POL Government Elected Officials Auditor Hull Caballero Divisions Archives & Records NEWS


You’re invited to a talk and performance given by artists Kaia Sand and Garrick Imatani.  Sand and Imatani have been artists in residence at the City of Portland Archives since 2013 and have worked with the City’s police surveillance files as the basis for their poetry and art.   Sand and Imatani will speak about their work and residency on Wednesday, February 25th at the Portland State University Academic and Student Recreation Center building, room 001 starting at 7pm. This is final exhibit of their work created as part of this residency and is currently on display in the lobby and on the 5th floor of the ASRC building.


The artists’ work emerged from two threads of inquiry, “Where is anonymity within a public document?” and “Passing It On.” 


Artist Talk Poster-February 25 at 7PM

Where is anonymity within a public document?

Surveillance creates a bright threat of attention on private lives. But how is this attention blurred? How might someone’s identity masquerade inside these files? Imatani explored the paradox of anonymity within public documents through photography and graphite drawings housed in a sculptural cabinet inscribed with language. Sand’s exploration took the form of poems embroidered into black textile panels. 


Passing it On.

Working with several people who participated in decades of activism and civic engagement, Imatani and Sand considered some of what they continue to pass along—programs created, destruction prevented, enduring concerns, and in particular, books they read. In particular, this exhibit launches an ongoing activist bookshelf project, presenting sculptural bookshelves comprised of book selections by Kent Ford, Lloyd Marbet and Joanne Oleksiak. We borrowed the title from Ford’s description of sharing books: “I kept passing it on, passing it on to all my friends.”






City of Portland Archives Artist in Residence Artist and Poet Talk & Performance


Wednesday, February 25th at 7PM

Academic & Student Recreation Center Building (1800 SW 6th Ave), Room 001

Portland State University campus

Free and open to the public


For more information: http://looseleafservices.us/about


RAAC: http://www.racc.org/resources/artists-residence-move-%E2%80%9C-watcher-files%E2%80%9D-exhibition-portland-state-university-through-apr-0



Kristin Calhoun

Public Art Manager



February 18, 2015

Efiles is getting a facelift

Efiles screen shotThis week you’ll see a whole new Efiles. The underlying software is being updated, which results in a new look and feel of the search and results pages. The pages are now more streamlined and easier to navigate. From moving between results pages by clicking on page numbers to a more mobile friendly layout, we are working to make Efiles easier to use.


The search function has improved, too.   The process for searching by specific date or for a year is more straightforward, as is searching for specific types of electronic records - like JPG or PDF.  You will now have the ability to do more advanced Boolean searching. For more information about the changes, and tips for searching Efiles, check out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).


We are constantly working to make our off-the-shelf product as user friendly as possible. While we don’t have the ability to change everything, some things we can adjust, which is why we always welcome your comments and suggestions. As with any roll out, there will be bumps along the way so we appreciate your patience as we work through glitches and updates on other parts of our website.

November 13, 2014

Recap of the Watcher Files Project exhibit and performance on October 27, 2014

Group of people at the Artist in Residence exhibit and performanceIn 2013, Garrick Imatani and Kaia Sand began an artist residency with the City of Portland Archives & Records Center (PARC), a Percent for Art project commissioned by the Regional Arts & Culture Council.  Their collaboration has resulted in The Watcher Files Project, an engagement with surveillance documents collected by the Portland Police Bureau on civic and activist groups in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. 


Working with individuals who, because of their participation in some of the groups surveilled, were present in the files, as well as other artists, Imatani and Sand created artistic and literary interventions that serve as an addendum to the original files.  These interventions serve as a way to annotate some of what is missing within the institutional record, as well as investigate what is there.


While Imatani and Sand have produced a large body of work throughout their residency, and have conducted workshops, presented their work in various venues, and have shown their work across the country, their final exhibit was presented on October 27, 2014 at the North Portland Library.  The evening included several performances by the artists, and some of the people who collaborated with them.  Their work will remain on display at the North Portland Library through December 5, 2014.  After the New Year, their work will relocate to the PSU ASRC lobby.  The ASRC is also the home of the City of Portland Archives & Records Center.


Booklet about the exhibit and performance at the North Portland Library


Photos from the performance and exhibit

October 29, 2014Comments (0)Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)

Passing it on: new work from the Watcher Files Project

You are invited to the opening reception and a performance by Kaia Sand, Garrick Imatani, Joanne Oleksiak, and Amanda Hendricks on Monday, October 27 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Performance at 6 p.m. There will be light refreshments.


