The Northwest Wing: Presidential and political visits to Multnomah County in the 20th Century


On January 20, 2021, Joe Biden took the oath of office to become the 46th President of the United States. His inauguration followed more than a year of stumping on the campaign trail. Aside from attending a private fundraiser in Portland in the the fall of 2019, he did not visit Oregon. We'll cut him a break. COVID certainly put a damper on political glad-handing in 2020. Rarely was the word "hand" mentioned without its partner: "sanitizer."

While Biden did not call on our fair County, a number of other successful (and otherwise) politicians have done so throughout the years. On the occasion of a newly appointed U.S. president, we take this opportunity to reach into our archives to highlight not only these events, but also to bring attention to the variety of records and formats we have that document them.

There are 2,808 road miles that separate the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. from Multnomah County headquarters on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard. Seventy three years separate the first records in this exhibit from today. Nevertheless, the documents and images here suggest that we are closer to our past than we realize.

Choose your own adventure! Select a topic in the list of exhibition sections to be taken to a specific event. View an archival video or gallery of exhibition items. Or start at the beginning. It's a very good place to start.

President Johnson Arrives in Portland

Film footage documenting President Lyndon Johnson’s visit to Portland on September 17,1964. Most of the film is devoted to crowd scenes, sheriff’s deputies and their cars and motorcycles, and the airport itself.

Goldwater Visits Portland

Film footage documenting the visit of Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater to Portland on October 10, 1964. The movie shows a variety of scenes from Portland International Airport and at the exposition center during Goldwater's speech.

Daisy Ad (1964)

Formally titled "Peace, Little Girl," but more commonly known as the "Daisy" ad, this famous political commercial was produced primarily by Tony Schwartz for President Lyndon B. Johnson's 1964 campaign against Barry Goldwater.