Portland/Boston coin flip fame, served as Speaker of the House.
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