Org. Lot 151.A
Name and location of repository
Level of description
Negatives by Subject
- 1880 - 1943 (Creation)
303 glass negatives; 277 cellulose nitrate negatives; 3 safety film negatives
Name of creator
Portland General Electric Company was founded as Willamette Electric Company in 1888 by Edward L. Eastham and Parker F. Morey. Beginning with a hydro-electric generating plant on Willamette Falls, Station A, the company grew quickly. It acquired many of the other electrical interests in the Oregon City area and in 1892 it was reorganized as Portland General Electric. Between 1892 and 1906, PGE acquired many other small electrical utilities and electric railroads, growing its holdings rapidly.
In 1906, the company once again reorganized itself as Portland Railway Light & Power Company. It operated several electric streetcar lines, including an extensive system in the city of Portland. Ridership fell in the late 1920s and the company again reorganized itself into Portland Electric Power Company (PEPCO), with two subsidiaries: Portland General Electric as the electric utility and Portland Traction Company as the railroad. PEPCO went into bankruptcy in 1939, ultimately selling all of its railroad holdings to the Portland Transit Company in 1946 and reorganizing one final time into Portland General Electric (PGE) in 1948. It was bought by Enron in 1997 but as of 2006 PGE is independent.
PGE built many power generating plants in both Oregon and Washington. These plants were primarily hydro-electric, but they also built several steam plants, a gas plants, a coal-fired plant and a nuclear power plant
Content and structure elements
Scope and content
Negatives documenting company activities, including electrical infrastructure, employees, power generation and distribution throughout Portland, the Willamette Valley and the Oregon Cascade Range. Additional general images include streetcars and trains, street lighting, power line installation, Rose Festival floats, office buildings, car barns and bridges. Of particular note are dam building projects at Bull Run and along the Clackamas River (1910-1930), and early electric stations in Oregon City at Willamette Falls.
System of arrangement
The negatives in Series A are arranged by original numbers assigned by PGE based on subject.
Conditions of access and use elements
Conditions governing access
Due to the high-risk nature of the format, the Portland General Electric negatives are not available to the public for physical access.