Search billions of records on

Home Up Resources

horizontal rule

City Directories
Ethnic Groups
Vital Records



These pages are Copyright 2001-2007, by Julie Kidd, all rights reserved. 


Please report any broken links, or other concerns, to the webmaster.

 Please respect copyright on and off the Internet.



<-- return to prior section



Portland*s City Attorney, appointed by Council, is the legal representative of the city. The office gives legal advice to municipal officers, departments, and boards. It represents the city in all legal actions in which the city is directly or indirectly involved. The City Attorney represents the City of Portland during sessions of the state legislature. The City Attorney or a deputy attends all sessions of the City Council.

The earliest records transferred from the City Attorney*s office are in the legal case files dating from 1894. Prior to that time communications from the city attorney are found in Council Documents Series I (200111).

The City Attorneys of Portland from 1894 through 1981 are as follows: R. R. Giltner, 18941896; William M. Cake, 18961898; Joel M. Young, 18981902; Lawrence A. McNary, 19021907; John P. Kavanaugh, 19071910; Frank S. Grant, 19101913 and 19211938; Walter P. LaRoche, 19131920; John E. Young, 19201921; Lyman E. Latourette, 19381947; Alexander G. Brown, 19471968; Marian C. Rushing, 19681973; Clifford N. Carlsen, Jr., 1973; John W. Osburn, 19731977; Robert L. Hurtig, 1977; and Christopher P. Thomas, 1977 present.


1895 1922
1.5 c.f.

Letters sent and received. Arranged chronologically.

horizontal rule


Legal Interpretations


1913 1948
2.5 c.f.

Legal interpretations of the reasons and principles of laws and ordinances and the application of the laws on which a legal decision is based. Arranged chronologically. This series also contains some correspondence.

Index to City Attorney*s Opinions

1902 1972

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

horizontal rule


City Litigation

Legal Case Files

1894 1978
70.0 c.f.

Case files for all suits involving the City of Portland. Materials include correspondence, court papers, briefs, petitions, ordinances, pleadings, judgment orders, summons, appeals, answers, complaints, demurs, affidavits, trial memoranda, investigations, exhibits, newspaper clippings, photographs, and legal descriptions.

The majority of case files are arranged by case file number and indexed by name of litigant in series 160203. An annual summary of court work handled by the City Attorney for the years 1896 through 1921 is included in the Mayor*s Annual Message (020001)

The Council Documents series (2001 11 through 200114) include legal cases and correspondence, filed by subject within the relevant year.

In the years between 1896 and the late 1950s, suits instituted against the city concerned collection of assessments for the improvement of streets, the Curative Act which gave the city power to collect assessments against property owners f or the repair of elevated roadways, street widening, and sewer improvements and extensions. Also in this time period a number of suits concern civil service complaints, annexations and city incorporation procedures, claims against the Police Disability Board, and prohibition violations.

During the 1960s and 1970s, there are cases relating to civil rights, charges of police brutality and false arrest, violence against the police, the Black Panthers, licensing denials to massage parlors, prostitution, censorship, and antitrust action.

A sub-series of City Attorney*s case Files, referred to as Utilities Files, consists of briefs, correspondence, and transcripts of hearings before the Public Utility Commissioner. Issues involved include rates, tariff suspensions and revisions, and suits concerning Oregon utilities. The sub-series is arranged by utilities file number. Other cases filed out of the case number sequence include Rose City Transit Pension and Franchise Cases, 19651975; American Pipe and Construction Anti-Trust case, 19661969; Public Market Company, 19331944; Standard Oil of California Asphalt case, 19511973; Roto-Rooter Service Case, 19731975; Portland General Electric Streetlight Installations, 19551959; Willamette Heights Neighborhood Association, 19691971; and Public Dock Commission, 1913. A listing of case titles for utilities files and other cases not included in the case numbering system is available.

Index to City Attorney*s case Files

1894 1979

The index is arranged alphabetically by case name. Each card includes the case name and, in some instances, a subject listing.

Claims Committee Records

1970 1971
1.0 c.f.

Claims forms filed for claims against the city, with materials related to their investigation and settlement. The claims form includes name, address, and telephone number of claimant, and nature of property damage.

horizontal rule


Zoning Review

Zoning cases

1973 1976
2.0 c.f.

Reports, transcripts, briefs, and correspondence pertaining chiefly to the Forest Park Estates case heard before the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission

horizontal rule



Franchise Files

1908 1962
2.0 c.f.

Ordinances with accompanying correspondence concerning franchises granted by the City of Portland. Arranged alphabetically by name of franchise.

Title Insurance Policies

1929 1949
1.5 c.f.

Insurance against loss due to an unknown defect in a title or interest in real estate. Arranged alphabetically by addition name.

Federal Emergency Administration Loan Applications

1933 1935
1.5 c.f.

The Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works was created by the National Industrial Recovery Act in 1933. The act was intended to

reduce unemployment and conserve natural resources. Eligible projects for funding included improvement of highways and highway structures, public facilities, harbor improvements, housing, water supply and similar public projects. There were two methods of financing projects by public bodies: purchase of bonds issued by the local agency, or by lease, with the United States government holding title until repayment through rental or other means.

Portland proposed projects included a replacement building for the Pioneer Courthouse site to house various cultural and civic activities, designed by Lawrence, Holford and Allyn. Commissioner Ormond R. Bean and Senator McNary were involved in negotiations to fund Portland projects.

continue to next section -->

horizontal rule