She was always hunched over the machineGarrick Imatani and Kaia Sand present artwork and poetry from their shared artist residency at the City of Portland Archives and Records Center. Working with police surveillance files of activists and civic groups in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, they created an interactive display of drawings, photographs, sculptures, poetry, prints, as well as loaned objects and bookshelves curated by longtime activists Kent Ford, Lloyd Marbet, Soozie Nichol and Joanne Oleksiak. For more information, please visit: http://looseleafservices.us/about/




North Portland Branch, Multnomah County Library

512 N. Killingsworth Street

Portland, Oregon 97217


Opening and Performance Monday October 27th

5:30-7:30 p.m.

Performance starts at 6 p.m.


This project is funded through the City of Portland Percent for Art program administered by the Regional Arts & Culture Council. Exhibit closes Dec 6. 

October 20, 2014

Ready to Crawl Again?

Oregon Archives Crawl 2012The Oregon Archives Crawl is back and set for Saturday, October 18th from 10 AM – 3 PM. We will have three host locations this year: Portland Archives and Records Center, Oregon Historical Society and the Multnomah County Central Library. The list of participating organizations will have returning favorites as well as a few new organizations.


We are busy planning the day’s details including exhibits and programming, but we want you to save the date and join us again or for the first time.


Check the website (http://pdxarchivists.wordpress.com/) for updates as the date gets closer.


See you in October!

July 9, 2014

Jumptown Video Wall

Jumptown video wall map



The City of Portland Archives is pleased to have sixty images from the collection included in the Jumptown Video wall installation. The Jumptown Video wall is an installation of four small videos monitors placed within the exterior brick wall displaying video footage and historic photographs of the surrounding northeast neighborhood. We invite you to visit the installation on the outside wall of the newly construction Magnolia building located at 3250 NE MLK Jr. Blvd between Fargo and Cook.


The link below will take you to a list of the images used in the installation which are all available on our online database Efiles:

Jumptown Video Wall image list

December 10, 2013

Archives Artist-in-Residence Update

After being selected for the inaugural City of Portland Archives & Records Center (PARC) Artists-In-Residence program, Kaia Sand and Garrick Imatani have been hard at work: conducting research at the Archives, talking with PARC staff, documenting their findings, and developing a multi-phased project that focuses on the Police Historical Investigative Records.


These files are a series of surveillance documents collected and created by the Police Bureau that document the undercover investigation of many political organizations and some of the individuals who participated during the 1960s, 70s and early 80s.  The collection includes background information and histories of these organizations, pamphlets, photographs, information about activities, and some information about activists.  The work of the investigators included making connections between organizations and activists. 


“We are creating a series of artistic and literary Artists Kaia Sand and Garrick Imataniinterventions that served as an addendum to those original files, a way to talk back and infuse the official accounts with unrepresented voices. Our project attempts to underline and annotate what is missing within the institutional record.” – Kaia & Garrick


The first of a series of exhibits is on display at the Portland Archives and Records Center at 1800 SW 6th Ave, 5th floor in the Student Academic and Recreation Center on the Portland State University campus. Part of the exhibit is available for viewing just outside the front door entrance. The inside portion of the exhibit is available for viewing during our open research hours (http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=51811&a=297663). Ring the doorbell for admittance.


Follow Kaia & Garrick’s  progress on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheWatcherFilesProject


Subscribe to Looseleaf Services for limited edition works of art: http://looseleafservices.us/


To learn more about the Artist in Residence program click here (http://racc.org/public-art/artists-garrick-imatani-and-kaia-sand-selected-inaugural-city-portland-archives-record-ce)



October 4, 2013Comments (0)Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)

Commemorating 100 Years of Portland's Commission Form of Government

1913 Charter AmendmentPortland has a reputation for being unique, and our particular structure for governance is no exception. Portland voters adopted the commission form of government in 1913.  Since then, voters have reaffirmed their commitment to this governing style eight times. 


As the nation honors the rich historical resources found in archives across the country during October’s National Archives Month celebrations, the City Archives division of the Auditor’s Office and Commissioner Nick Fish are teaming up to commemorate 100 years of Portland’s commission form of government.  Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade and Commissioner Fish invite you join them in observing this special anniversary on Tuesday, October 22 from 5 – 7 p.m. at Portland City Hall.


