Oldfield Suicide Attempt

In July 1907 Barney Oldfield apparently attempted suicide with a threatened leap from the ledge of his Portland, Oregon hotel room. On the other hand there can be no doubt that he had a flair for the dramatic and it is almost equally certain he was an alcoholic and so it is quite possible he had little intention of taking the plunge. He may have simply been venting his frutration over what he found to be unfair accusations that he staged a major bait and switch through false advertising that promised some spectacular event during the meet at a Portland race track without any intention of delivering.
Exactly what he promised is unclear, but it is clear that some kind of reasonable race meet took place (see attachment OldfieldPortland070707) as Oldfield did bust off hot laps at the Portland track. The attached articles give insights to Barney's Portland adventure. Many holes in what really transpired over that handful of days in Portland remain. The articles orginally appeared in the Indianapolis Star with exception of two. The one with the "Oldfield Attempts Suicide" heading was published in the Auburn Semi-Weekly Journal. Another that refers to Oldfield's denial of fraud was published in the July 7 Atlanta Constitution.
Also note that the article in attachment OldfieldPortland070707 reports on the race meet. When the event finally took place Oldfield was credited with setting new "world's records" for the mile. No one can be certain whether this was valid or theatrics. At this point in his career Oldfield had lost enough friends and been involved in accidents that resulted in fatalities he was doing everything he could to earn a living and control his destiny. He prefered to stage these high speed record runs where he received appearance fees from the promoters as his name was a legitimate "brand" even though they did not use those terms at the time. By running alone he eliminated the notorious blinding dust kicked up by other cars on the track making it much safer to travel at high speed. Wheel-to-wheel competition races were staged and the star of the day was driver William Wallace who is reported to be a newcomer. However I believe this is the same William Wallace that competed in the first Vanderbilt Cup three years prior in 1904. Wallace also raced in the 1910 Vanderbilt Cup.

OldfieldAccused070507.pdf419.71 KB
OldfieldCleared070907.pdf277.82 KB
Oldfield-Suicide.pdf336.09 KB
barney denies fraud.pdf14.44 KB
OldfieldPortland070707.pdf296.42 KB