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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)

Things to do and see at the Oregon Archives Crawl

October 15th is just a few days away, which means this Saturday is the Oregon Archives Crawl!  To help you plan your tour of the many archives participating in this year's Archives Crawl, we put together a "Things to Do and See" list that you can find on the event website: http://pdxarchivists.wordpress.com/activities/.


Some examples of what you can expect to find at the City of Portland Archives and Records Center venue: get a behind-the-scenes tour of the Archives; learn research techniques from local researcher and author, Raymond Burell; get assistance preserving a photo, book or document from the Lewis & Clark College archivists (for the 1st 50 people!); and learn about the Oregon Jewish experience through artifacts and photos.


For more fun things to do and see at the Oregon Archives Crawl, check here: http://pdxarchivists.wordpress.com/activities/.


See you this Saturday!

October 10, 2011

Researching at the City of Portland Archives & Records Center with Raymond Burell

Archival materials


Learn tips and techniques for doing research in archives, including the City of Portland Archives, from local researcher Raymond Burell during the Oregon Archives Crawl on Saturday, October 15th


Burell will discuss his both his own research on the Vancouver Avenue Baptist Church (formerly the Central Methodist Episcopal Church) and his research methods during a 30 minute presentation and Q&A starting at 11 AM.  Burell will talk about what resources he utilized to verify dates and names of key players in the building process using old city permit cards, an 1894 Portland atlas, city code hearing records and various Polk Directories.


If you are curious about doing research on your own neighborhood or house or are simply interested in Portland’s history, stop by to learn what resources are available here to help with your search. Knowing where to start can be the biggest challenge for researchers, so we hope you can join us to listen to one researcher’s journey.


Local researcher Raymond Burell presentation

Saturday, October 15, 2011

11:00 AM at the City of Portland Archives and Records Center

September 28, 2011Comments (0)Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)

2011 Oregon Archives Crawl poster!


The 2011 Archives Crawl poster is ready and looks great! Check out the website (http://pdxarchivists.wordpress.com/) for more details about participating organizations and activities.


See you on Saturday, October 15th!

September 7, 2011

Ready to crawl through history again (or for the first time)?


Everyone is invited to the 2nd Annual Oregon Archives Crawl on Saturday, October 15th. Start at any of the four host locations (Portland Archives and Records Center, the Portland State University Millar Library, Multnomah County Central Library or the Oregon Historical Society) and get ready to dive head first into history. Each host site will share space with other local archives and heritage organizations, many returning and a few new ones.


Some of this year’s participating organizations include Oregon Health and Sciences University, the Genealogical Forum of Oregon Library, Oregon Nikkei Center, the Multnomah County Records Program and the Dill Pickle Club. With over 30 organizations as part of the Archives Crawl, there is something for everyone!


Crawlers can tour some of the facilities and get a glimpse of where all these treasures are stored, see how Portland has changed over the years through photos and maps, and touch artifacts ranging from police dockets dating back to the late 1800s to medical artifacts from OHSU (maybe even a skull). Join in on fun family activities that connect you to our rich history and learn how and where to do your own research.  Remember: you don’t have to be a history scholar to be interested in history, or to do research!  All of the participating archives are open to anyone with an interest in history.


As you crawl from site to site, make sure you get your free “passport” stamped at each location. A fully stamped passport gets you into a drawing for items donated by participating archives.  The drawing takes place at the After Party at McMenaminsMission Theater. The After Party is just that, a party where we can all kick back, listen to music, reflect on the day’s events and chat with the archivists and other people who like history. The After Party is free to everyone, but be sure to bring your money if you want to partake of McMenamins’ food and beer. Soft drinks will be available for free until they run out.


Second Annual Oregon Archives Crawl
Saturday, October 15
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 Mission Theater & Pub
Saturday, October 15 

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

For more information check out our website: pdxarchivists.wordpress.com

August 19, 2011Comments (0)Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)

Oregon Poetic Voices Call to Record Local Poets

The Oregon Poetic Voices Project (OPV) will host an open recording session here at the Portland Archives and Records Center on the PSU campus (1800 SW 6th Ave, Suite 550) on June 24, 2011, from 1 – 5 p.m. Poets may record up to four poems, at no expense, to be included in the OPV archive, which is hosted by Lewis & Clark College and available on the web at www.oregonpoeticvoices.org.


All poets, published or not, are welcome to record. This will be a first-come, first-serve event and poets will have about fifteen-minutes allotted to them. Poets should consider these time constraints when deciding which works they want to record.


All participants must be prepared to sign a waiver to allow the recordings and texts to be displayed on the website (www.oregonpoeticvoices.org). Please also bring paper copies of the poems and a biographical statement. All participants will be mailed a CD of their readings.