The event starts off in Council Chambers, with Commissioner Nick Fish emceeing the proceedings. Portland historian and scholar, Dr. Carl Abbott, will provide an overview of pre-1913 city government and the transition to the commission form of government.  Current and former elected officials, along with other notable city officials, are invited to share stories and experiences working within our form of government. There will be exhibits and light refreshments on the first floor following the presentations.


Love it or hate it, Portland’s take on the commission form of government has been in place for 100 years.  Join us at the Portland City Hall on October 22 to hear from insiders about the pros and cons of working within Portland’s unique form of government.


Please direct questions to Diana Banning, City Archivist, 503.865.4110 or parc@portlandoregon.gov.



Centennial Commemoration of the Commission Form of Government

In celebration of National Archives Month

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Portland City Hall, Council Chambers

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

This event is free and open to the public.

October 10, 2013Comments (0)Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)

Become an Artist-in-Residence at the City of Portland Archives

Art Exhibit at Laurelhurst Park in 1953, A2001-045.689



The City of Portland Archives and Records Center is partnering with the Regional Arts & Culture Council through the intersections program to invite artists from all disciplines to explore new working methods and develop socially engaging art experiences with the Archives. This is the first in a series of residencies for the Archives with the goal of artists creating work in any media that engages and/or is a result of working with the collection and staff. It our hope that this artist residency program will help to breakdown the stereotypes associated with archival collections by viewing and presenting the archives through different lenses. 


Artists interested in this opportunity are encouraged to visit and tour the Archives prior to the application deadline of November 12, 2012. Email reservations requests by October 22, 2012 for a tour on Tuesday, October 23, 2012. Send reservation to intersections@racc.org with subject line “Visit Archives”. In the body please say how many are in your party.


For more information about the artist-in-residency, tour, the application, and timeline click on the following link (http://www.racc.org/public-art/racc-opportunity-intersections-residency-portland-archives) and download the RFQ.

October 17, 2012Comments (0)Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)

Reflections on Recreation: The Work of Dorothea M. Lensch

In line with the 3rd Annual Oregon Archives Crawl theme of Celebrating Women, Celebrating Archives, our exhibit this year focuses on the work and legacy of Dorothea Lensch, the City’s Director of Recreation from 1937 to 1972. You can get a preview now but we hope you will join us Saturday, October 6th at the Oregon Archives Crawl.


Excerpts from the exhibit:


Dorothea Lensch lawn bowling in 1949“When Lensch became director in 1937 she presided over a system which included only three indoor winter facilities and was comprised of 7 full-time staff with 33 more in the Summer. By 1956, Lensch had overseen an expansion of her vision of a comprehensive recreation program which now boasted 15 buildings with full or part-time year round programs.”


“Lensch tended to look at programming from the neighborhood level, her belief was that if you could not involve neighborhoods in their own programming there would not be the same level of commitment towards using the programs effectively as when you have involvement and development at the neighborhood level.”


 Portait of Dorothea Lensch circa 1970

In her own words…


“Recreation is a complex force in the life of the individual and of the community.  It is related to the public schools (education), the churches (religion), the welfare agencies (welfare), the social agencies (health), housing and employment organizations.  Recreation is thus people-centered and must make provision for the varied interests, age levels and degrees of ability of the population.” -From Chapter 1 of “The Evolution of Recreation Programs in War Housing Projects in Portland Oregon between the years 1940 and 1960.”


See you October 6th!

September 21, 2012Comments (0)Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)

3rd Annual Oregon Archives Crawl - Saturday October 6th!

Come one, come all to the

3rd Annual Oregon Archives Crawl on

Saturday, October 6th, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.!


Oregon Archives Crawl 2012Join us in crawling through downtown Portland, where you can participate with over 25 archives and heritage organizations in getting in touch with history and having fun doing it! Start your journey through Oregon’s past by visiting the four host locations: PortlandArchivesandRecordsCenter, PortlandStateUniversityMillarLibrary, MultnomahCountyCentralLibrary and the OregonHistoricalSociety.  At each site you’ll encounter archivists, historians and other representatives from organizations that devote their time to preserving the past so that it will be available for you and future generations to use.  Not only will you get to visit the archives of the four host locations, but the other organizations will be bringing some of their “stuff” for you to see!


Celebrate women; celebrate archives!


