Oregon's heavily white racial present owes much to Oregon's heavily white past. The territory, then the state, chose to avoid completely the whole slave-vs-free issue by just barring all black people from living here.
It didn't work. Some people of African descent lived in Oregon anyway, including the focus of the book Dangerous Subjects: James D. Saules and the Rise of Black Exclusion in Oregon.
The book, from Oregon State University Press, shines light on an obscure corner of Oregon history, as little is known about Saules.
Author Kenneth Coleman visited in 2017 for this interview.