Oregon Historical Society details its gains for Multnomah County Board of Commissioners
The Oregon Historical Society Levy Oversight Committee delivered a report Tuesday to the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners that outlined the many gains achieved since county voters approved the five-year levy.
The charge of the committee, appointed in April 2011, is to ensure that the Oregon Historical Society (OHS) delivers on promises made to voters when they passed Measure 26-118 in 2010 – the levy in support of OHS.
The committee is obligated to make an annual report to the Board of County Commissioners on the status of its work and the progress of OHS. This first report was delivered June 19 to county commissioners by committee co-chairs Senator Avel Gordly and Nichole Maher.
“It’s no secret that the Oregon Historical Society was drowning in the fall of 2010,” Oregon Historical Society executive director Kerry Tymchuk said. “The life raft thrown to us by Multnomah County residents has enabled us to survive and grow and prosper.”
Among the gains reported to the board from the levy:
- OHS now provides free admission to residents of Multnomah County and all Oregon school groups.
- Museum hours have remained 40 hours per week during the winter and spring, but grown to 47 hours per week during the summer.
- Library hours have grown to 32 hours per week from 12 hours a week.
- In the first five months of 2012, OHS held 42 public events — 29 more than the 13 events held in the same time frame one year ago.
- Museum admission numbers for Multnomah County residents grew between July 1, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2011 to 7,868 — up 68 percent from the same time frame in 2010. From January 2012 through April 2012, admission rates for county residents increased 22 percent to 5,650 from the same time period the previous year.
- Four east Multnomah County historical societies who received levy funding — Crown Point Country Historical Society, Fairview-Rockwood-Wilkes Historical Society, Gresham Historical Society, and the Troutdale Historical Society — have worked to expand their collections and accessibility to the public.
- The committee reported successful efforts to improve Oregon Historical Society accessibility to school groups, and ongoing dialogue around ways to ensure that every Oregonian's history is told.
Commissioner Deborah Kafoury said she could attest to those gains after hearing from her son about the great visit his class had this year to the historical society’s downtown Portland museum.
“He just came back so excited about how great it was,” Kafoury said.
Among the many upcoming events at the Oregon Historical Society (1200 S.W. Park Ave., Portland) is a talk and book signing at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 27 by the authors of "Multnomah: The Tumultuous Story of Oregon's Most Populous County."
Co-authors Jewel Lansing and Fred Leeson will be available to discuss their book, which details Multnomah County’s history since 1854.