PortlandOnline

POL Government Elected Officials Auditor Griffin-Valade Divisions Archives & Records ARCHIVES
1902 to 1952

1902

 

First Pension system for city workers
City of Portland voters establish the first pension system, covering the fire and police forces.

 

 

F&P D&R
History Page

1903
19-Feb

 

St. Johns Incorporated

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1903

 

Olmsted Brothers submit plans for the Lewis & Clark Exposition and a Parks Plan
Their proposals include what is now Forest Park, Mt. Tabor Park and Terwilliger Boulevard Scenic Parkway.

 

 

Bureau of
Planning

1904

 

Portland Rose Society "Fiesta"
Predecessor to the Rose Festival, held 1904 - 1906.

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1904

 

President Theodore Roosevelt signs Public Law 206, the "Trespass Act," restricting access to the Bull Run watershed.

 

 

Water Bureau History Page

1905

 

Lewis and Clark Exposition
Held on land created by filling in Guild's Lake in Northwest Portland. The Forestry Building won acclaim as "the world's greatest log cabin."

 

Construction

Auditor-
Archives

1906

 

First official Chinese Consul appointed in Portland
In recognition of Portland's large Chinese population and trade importance the Chinese government appointed Moy Back Hin (a Portland millionaire) consul for Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. The fourth consul appointed in the U.S.

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1907

 

Oaks Amusement Park opens
From May 1 to October 1 over 350,000 people visited.

 

 

History Page of
Parks&Recreation

1907

 

Parks Bond
$1,000,000 bond passed for the implementation of the Olmsted Plan.

 

 

Auditor Elections History Page

1907

 

First Rose Festival

 

Parade Float

Auditor-
Archives

1908
12-Feb

 

Ordinance approving the hiring of the first policewoman (as a detective)

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

 1908

1-Apr

   Lola Greene Baldwin is hired as "Superintendent of the Women's Auxiliary to the Police Department for the Protection of Girls." This made Baldwin the first municipally paid policewoman in the U.S.  

Lola Greene Baldwin

 Image courtsey of Portland Police Historical Society

1909

 

Portland to Seattle Railroad completed

 

 

 

1909

 

First motorcycle policeman

 

 

Police
Traffic Division History Page

1909

 

Broadway Bridge Bond
Voters authorized the construction of the Broadway Bridge with a $450,000 bond.

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1910

 

City of Linnton Incorporated

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1910

 

First Forest Park purchase
City began purchasing Forest Park land.

 

 

Bureau of Parks
& Recreation

1910
8-Nov

 

Public Docks Commission formed
Created by a 1910 charter amendment.

 

population:
207,214

Auditor-
Archives

1910
19-Dec

 

Hawthorne Bridge opens
Built by the City at a cost of $500,000.

 

Construction Crew

Auditor-
Archives

1911

 

Reservoirs 5 & 6 completed
Both on Mt Tabor. Increased in-city holding capacity by 125 million gallons.

 

 

Water Bureau History Page

1912
12-Aug

 

Steel Bridge opens
It is claimed to be the only telescoping vertical lift bridge in the world and is the second oldest vertical lift bridge in North America. Built by Union and Southern Pacific Railroads for $1.7 million.

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1912

 

Portland's First Rose Garden
Peninsula Park's rose garden was designed by Park Superintendent Mische. Ladd's Circle was also planted with roses.

 

 

History Page of
Parks&Recreation

1912

 

Lents annexed to Portland

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1912

 

Bennett Plan adopted
Bennett, a Chicago architect, prepares the "Greater Portland Plan", predicting that Portland will grow to 2,000,000 and will include all the population within a twenty-mile radius.

 

 

 

Bureau of
Planning

1912

 

Bubblers commissioned
Simon Benson donates money to install 4-bowl drinking fountains downtown.

 

Water Bureau History Page

1912

 

The Water Bureau begins selling water to the City of Gresham as its first major wholesale customer.

 

 

Water Bureau History Page

1913
13-Apr

 

Release of an "audit" of Portland government by the New York Bureau of Municipal Research.

 

Organization and Business Methods Report


Auditor's Office

1913
22-Apr

 

Broadway Bridge opens
Built by the City at a cost of $1.6 million.

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1913

 

First traffic signal
At SW Fifth and Washington.

 

First Traffic Signal

Auditor-
Archives

1913
3-May

 

A new charter providing for a commission form of government passes
Narrowly approved by voters with a 47 percent turnout.

 

 

Auditor - Elections Archives

1914

 

Portland Branch of the NAACP formally recognized
The oldest branch west of the Mississippi River to be continuously chartered.

 

 

Bureau of
Planning

1914
May

 

The Central Public Market opens
Also known as the Yamhill Market. Originally named the Carroll Market after John Carroll, the editor of the Evening Telegram.

 

 

Bureau of
Planning

1915

 

City of St. Johns Annexed to Portland
City of St. Johns, incorporated 1903 - 1915.

