POL Government Elected Officials Auditor Mary Hull Caballero Divisions Archives & Records Management News

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)

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)

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