Remembering Evel Knievel’s Memorial Coliseum jump 50 years later

The daredevil stopped by the Rose City on tour ahead of his legendary attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon.

Stuntman Evel Knievel at a press conference.

Evel Knievel made an earlier Portland jump in 1971, clearing 14 cars but breaking his hand on the landing.

“I’m almost to the end of my road, but I’m not gonna let that happen yet.” That’s what iconic stuntman Rober Craig “Evel” Knievel told reporters on March 29, 1974, after breaking the world indoor record by jumping 10 trucks and seven vans in front of a packed Memorial Coliseum. Oh, and he was only a month out from a compression fracture in his back.

That’s right, 8,173 spectators watched the former motorcycle salesman ride his Harley-Davidson XR-750 up one ramp at about 85 mph, flying through the air to safely land past the 101-ft mark recently set by Southern Oregon native Debbie Lawler.

It was a memorable entry into the long lore of Portland’s daredevil history, which stretches as far back as 1912.

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