 

 

Bureau of
Planning

1915

 

Linnton Annexed to Portland
City of Linnton, incorporated 1910 - 1915.

 

Merger Ballot

Bureau of
Planning

1917

 

Interstate Bridge opens
The first span of the I-5 Bridge from Portland to Vancouver begins operation.

 

 

Bureau of Parks
& Recreation

1917
4-Jul

 

Portland Public Auditorium dedicated
Cost: $600,000.

 

Announcement of Dedication

Auditor-
Archives

1917

 

International Rose Test Garden established

 

 

Bureau of Parks
& Recreation

1917

 

George L. Baker elected
Beginning a 16-year period as Mayor.

 

Mayor George Baker

Mayor's Office 

1917

 

Parks Superintendent Keyser appointed
Charles Paul Keyser served as Parks Superintendent from 1917 until 1949.

 

 

History Page of
Parks&Recreation

1918
4-Jul

 

First nine holes of Eastmoreland Municipal Golf Course open for play
The first of the municipal courses. The fee was 25 cents per round.

 

 

History Page of
Parks&Recreation

1918

 

The first Planning Commission formed by seven volunteers
Later to become the Bureau of Planning.

 

 

Bureau of
Planning

1918

 

Spanish Influenza outbreak
Public Auditorium used as infirmary.

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1919

 

Zoning defeated
Portland, New York and St. Louis propose a zoning ordinance. The ordinance is defeated 30,631 to 30,085 and branded a "long-haired attempt to invade private enterprise".

 

 

Bureau of
Planning

1919

 

Realty Board established a 'code of ethics'
Realtors could be subject to dismissal for selling real estate outside of certain designated areas of Portland to African Americans.

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1920

 

 

 

population:
258,288

 

1921

 

Cheney Plan Published
Plan of major traffic streets, boulevards and park system to address growing traffic and congestion problems.

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1921

 

Police Sunshine Division established

 

 

Police Bureau

1924

 

First zoning code
Written by the Planning Commission and the Portland Realty Board it contains four zones: 1) single-family residence, 2) single or multi-family residence, 3) general business and light manufacturing and 4) unrestricted. No height restrictions are proposed.

 

 

Bureau of
Planning

1924

 

First gasoline powered bus
Ran on East 39th Avenue.

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1924

 

First one-way street

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1925

 

The report "Future Bridges" proposes new bridges at Interstate or Overlook Avenue and Morrison Street. The opening of the Fremont Bridge in 1973 marks the completion of the bridges in the proposal.

 

 

Bureau of
Planning

1925
15-Dec

 

Sellwood Bridge opens
Built by Multnomah County for $541,000.

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1926
28-May

 

Burnside Bridge opens
Built by Multnomah County for $4.5 million. The second at this location, the other built in 1894.

 

Bridget Opening

Auditor-
Archives

1926
21-Dec

 

Ross Island bridge opens
Built by Multnomah County for $1.9 million and taken over by the State in 1976.

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1926
Dec

 

Vista Bridge opens
Cost: $200,000.

 

Vista Bridge

Auditor-
Archives

1926

 

Portland has more cars per capita than Chicago or New York
Portland makes way for the now dominant mode of transportation by widening select streets to 120 feet to serve as arterials connecting principal parts of the city.

 

 

Bureau of
Planning

1927
Sept

 

Opening of the Swan Island Airport
Replaced the municipal field at Westmoreland Park. Charles Lindbergh flew in as part of the opening ceremonies.

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1927
1-Nov

 

Public Service Building completed
Then the tallest building in Oregon. The building housed Portland Gas and Coke Co. and Northwestern Electric (later Pacific Power and Light).

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1928

 

Steam Fireboats replaced
By three gasoline-powered fireboats.

 

 

Fire Bureau

1929

 

Bull Run Dam 1 completed
11 billion gallon reservoir is formed behind it.

 

 

Bureau of
Water Works History Page

1929

 

Harbor wall completed
Cost: $2.7 million.

 

Construction Site

Auditor-
Archives

1930

 

 

 

population:
301,815

Auditor-
Archives

1931

 

Burnside street widening project

 

1930 Street Scene

Auditor-
Archives

1931
13-Jun

 

St Johns Bridge opens
Built by Multnomah County for $3.9 million.

 

Night Scene

Auditor-
Archives

1931
2-Sep

 

Current N/S-E/W grid for Portland established
Ordinance number 61325 established the new system and for the renumbering of buildings and renaming of streets.

 

 

Bureau of
Planning

1932

 

Bartholomew Report published
Report on proposed system of major streets and development of waterfront.

 

Proposed Waterfront

Auditor-
Archives

1932

 

The retail center shifts from Front Street to Fourth and Fifth Streets
Lack of bridge access, flooding and obsolete wharfs cause rapid deterioration of the waterfront.

 

 

Bureau of
Planning

1933
1-Jan

 

Meier and Frank expands downtown store to 15 stories

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1933

 

George Baker leaves office
Baker was the first 4 term mayor under the commission form of government and also served for nine years as a councilman.

