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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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Using the City of Portland's Archives (Historical Collection)

Section 1: Public Access
City Code 3.76.090 indicates that all public records created by or for the City, except where excluded by law, are available for inspection and copying by the public. Reference services are available free of charge to the public and city employees.
  1. The Archives reading room is open to the public Monday through Friday, during Open Research hours, excluding holidays.
  2. In order to ensure the security and longevity of the records stored at PARC, researchers are required to fill out a registration form and adhere to the following instructions:
    1. Patrons will register and furnish identification prior to obtaining access to materials.
    2. Patrons will deposit backpacks, briefcases, and other types of containers in the lockers provided.
    3. No smoking, drinking, or eating is permitted in the Research Room.
    4. Only pencils are allowed for note taking while using records at PARC.
    5. Patrons will not alter, mark, mutilate, or otherwise deface public records.
    6. Patrons will not lean any body part on the records, nor will they rest any personal effects on the records, including note-taking materials.
    7. Patrons will remove folders from the boxes before looking through them and will leave the records flat on the tables
    8. Patrons must maintain the original order of the records they are using.
    9. No records in official PARC custody shall be removed from the reading room.
    10. Fees will be charged for copies of materials and printouts from the computer database. Some materials can not be copied due to condition.
    11. Unless express permission is given, photocopies will be made by PARC staff.
    12. When required, patrons will be given gloves to wear while using materials.
    13. Patrons must notify the staff when their work is completed.
    14. No public records in the official custody of the City of Portland will be loaned for use outside PARC.
    15. In order to reference public records that are exempt from disclosure, patrons will obtain written permission from the city agency (or its successor) which placed the public records in the official custody of PARC.
    16. Please be advised that some material may be copyright protected. It is your responsibility to abide by copyright law.

Section 2: Research

PARC staff provides reference service free of charge. However, PARC staff does not perform research for members of the public or city employees. Research is defined as an in-depth inquiry which requires an interpretation of the information. Reference services include:

  1. a reference interview to determine the extent of the research question;
  2. an initial review of the research question in order to determine the extent of potential records meeting the required parameters;
  3. working with the researcher on-site to identify and provide access to specific records;
  4. making copies of records (see Section 3 for additional information) at the request of the researcher;
  5. providing referrals for records with other institutions; and
  6. providing answers to "quick reference" questions, defined as questions that require less than 15 minutes of staff time and do not require staff interpreting the information.

Section 3: Reproductions

Due to the fragile nature of many historical records, some requests for paper or scanned copies may be denied. In these situations, alternative methods for obtaining a copy may be available. Duplication fees are set by the Auditor's office.