Between 1980 and 1984, the City of Portland conducted a citywide survey of potentially historic resources that culminated in an inventory of 5,000 documented places. The Historic Resource Inventory (HRI) included residences, warehouses, statues, historic sites, factories, commercial buildings, and even trees. The property-by-property documentation was initially contained in 26 three-ring binders, with the original set housed at the State Historic Preservation Office and copies available at the City Archives and Records Center, Oregon Historical Society, and Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.
This past spring and summer, two interns from Portland State University and University of Oregon digitized the City’s inventory records, reconciled changes that have occurred since 1984, and integrated up-to-date HRI data into BPS’ historic resources webmap. The project included a review of all 5,000 HRI records to ensure the accuracy of City data regarding historic significance rankings, demolitions, and property location. All photographs from the 1984 effort were scanned and cropped to be used in future historic resources documentation efforts.
Although photographs were taken of nearly all of 5,000 HRI properties, 250 of the most interesting images representing the breadth and depth of the 1984 effort were set aside to be shared on the Instagram account Portland1984 over the course of the coming year. The images capture a snapshot of a moment in Portland’s past and provide inspiration about how historic resources can contribute to Portland’s future. Instagram users are encouraged to interact with the posts, sharing memories and ideas for how historic places might be used in the coming years.
Digitization of the 1984 HRI records is one of several concurrent efforts underway to prepare for an eventual update to the citywide inventory of significant historic resources. Additional background on possible next steps for updating the inventory will be posted to the Historic Resources and Preservation page in October, but in the meantime check out Portland1984 Instagram!