This year we are paying tribute to the 100th anniversary of Oregon women winning the right to vote by highlighting women in history.  Through the crawl, you will learn about the contributions and impact of women on Oregon politics, health, education, culture and more.  Attend a presentation; learn some tricks for preserving and researching your family’s history; peruse old photos, maps and documents; or take a behind-the-scenes tour to see where all this history is stored.


To help guide the way, make sure you pick up a free “passport” listing all of the participating organizations at any of the 4 host locations. Remember to get a stamp at each of the locations so you can be entered into the prize drawing which will take place at the After Party at McMenamins’ Al’s Den at the Crystal Hotel. Come for your chance to enter the drawing and stay to enjoy McMenamins’ food and beer and the company of your fellow crawlers and local archivists. The After Party is free to everyone, with food and drink available for purchase.


Third Annual Oregon Archives Crawl
Saturday, October 6, 2012
10:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Free and Open to the Public
Starting at any of the following locations: Portland Archives &
Records Center, Portland State University Millar Library, Multnomah
County Central Library or the Oregon Historical Society.

The After Party at the McMenamins Al’s Den
Saturday, October 6. 2012

3:30 PM to 6:00 PM
Open to the Public/No Host Bar
Enjoy fun, music, and prizes!

For more information and a complete list of participants check out our website: pdxarchivists.wordpress.com

August 14, 2012Comments (0)Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)

A History of the Memorial Coliseum on Display

We are pleased to have PSU Masters of Architecture student Antoinette Lettiere’s piece “Exposing Portland’s Memorial Coliseum: Decades of Conflict” on display in the outside exhibit case at the Portland Archives and Records Center. 


This collage of articles, photos, and maps collected from the City of Portland Archives was created as part of an architectural thesis exploration.  The intention was to uncover the soul behind Memorial Coliseum’s glass walls by exposing the arguments regarding the place before its construction, during its opening events, and with the more recent arguments to preserve the building as a valuable cultural and architectural artifact.


 Memorial Coliseum collage detail


Do your own research on the Memorial Coliseum and search our online database for information and photos of Memorial Coliseum:



For information on our hours and location check out the following link: http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=51811&a=298195

May 3, 2012Comments (0)Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)

Save the Date for the 3rd Annual Oregon Archives Crawl

3rd Annual Oregon Archives Crawl
Saturday, October 6, 2012


The date is set and the committee is diving into the rest of the planning details for the 3rd Annual Archives Crawl celebrating Oregon Archives Month. We are pleased to announce all four host locations (Portland Archives and Records Center, the Portland State University Millar LibraryMultnomah County Central Library and the Oregon Historical Society) will be opening up their doors again for Crawlers.  We are working on new programming for each location, highlighting what we do and how we do it.  We look forward to meeting each of you who join us.


At each host location we’ll have archives and heritage organizations from the Portland-metro area and from other parts of the state. And if more than 20 archives and heritage organizations isn’t enough to entice you, the Crawl coincides with the Oregon Historical Society’s Free Day. This year the After Party will again take place at a downtown McMenamins where we can eat, drink and merrily celebrate Oregon’s history together!


As we finalize details we will post them to http://pdxarchivists.wordpress.com/, so check it out to see who will be participating, when the fun begins and what to expect at the 3rd Annual Oregon Archives Crawl! Remember the third time’s the charm!


See you on October 6th!

March 21, 2012Comments (0)Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)

Researching Buildings Using Local Archives Workshop

1934_2801 SE 21st Ave at Taggert_A2009-009.232Do you want to learn more about the history of your house or building?


Are you curious about who lived in your house or what businesses operated in your building?




Learn about the various resources available for uncovering building histories in the Davies Family Research Library at the Oregon Historical Society, as well as at the Architectural Heritage Center, City of Portland Archives and Multnomah County Archives. Representatives of the local archives will talk about accessing and utilizing the different resources for researching the history of a building, including photographs, city directories, online databases and maps.



Saturday, April 7, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Cost: $15 for OHS members, $20 for non-members


RSVP: libreference@ohs.org or 503.306.5240

 Space is limited, so sign up now! 

Part of the Building History Workshops 


 Researching Buildings Using Local Archives Workshop Flyer

March 14, 2012Comments (0)Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)

Developing Your Research History Techniques

Many thanks to Raymond Burell for speaking about his own research as well as providing useful information about how to do historical research during his presentation at the 2nd Annual Oregon Archives Crawl.  For more information regarding developing your research history techniques check out the handout accompanying his presentation: Developing Your Research History Techniques.



October 17, 2011Comments (0)Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)

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