The action against the nikkei was swift and harsh. In mid-December, a week and a half after Pearl Harbor, the sheriff of Multnomah County directed all Japanese Americans and Japanese nationals to pay next year's property taxes without delay or face immediate foreclosure. In early January the city council voted unanimously to stop issuing business licenses to Japanese-born Portlanders and, soon after, to revoke all licenses previously issued. Then came a series of restrictions from the Western Defense Command: No one of Japanese ancestry could own a camera or a radio. No one of Japanese ancestry could be out on the street after 8 p.m. No one of Japanese ancestry could travel more than five miles from home without official permission. By the spring of 1942, it was clear that all nikkei living on the West Coast would soon be forced out of their homes and into special "relocation camps."
In San Francisco a columnist for the Examiner was calling for the immediate removal and internment of all West Coast nikkei: "Herd 'em up, pack 'em off. . . . let 'em be pinched, hurt and hungry." In Oregon the state senate passed a bill petitioning the President to deport all Japanese nationals after the war. At Reed, 125 students, more than a third of the student body, signed a petition against the bill. One student, writing in the Quest, called the legislation "malicious" and a "primitive . . . outburst of fanaticism." Two other students wrote in the same issue that the bill had a "fascistic smack" that could lead to dangerous extremes. "If we start to persecute the Japanese we are well on the way to persecuting the Negroes, Jews and other . . . minorities."