For more information, please direct any questions to Poetry Project Fellow, Melissa Dalton at 503-768-8190 or mdalton@lclark.edu. All local poets are also welcome to schedule an individual appointment to record in the OPV office, located on the Lewis & Clark campus.

June 15, 2011

Save the date for the 2nd Annual Oregon Archives Crawl

Oregon Archives Crawl

We are pleased to be involved with the Oregon Archives Crawl again this coming October. Last year there was a great turnout and we were thrilled with all of the new faces that came through our doors.


So if you missed it last year or just want to come back to see what’s new, mark your calendars for Saturday, October 15th.  To keep up-to-date on event details and participants, check out the website.


We hope to see you in October!

May 6, 2011

One Year Later

First day of research in our new Research RoomWe have been in our new home on the Portland State University campus for over a year, but today (May 3rd) marks our one year anniversary of reopening our Research Room. It also marks our move from appointment only to open research hours. New building, new hours, new procedures, there were lots of new things to get used to in our first year. All in all the changes have been great.


Our new location downtown and drop-in hours for research have definitely had a positive impact on the number of researchers through our doors. Students, city employees, businesses and citizens -  all with varied research interests – have found that it is easier to get to the Archives now. Daily open hours have encouraged people to drop in more frequently and for multiple visits. The end result is more people accessing and utilizing city records.


In addition to helping researchers, we’ve given many tours of our new space during the course of the year.  We’re excited about our new building and love to share a behind-the-scenes look at where 160 year’s worth of City history resides.  Look for upcoming opportunities to tour the Archives and Records Center, like the 2011 Oregon Archives Crawl on October 15th.  Or, if you can’t wait that long and have a group who would like to arrange a tour, please contact us.


If you haven’t stopped by to do some research, we hope you drop in soon.

May 3, 2011Comments (0)Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)

Who We Are & Where We Came From

In this next installment of our Archives 101 series we wanted to introduce you to who we are as a program.


City of Portland Archives Guide 1981

The City of Portland Archives and Records Management Division began in 1976 with the hiring of Portland’s first experienced archivist. In 1978 the program obtained a multi-year NHPRC grant designed to create a model program for implementing an integrated archival and records system at the municipal level. In 1981 the Portland Archives and Records Center was established to house this integrated program and bring the decentralized archival collection together in one place. City records were collected from the basement of City Hall, individual city bureaus and other nooks and crannies in city offices.

 Incinerator in Chimney Park 1932

The program remained in this first facility, an old city incinerator, until 2010 when it moved to a new and more centrally located facility in the heart of Portland.


As an institutional archives, we collect and preserve documents, plans, photos and other materials generated by and for the City’s government.  That means that we have records about urban planning and parks, photos of public works construction like roads and sewers, Ordinances dating back to 1851 and many elected official records. We provide important historical evidence of the development of city government and the growth of Portland since its inception.

January 26, 2011Comments (0)Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)

Archives 101: Who we are, what we do and how we do it

“What do you do?”

“I’m an archivist.”

“A what? What’s that?”


This is a conversation that most archivists experience on a routine basis; in fact, the joke is that more people know what an anarchist is than they know what an archivist is.  With this in mind, we thought we’d spend some time introducing archives to our readers.


Sure, you may have visited an archives, done some research or even taken a tour, but do you really know what an archivist does?  Do we roll up the proverbial rug once the Research Room lights go out?  Of course not!  There is a wide and wonderful world of archivy1 out there and over the next few months we’re going to give you a peek into who we are, what we do and why we do it. 


If you have specific questions or even general questions about Archives or Archivists, please comment as we go and we will do our best to respond in future posts.




1 n. ~ The discipline of archives.

Pearce-Moses, Richard, . A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology. Society of American Archivists, 2005. Print.

December 9, 2010Comments (0)Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)

Civil Defense in Portland 1936-1963

1954 Civil Defense Sign PostingBetween the first and second world wars, Portland responded to the potential threat of air strikes by developing a Civil Defense program. Volunteer firefighters were trained and citizens were taught a variety of survival methods from seeking shelter to sealing windows against gas attacks. In the post World War II era, the threat of nuclear warfare pushed the development of a Civil Defense infrastructure. Portland built a state of the art Civil Defense command center built underground at Kelly Butte in 1957 that was featured in a CBS documentary. Citizens were also engaged through evacuation exercises including the massive “Operation Green Light” which emptied roughly 1,000 downtown blocks and evacuated over 100,000 people in less than an hour.


1960 Civil Defense exhibitTo learn more about the Portland’s Civil Defense efforts and see some of the photos, documents and plans, check out our online exhibit or drop by to see the exhibit located in our front case. If you are interested in doing more research or curious about a certain aspect, check out Efiles or stop by during Open Research Hours to dig deeper into the history of Portland’s Civil Defense.

