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The City of Portland, Oregon

Community & Civic Life

Promote the common good

Main: 503-823-4519

City/County Info: 503-823-4000

TDD: 503-823-6868

1120 SW 5th Ave, Suite 114, Portland, OR 97204

History and Related Documents

  • Dawson Park Gazebo Beautiful dome salvaged from Hill Building which once stood as the cornerstone of Ablina, now serves as historical reminder.

  • Marquam Bridge off-ramp to nowhere Plans for Mt Hood Freeway stopped short because of neighborhood activism

  • Streetcar Old and New Photo of New and Old Streetcars under the 405 overpass in NW Portland

Portland's neighborhood system and commitment to public participation has been nationally recognized for many years.  This page contains the beginning of a collection of electronic documentation of Portland's 35+-year history in the evolution of its Neighborhood Association and public participation system.

City Code and ONI Guidelines:
History of Portland's Neighborhood System:
Dr. Carl Abbott wrote the best description of the origins of Portland's Neighborhood System in his 1983 book Portland: Planning, Politics, and Growth in a Twentieth-Century City:

Dr. Matt Witt's 2000 PSU Ph.D. dissertation ("Dialectics of Control: The Origins and Evolution of Conflict in Portland's Neigborhood Association Program") includes the most complete history available of the evolution of Portland's neighborhood system from 1974 to 1998--its fascinating! The chapters that tell the story of the neighborhood system include:

The League of Women Voters of Portland studied Portland's neighborhood system in the mid-2000s. As part of this effort, the League prepared a short history of Portland's neighborhood system through 2005.

The categories on this page serve as a sort of index to the different types of documents available here including budget related documents, documents particular to the evolution of the city code governing the system as well as academic studies and a guide put together to help individuals interested in putting together their own neighborhood's history.

Academic papers

A collection of research on Portland's neighborhood system and Office of Neighborhood Involvement. This is just an initial listing and will grow over time.

Citywide Community Gatherings

Information and summaries on Citywide Community Gatherings, including past Neighborhood Association Summits.

ONA/ONI Leadership History - 1973-2013

Chart showing terms of service of Portland Mayors, ONA/ONI Commissioners in Charge, and ONA/ONI Directors 1973-2013

Primer for Neighborhood Historians

A guide to starting your own neighborhood history. Created in the early 80's as part of the Portland Neighborhood History Project.

1980's documents

Historical documents archiving the bureau and neighborhood system in the 1980's.