Planning in Portland & the Region

Archival collections and oral histories related to urban planning and land use in Portland and the Northwest. These include the papers of key Portland and Northwest area planners, Portland State University scholars, and activists.

Ernie Bonner came to Portland in 1973 and served as the city’s planning chief. He also served as a METRO councilor, as president of Sunlight Energy Systems, as a distributor of solar equipment, and then as energy conservation manager for the Bonneville Power Administration. More recently, he served on the Portland Planning Commission.  The Ernie Bonner Papers includes notes, clippings, and reports concerning housing, waterfront development, the downtown Park Blocks, the east bank of the Willamette River, city hall, Portland Development Commission projects, and other documents relevant to Portland planning policies and history. The Ernie Bonner Oral History Collection includes 80 oral histories, interviews and speeches completed or collected by Bonner for the Planning Portland in the Seventies project.

The Citizens Interested in Bull Run, Inc. (CIIBRI) records are composed largely of advocacy memos, reports, research data, public hearing minutes, trial records, and legislature related to various effort to preserve the Bull Run and Little Sandy watersheds.

These papers document Elsa Coleman’s career as a citizen activist and public servant, including her work with the citizen’s group Sensible Transportation Options for People (STOP), which was committed to preventing the Mt. Hood Freeway proposed to run through the center of Southeast Portland.  She also played significant roles in the development of Pioneer Square, the Portland Transit Mall, the Portland Downtown Plan, and was named Woman of the Year by the Women in Transportation council of Portland in 1994.  Her papers also cover her work with the Tri-Met Board of Directors and the Portland Department of Transportation (PDOT).

Records from Dr. Nohad A. Toulan, who served as the first dean of the College of Urban and Public Affairs at Portland State University (1976-2004), spanning from his arrival at PSU in 1972 through the 2000s. The contents include extensive records from Toulan’s tenure as dean of CUPA, including correspondence, publications, meeting minutes, course descriptions, urban planning materials, and program information.

Research material used by Carl Abbott to write the book Planning a New West: The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The book was co-authored by Margery Post Abbott and Sy Adler.  The material in this collection consists largely of reports, economic data, newspaper clippings, interview notes, journal articles, and publications concerning the Columbia River Gorge generally and the proposal and implementation of Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area specifically.

Materials from 1974 to 2003 documenting Jim Knight’s long career with the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD).  Knight was involved with drafting the Statewide Planning Goals and with preparing and submitting the state’s application for certification under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act.  Knight was also one of the DLCD’s first field representatives to the Columbia Gorge, Portland Metro, and Willamette Valley regions.

Materials representing Niven’s career in public planning in Eugene, Oregon, including her service on the Eugene Planning Commission from 1959 to 1973.  Niven was noted for her encouragement of citizen involvement in the planning process.  In 2000, the Eugene City Club named her “the Mother of Modern Planning in Eugene” while the city of Eugene named a street for her in front of a new low-income housing complex.

Materials used by PSU Professor Sy Adler to write the book Oregon Plans: The Making of an Unquiet Land-Use Revolution.  The materials pertain to the development of Oregon’s land-use planning laws and implementation, with a majority of documents created between 1970-1980 and gathered by Adler.  The collection contains correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, and newspaper clippings referenced in the book.  Please consult Professor Adler’s publication for more information on the origins of the materials contained in this collection.

Documents and print materials relating to the Committee on City-County Consolidation, a failed merger of the Portland metropolitan area with Multnomah County in 1974 which predated the formation of Metro.

Materials accumulated by Sharpe in his capacity as an urban planner in Oregon and Washington.

“People and the Land” is a collaboration between the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development and Portland State University. The goal of this project is to document and preserve a record of Oregon’s unique land use program through personal oral histories.