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.