One Year Later
We 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, 2011 | Comments (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.
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.
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, 2011 | Comments (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, 2010 | Comments (0) | Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)
Civil Defense in Portland 1936-1963
Between 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.
To 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, 2010 | Comments (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
Perusing the preservation display
Putting history together piece by piece
Touring the closed stacks
And of course getting the Oregon Archives Crawl passport stamped
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.
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.
October 7, 2010 | Comments (0) | Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)
How do you use Archives?
This 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.
See you on Saturday!
September 30, 2010 | Comments (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?
Free and Open to the Public
4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
September 1, 2010 | Comments (0) | Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)
Becoming Part of the City's History
At our recent Grand (Re) Opening we created a display of various materials including photos, maps, and arrest dockets from the late 1800s. We also included a few artifacts some of which were gifts to elected officials over the years. We have a favorite piece made by a student and given to Mayor Bud Clark. It is a ceramic statue of Bud Clark in the Expose Yourself to Art pose made famous in the poster. The statue captures the playfullness of the poster and exemplifies why bud Clark was on the city's favorite mayors. (Come in and learn more about the Expose Yourself to Art poster)
We didn't know this object’s origins, except that a student named Kelly Hopper from Markham Middle School had made it and gave it to Mayor Bud Clark in 1985. This unique gift became a part of the archives and has been displayed on many occasions. This particular artifact is a great example of how the city’s history and its citizens intertwine.
At our Grand (Re) Opening the artifact and its origins reunited. Kelly Hopper’s art teacher from Markham Middle School, Emily Young, recognized the piece and told us the story behind its creation. She had given her students an assignment to create a 3D ceramic object based on inspirations found in the classroom. Young had the Expose Yourself to Art poster hanging in her classroom from which Kelly took her cue, creating her own version of Bud Clark. Young talked about how excited she was when she and Kelly went to City Hall to present the figure to the Mayor. She had fond memories of that experience and was very pleased to see that the piece was still around.
It doesn’t happen very often but sometimes we get lucky and can fill in a missing piece of the story. Thanks to Emily Young for her contribution to the city’s history!
June 10, 2010 | Comments (0) | Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)
Thanks to everyone who dropped their name in the hat (or rather an acid free box) to enter into the historic picture raffle at our Grand (Re) Opening. We had over 130 people enter the raffle.
And the winners are…
Each winner has been notified
If you missed out on the raffle, you can access historical photos from the City collection via our online database Efiles (http://efiles.portlandoregon.gov). Several of the raffle prize images are available as PDFs in Efiles - download and print your own.
A2004-002.3564 : View of central Portland and east Portland
(click on the magnifying glass to view the picture)
A2005-001.865 : SW 4th Ave looking north toward Yamhill St
(click on the magnifying glass to view the picture)
A2005-001.318 : N Interstate Ave and Albina Ave
(click on the magnifying glass to view the picture)
Thanks to everyone who entered our raffle and stopped by during our Grand (Re) Opening. We hope you come back to visit during our open research hours.
June 2, 2010 | Comments (0) | Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)
Our Grand (Re) Opening
Thanks to everyone that stopped by our Grand (Re) Opening last Tuesday. We were thrilled with the turn out – over 200 people showed up to watch the ribbon cutting, look at the displays, tour through the closed stacks and of course eat cake. As usual, I think the story is best told visually through photos from the event.
Commissioner Randy Leonard and Auditor Lavonne Griffin-Valade listen to City Archivist Diana Banning as she makes her opening remarks.
PSU’s Lindsey Desrochers, Vice President of Finance, spoke about the partnership between the City of Portland and Portland State University.
Commissioner Leonard made a donation of fire bureau related documents to the City of Portland Archives.
Auditor Griffin-Valade and City Archivist Banning use “golden” scissors to cut the ribbon - officially re-opening the City of Portland Archives & Records Center.
Displays from the historical collection included police dockets from the 1890s and 1900s, photographs and maps from the construction of Bull Run dam, industrial maps of Portland, and original city ordinances and documents from 1851.
People reviewing the neighborhood notebooks consisting of pictures from various areas of Portland.
A group touring the closed stacks.
If you weren’t able to stop by for the (re) opening, we hope you can stop by during our open research hours.
May 24, 2010 | Comments (0) | Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)
Grand (Re) Opening Celebration
You are invited to stop by for our Grand (Re) Opening on Tuesday, May 18th from 12noon to 4 PM! We are so excited to be finally finished with our move and settled into our new digs in the Academic & Student Recreation Center building on the PSU campus. Join us for cake, ribbon cutting and tours of the closed stacks. We will also be raffling off framed photos from the City’s collection every hour.