 

 

Mayor's Office

1933
15-Dec

 

The Public Market building opens for business
The market was located on the waterfront in direct opposition to the newly published Bartholomew Plan.

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1933
Aug

 

Construction of Barbur Blvd completed
Civic emergency relief project. Cost: $575,602. Called the Fourth St extension.

 

Workers

Auditor-
Archives

1935

 

The Federal Civil Works Administration completes WW. Amburn's Proposed Mass Transit Plan
It recommends that streetcars be removed from the Broadway, Burnside and Morrison Bridges.

 

 

Bureau of
Planning

1936-37

 

Urban development slows down
The Planning Commission shifts focus from directing expansive growth to preventing premature obsolescence and blight.

 

 

Bureau of
Planning

1938

 

A ten-year park program to purchase land for additional neighborhood parks, playgrounds and play fields is approved.

 

 

Bureau of
Planning

1940

 

 

 

population:
305,394

 

1941

 

Portland Columbia Airport opens
New airport on north side of what is now Portland International Airport. Construction was aided by WPA funding.

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1941
11-Dec

 

The Housing Authority of Portland created

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1941

 

Shipyards Employ New Workers
Henry Kaiser's three new shipyards employ workers by the train load from Chicago and New York. Many workers are African-Amercian. By 1944, about 150,000 workers are supporting the war effort.

 

 

Bureau of
Planning

1942
12-Sep

 

Groundbreaking ceremonies for Vanport

 

Vanport in 1943

Auditor-
Archives

1942
2-Apr

 

WPA codification project establishes the first Planning and Zoning code
The compiled code replaced approximately 205 separate ordinances.

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1942

 

War Housing
War Zoning code adopted allowing higher density development for workers for the war effort.

 

 

Bureau of
Planning

1942

 

Council Calls for Evacuation
Council adopts resolution 22113 urging the Federal Government to evacuate Japanese citizens from the area.

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1943

 

Robert Moses Report published
Entitled "Portland Improvement," it recommended the construction of Harbor Drive and today's freeways.

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1943

 

The Portland Area Post War Development Committee formed
World War II turns Portland into a major shipbuilding center with the Federal Government constructing thousands of new housing units at Vanport for the 67,000 people streaming into Portland.

 

 

Bureau of
Planning

1943
26-Aug

 

First female Commissioner
Dorothy McCollough Lee appointed in 1943 and elected in 1944.

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1943

 

Urban League of Portland formed

 

 

Bureau of
Planning

1945

 

The first post-war Japanese owned business opens
Kimoshita Vegetable and Fruit Market on Columbia Blvd.

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1946

 

Two-way Radios
Fire Crews and Motorcycle Police previously used call boxes for communication.

 

 

Fire and Police
bureaus

1947

 

Redlining on Housing Maps
Federal postwar housing mortgage insurance program issued maps using red ink to indicate bad risk areas, targeting minority areas including NE Portland.

 

 

Bureau of
Planning

1948
31-May

 

Vanport Flood

 

Distributing Flood Relief

Auditor-
Archives

1948
25-Sep

 

Formal public dedication of Forest Park

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1948

 

The Civic Center Report
Proposes a City and State building be erected next to Chapman and Lownsdale Squares, construction of a freeway loop to alleviate traffic congestion, off-street automobile parking and street improvements made to facilitate the use of the automobile in downtown.

 

 

Bureau of
Planning

1948
2-Nov

 

First female mayor elected
Dorothy McCullough Lee.

 

Mayor Dorothy McCullough Lee

Mayor's Office
History Page

1950

 

Electric trolleys are torn out to make room for the automobile.Minnesota Freeway, also known as Interstate 5, is proposed.

 

population:
373,628

 

Bureau of
Planning

1950

 

One-way street grid system established

 

 

Auditor-
Archives

1950

 

Commission on Intergroup Relations
Created by ordinance of the City Council to investigate "problems arising between groups in the City of Portland which may result in tension or discrimination on account of race, color, religion, or national origin or descent."

 

 

Metropolitan Human Rights Commission History Page

1950

 

Civil Rights Ordinance Defeated
City of Portland anti-discrimination ordinance defeated in referendum by petition in the general election.

 

 

Auditor Elections History Page

1950

 

The Planning Commission employs five staff with $27,650 budget.

 

 

Bureau of
Planning

1950

 

Last street car to Council Crest

 

Street Car

Auditor-
Archives

1951

 

Lloyd Keefe begins as Planning Director
He served as director of the Planning Commission from 1951 to 1972.

 

 

Bureau of
Planning

1951

 

Northwest Plan proposed
Protects residential use and bans industry development in Northwest close to Downtown.

 

 

Bureau of


Historic Photos
Slide Show and Portland Timeline Images
Contact Information
Archives & Records
1800 SW 6th Ave, Suite 550
Portland, OR 97201
phone: 503-865-4100 (new)

 

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