Pacific University Archives

Washington County Oral Histories Collection Edit


MS 117


  • 1937-2017 (Creation)


  • 2000 Gigabytes (Whole)

Agent Links



  • Historical Note

    Libraries, museums and other cultural institutions in Washington County, Oregon, began collecting oral histories in the 1960s, eventually amassing hundreds of recordings. In 2017, Pacific University led an LSTA grant-funded project to digitize, preserve, describe and provide centralized online access to the oral histories that had been collected up to that time. About half of the oral histories were contributed by the Washington County Museum, which held oral histories that were both created in-house and donated to them by other area organizations such as Centro Cultural. Other contributing institutions include Pacific University, Beaverton Historical Society, Cedar Mill Historical Society, Cedar Mill Library, Forest Grove City Library, Friends of Historic Forest Grove, Sherwood Historical Society, Tigard Historical Association, Tigard Public Library, Tualatin Historical Society, Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, and the 8th Air Force Historical Society Oregon Chapter .

  • Scope and Contents

    The collection includes over 900 digitized oral history recordings, most of which are related to the history of Washington County, Oregon. Common topics include the local history of towns such as Forest Grove, Hillsboro, Beaverton, Tualatin, Sherwood and others; the history of industries including lumber, high technology (the "Silicon Forest") and agriculture (specifically berries, orchards, onions and hops); transportation changes including roads and railroads; personal experiences during wars; experiences and stories about ethnic groups including Latino farm workers, Japanese, Chinese and Native Americans; stories of prominent families; memories passed down of 19th century pioneer times; schools; police services; health services; libraries; and other topics. The bulk of the recordings were made between 1975-2017, though a few date back to earlier decades. The recordings are in digital audio, video and text (transcript) formats. Uncompressed copies are kept on a digital preservation platform, while compressed versions are available online for public access. The original recordings, which were in formats such as audiocassette, VHS, DVD and paper transcripts, were returned to their original contributing institutions after digitization.

  • Abstract

    This collection includes over 900 digitized oral histories that were contributed by cultural institutions in Washington County, Oregon. They cover topics including local history of towns in the county, local industries and agriculture, roads, railroads, the history of prominent families and pioneer times, experiences and stories about ethnic and racial groups, wars and veterans, schools, police, health services, and other topics.

  • Accruals

    Accruals are expected.

  • Conditions Governing Access

    Nearly all of the collection is open for research. Two oral histories are redacted to protect sensitive information related to Native American grave sites.

  • Conditions Governing Use

  • Preferred Citation

  • Language of Materials

    Collection is in English and Spanish.