Portland History, Architecture + Urban Development

Taught by John Doyle, M.A.

From its tenuous and humble beginnings as a frontier outpost on the western fringe of the continent to its current status as media darling and the most popular city in America to relocate to Portland has had a colorful, varied and often tumultuous history. This course will examine various aspects of that rich history.

Week 1 (June 8): Founders, Fortunes and Sometimes Fraud. Learn about the men and women who carved this city out of a heavily wooded flood plain on the banks of the Willamette .  What were their goals and aspirations and how did they go about securing the material wealth that turned their early vision into a successful and thriving city?

Week 2 (June 15):  Field trip! Wood, Cast Iron, Stone and Steel. Portland possesses a rich architectural heritage. This class will examine its development from the first generation of wood structures along Front St., through the cast iron building boom of the 1860s and 70s, to the massive stone and brick structures of the Richardsonian Romanesque and beyond. A variety of 19th century revival styles and Portland's cutting edge  leadership in 20th century Modernism will be thoroughly examined as well.

Week 3 (June 22):  The Other Portlanders. This session will focus on the often underreported contributions of Portland communities outside the demographic majority. Women, African, Asian, and Native Americans, immigrants from Ireland, Italy, Germany, Scandinavia et al, Queers, genderbenders and counter culture freaks will all be on the table, and we can't leave out our rich Jewish and Muslim American heritage either.

Week 4 (June 29): How Many Urban Planners Does It Take To Build A City?  Why does Portland look the way it does? What is up with the bend of the streets north of Burnside, our tiny square blocks, narrow downtown streets and Ladds Addition?  Street Cars, Bridges, Railroads, Freeways, Bike Lanes and Aerial Trams will all be in play for our last class in the series.