Our new location is easily accessible for all kinds of researchers from students to city employees to citizens interested in Portland’s distant and recent history. Both the yellow and green MAX lines as well as numerous bus lines will drop you off right next to our building. We are located on the 5th floor and are currently open for research during designated Open Research Hours.
(Please note that we will be closed for research on the morning of May 18th to set up for the event.)
To learn more about to see where we came from and our history, check out our exhibit “Portland’s Documentary Legacy” from our most recent Open House last fall. Help us celebrate the beginning of the next phase.
See you on Tuesday, May 18th!
May 11, 2010 | Comments (0) | Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)
May 3rd is here!
Today we officially re-opened our doors after being closed for 5 months while we moved. We are thrilled to be in our new space and are looking forward to sharing it with everyone.
It has been a very busy 5 months. In December we closed our doors to the public to move to our new location on the PSU campus. In that time we have completed 2 inventories (one pre and one post – including relabeling all of the boxes), built the new shelving (dismantled in one location and re-built in the new location), moved roughly 30,000 cubic square foot of boxes, ledgers, maps, and other materials and settled the staff into the new facility. It has been a long process but I think you’ll agree that the wait was worth it. We now have room to grow and a wonderful new Research Room to share with the public and city employees.
To visit the Research Room drop by during our open research hours (first come, first served). We are now located at 1800 SW 6th Avenue, Suite #550.
Monday, Tuesday & Friday Wednesday & Thursday
9:00 AM to 1:00 PM 12:00 AM to 4:00 PM
May 3, 2010 | Comments (0) | Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)
ASRC Building Grand Opening
Last Thursday, the PSU Academic and Student Recreation Center (ASRC) had its grand opening. The City of Portland Archives & Records Center is now located on the 5th floor of the new ASRC building. City Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade and Commissioner Randy Leonard were present with PSU officials to formally “open” the building.
We had a table set up in the plaza with the other tenants in the building (and we were fortunate enough to be out there on the one sunny day of the week). Thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hello. We hope to see even more people at our Grand Opening set for Tuesday, May 18th.
Read more about the event on Commissioner Leonard’s blog:
April 6, 2010 | Comments (0) | Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)
We are almost done with the move to our new location on the Portland State University (PSU) campus. All of the records and materials have made the journey and now we are doing inventory and re-labeling each box with its new location. We are on target for our re-opening in May (if all goes as planned). We will be keeping our website up to date so check it out if you have any questions (http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/archives).
We can’t wait to re-open and share this amazing new space with everyone. Until then, below are some photos of the final stages of the move.
The last cart of boxes – cart 1195…
How different the space looks when the boxes and shelves are gone…
The last box moved to the new location…
April 5, 2010 | Comments (0) | Post a Comment (Sign-In Required)
What Exactly is an Ordinance?
Ordinances are one of the ways the City does its business. The official definition is as follows (to learn more about how Council works click here):
Ordinances are formal documents which carry the binding force of law and are passed by the Council in accordance with rules set forth in the City Charter. Two kinds of Ordinances, emergency and non-emergency, appear on the Agenda. Emergency Ordinances, designated in the Agenda by an asterisk preceding the agenda number, require a unanimous vote with at least four Council members present to vote. Non-emergency ordinances come before Council twice and go into effect 30 days after passage by Council. Public testimony is generally taken only at the first reading and the vote is taken at the second reading. Only three votes are needed for approval.
Ordinances are also a great way to learn about how the City government functions (what exactly is the city’s business) and the City and its citizen’s priorities over time. I see ordinances as some of the building blocks of our City; some are sweeping in their scope while most are small but important steps.
In terms of sweeping change check out Ordinance 7263 that changed street names after the 1892 consolidation or Ordinance 61325 which set up the current grid and numbering system and changed street names (for more information about the current grid and number system you can view or download this report – more on reports later). Regarding structural change of a different kind see Ordinance 17410 that authorized the hiring of the first female police officer.
For important smaller steps from the late 1800's check out Ordinance 310 which provided for the location of shade and ornamental trees in the streets of City of Portland and Ordinance 404 that authorized the purchase of a steam fire engine for use of Protection Engine Co. No. 4.
Many ordinances have been scanned are available to read and download from our online database like this one about accepting a land grant to increase the area of Forest Park (Ordinance 146520 - click on the magnifying glass icon to view the file). To search for other ordinances go to Efiles.
March 19, 2010 | Comments (0) | Post a Comment
Current Articles | Previous Articles | RSS Feed