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The City of Portland, Oregon

Archives & Records Management

Office of the City Auditor

phone: 503-865-4100


1800 SW 6th Ave, Suite 550, Portland, OR 97201

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The Portland Archives & Records Center: Covid-19 updates

In accordance with the latest public health guidance and to best proactively protect the health of our community, the City of Portland has closed most City buildings until further notice.

The Portland Archives & Records Center is closed at this time. Staff are telecommuting and can respond to some reference questions via email. Our access to the physical archives is very limited, but we will work with you to address your questions.

You can search our online database anytime at   If you have questions, please email

Celebrating 100 years of Women's Suffrage

2020 marks the 100-year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, View of the exhibit case with photos of women giving women throughout the U.S. the constitutional right to vote.  Oregon’s women gained that right eight years earlier in 1912.  Women’s suffrage was voted on five times in Oregon before it passed the sixth and final time.

To celebrate the ratification of the federal amendment, the City of Portland Archives is highlighting Women in Portland in our new exhibit. We are focusing on ten women who have worked for the City or in the larger Portland community. Some are well known and others concealed by history, but all have contributed to the story of Portland. We found many iView of the exhibit case and front doormages of women in our collection that remain largely nameless and we have included them too as a backdrop to our exhibit.

The exhibit features ten women who represent the important and diverse roles women played in Portland’s past. For some of these women we have extensive records. For others, their story has been patched together from pieces of information in documents, photographs and newspaper accounts. All of them have some connection to the City of Portland, whether they worked for the City, were surveilled by the police, were part of an urban renewal committee, or simply active in their community. These women’s stories are stories of Portland.

Drop by our office at 1800 SW 6th Ave to see the exhibit or see a smaller version of it in City Hall. Make sure you pick up one of the exhibit bookmarks; each one highlights one of the 10 women we have featured.

Making art out of history

View of two men standing over a miniature street intersection showing how two cars collidedThe Portland Archives & Records Center invites you to celebrate Archives Month with us by making art!  Archives Month happens every October and is a time to celebrate the work that archivists do and the historical collections they manage. 

What it is:

We’ve got the photos; you have the imagination. We want you to create something new out of something old, and we encourage you to have some fun with it.  There are 10 historical photos to work with and you can use as many of the images as you want into your art.

View of 4 men and 3 women in hard hats in a sewer tunnel smiling at the cameraHow it works:

Anyone can participate, including students. To start your artwork, you choose from 10 preselected photos from our historical collections (available in Efiles)  The work can be almost* anything - redaction poetry, GIFs, collages, coloring pages, creative writing, memes, or other creative interventions. Its art, so get creative! Each person can submit up to 3 works based on those pre-selected images.

A panel of local judges will select winners based on creativity and originality of the entry. Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places for both adults and youth categories. There is also a People’s Choice award.

Go to the submission page for more details and a link to the pre-selected images.

View of piles of buidlign materials and workers with shovels.Timing

Contest Opens – Monday, September 16th (8 AM)

Contest Closes – Tuesday, October 15th (5PM)

Judging – Wednesday, October 16th to October, Wednesday October 30th

Results Announced – Thursday, October 31st


Special Thanks!

Thank you to the Virginia Caucus of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference for coming up with this idea and allowing us to take it and run our own contest!!


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90th Anniversary of Bull Run Storage Dam 1

This year marks the 90th anniversary of the completion of the Bull Run Storage Dam 1. The construction of the storage dam was just one phase of a project to expand capacity in the Bull Run Reserve. The project was set in motion to address the growing population in the Portland metro area. To this day, the City still relies heavily on the water supply stored behind Dam 1. The Portland Archives & Records Center’s new exhibit highlights the three-year construction project that ended in 1929, and includes photographs, drawings, maps and correspondence.

Drop by our office at 1800 SW 6th Ave, Suite 550 to view the exhibit. If you are at City Hall, you can find a supplemental display in our exhibit case located on the 1st floor. Exhibit materials are also available through our online database Efiles. See

Black & white photo showing construction of Dam 1

2018 Artists-in-Residence – Cleo Davis & Kayin Talton-Davis

Artists installing artworkIn early 2018, the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) selected the artist team of Cleo Davis and Kayin Talton-Davis for the 2018 City of Portland Archives year-long Artist-in-Residence. The artists have partnered with archivists to dive deep into the City’s archival records and have created the first of their work based on their research. The exhibit is up now through the Spring of 2019. Check back later for updates on the final work produced for this residency.

About the Archives Artist-in-Residence

This residency asks the artist to add a new dimension to the archives by applying their artistic lens to the historical records. It allows for a deep investigation into the role archives play within society and creates space for expression of an intellectual and emotional understanding of archives. artists hanging workThis is the third in a series of public art residencies funded by the City of Portland Percent for Art Program administered by RACC.