October 29, 2010Comments (0)Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)

First Annual Oregon Archives Crawl a Success!

Thanks to everyone who helped us get the word out about the first annual Oregon Archives Crawl and to those who “crawled” between each location.  We were thrilled with the steady stream of visitors coming through our door, many of whom had never been to our facility or to any archive. 


Here are a few pictures from the day. Enjoy!


Getting up close and personal with the historic exhibit

Exhibit at the Oregon Archives Crawl


Perusing the preservation display

Preservation display Oregon Archives Crawl


Putting history together piece by piece

Oregon Archives Crawl


Touring the closed stacks

Touring the closed stacks


And of course getting the Oregon Archives Crawl passport stamped

Oregon Archives Crawl passport stamping


Thanks to our wonderful presenters who gave real life examples of how they use archives!


Tanya March talked about the many different topics she has researched here including the work she did in preparation for the Re-Building South Portland exhibit opening this Friday, 10/8 at the Architectural Heritage Center.

Tanya March presenting


Joanne Oleksiak discussed her research regarding the Albina Mural project and provided a preview of the upcoming exhibit Walls of Heritage, Walls of Pride: African American Murals at the Oregon Historical Society opening November 16th.

Joanne Oleksiak


October 7, 2010Comments (0)Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)

How do you use Archives?

PARCThis Saturday, October 2nd, marks the first annual Oregon Archives Crawl.  The City of Portland Archives and Records Center (PARC) is one of the four archives sites you can visit between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. (Portland State University Library, Multnomah County Library Central Branch and the Oregon Historical Society are the other three).  Additionally, there will be representatives from 20 other institutions participating - see the list below to see who will be there.


Drop by PARC for tours, a chance to look at some historical records, and in general, check out what the Portland Archives has to offer!  Some additional activities:


At 12:00 noon Tanya March will discuss how she used appraisal records, scrap books, historic maps, Polk Directories and other resources found at the Archives to help pull together the exhibit materials for a new exhibit at the Architectural Heritage Centerand to expand her research on the Guilds Lake development during the 1930s and 40s. Bring your questions about doing a neighborhood history and how to incorporate archival records.


Throughout the day, Joanne Oleksiak will talk about her research on the 1977 Albina Mural project and what she learned at the Archives while preparing for the local component of a national exhibit on African American murals. The exhibit entitled Walls of Heritage, Walls of Pride will open at the Oregon Historical Society in November.


Please note that Saturday and the Archives Crawl is for celebrating and not for research! The Archives staff will be busy giving tours and showing off some of the historical collections and won't be able to accommodate research requests. If you'd like to do some research, we invite you to visit us during our normally scheduled Research Room hours.


List of participating organizations:

See you on Saturday!

September 30, 2010Comments (2)Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)

Oregon Archives Crawl - Join us on October 2nd

I know you haven't heard from us in quite awhile. We have been busy in the Research Room and planning for our Oregon Archives Month event which we hope you will attend (details below).


You’ve heard of Pub Crawls, but have you ever heard of an Archives Crawl?

Neither had we, so we created one!Oregon Archives Crawl poster

Everyone is invited to join us for the first annual Oregon Archives Crawl this October in celebration of Oregon Archives Month.  Walk, bike, run, or crawl between four different downtown locations and learn what local archives have to offer researchers, students, genealogists, scholars, homeowners, history buffs, and the curious of any age. We have something for everyone, old and young, native Oregonian and visitor passing through, professional and novice.

Travel at your leisure between the Portland Archives and Records Center, the Portland State University Library, Multnomah County Central Library and the Oregon Historical Society.  At each place you can tour the facilities and participate in activities that bring history to life. The Oregon Historical Society and the Multnomah County Central Library will also be hosting displays by other area archives including the Oregon Jewish Museum, Willamette University, Oregon State Archives, Lewis & Clark College, the Oregon State University, the Mazamas and the Washington County Museum. Each location and participating organization will have family friendly activities throughout the day.

A free Archives Crawl “passport” will be issued to help you navigate the crawl. A fully stamped passport enters you in a raffle drawing at our After Party at the Oregon Historical Society, where there will be light refreshments, live music and a whole lot of fun.

Join us for the first annual Oregon Archives Crawl and become a part of history!

First Annual Oregon Archives Crawl
Saturday, October 2
11:00 AM to 4:00 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 hosted by the Oregon Historical Society
Saturday, October 2

4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Free and Open to the Public
Enjoy fun, music, and raffle prizes!

For more information, including a complete list of participating organizations: http://pdxarchivists.wordpress.com/

September 1, 2010Comments (0)Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)

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