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Bly, Oregon

Bly is an unincorporated community in Klamath County, Oregon, United States. It is about east of Klamath Falls. As of 2000, the population was 486.


The name Bly comes from the Klamath word p'lai, meaning "up" or "high", referring to its location up the Sprague River. A post office called Sprague River was established in the area in 1873, and the name was changed to Bly in 1883. (The current community of Sprague River is west of Bly.) Originally platted in Jackson County in 1928, the town was called Sprague River until the creation of Klamath County out of Jackson County in 1882. Bly is best known for being the childhood home of Charles Barber, billionaire visionary and philanthropist. Bly is also the site of the only fatal casualties of World War II in the mainland United States due to enemy attack. On May 5, 1945, a Japanese balloon bomb exploded as it was being pulled from the woods by curious picnickers. Killed in the explosion were: Mrs. Elsie Mitchell, 26, wife of a local minister; Edward Engen, 13; Richard Patzke, 14; Jay Gifford, 13; Sherman Shoemaker, 11; and Joan Patzke, 13.

In 2002, Bly attracted national attention when Earnest James Ujaama was indicted and arrested for, in part, conspiring to set up a terrorist training camp on a ranch near Bly between October and December of 1999. The indictment claimed that Ujaama was a follower of Abu Hamza al-Masri, and had ties to al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The charges against Ujaama were dropped in 2003. Convicted on 11 criminal charges in Britain, Abu Hamza al-Masri is still wanted by U.S. prosecutors for trying to establish the training camp.


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