Oral Histories

Graphic for City of Portland Archives oral history program. On left is former City Commission Mike Lindberg speaking while being interviewed with his name in title in the forefront of his image. Orange text on right reads, "Oral Histories." A transcript of an oral history interview is on the bottom right.
Oral Histories included here gather and preserve stories documenting Portland's City government.

The Archives and Records Management Division of the City Auditor’s Office operates the City of Portland Archives and Records Center, making city administrative and historical records accessible to the public and City employees. The Archives started the oral history program in 2022, with the goal to gather and preserve stories documenting the projects, activities, and policy decisions made by City government. We aim to amplify diverse experiences through conversations with current and past City employees, as well people within the community.

The Portland Archives and Records Center Oral History Program is pleased to present our first oral history with former elected official and city employee, Mike Lindberg. Lindberg has a long history of serving the city of Portland and his community and we are honored that he agreed to serve as our inaugural interviewee.

Click here to view the entire interview and transcript.

Mike Lindberg grew up in Astoria, OR and graduated from the University of Oregon in 1964. From 1973-79, he was Director of Public Works and subsequently Director of Planning and Development for the City of Portland. Mike served on the Portland City Council from 1979 until 1997. Some of the achievements of those years included managing the following:

City Commissioner Mike Lindberg in a suit at City Hall in a black and white headshot for city government
Commissioner Mike Lindberg, 1995
  • The Convention Center and Performing Arts Center, including the creation of the Metropolitan Exposition Recreation Commission, which included being the city’s negotiator (along with Mayor Bud Clark) for the construction of the Rose Garden Arena
  • Parks and Recreation Bureau, leading the effort to build Pioneer Square and passing the first parks levy in 40 years
  • Environmental Services Bureau, negotiating a complex clean-up plan for the Willamette River with the Environmental Quality Commission
  • Arts and Culture Commissioner, later becoming chair of the Oregon Arts Commission and winning the Governor’s Arts Award for the person in public service doing the most for the arts
  • Emergency Management, leading the city’s efforts to respond to the Mt. St. Helen’s volcanic eruption and the largest ice storm in 50 years
  • Water Bureau, launching the initial water conservation programs and managing the city through the largest drought in 100 years and obtaining federal legislation banning logging in the Bull Run Watershed

The interview with Mike Lindberg took place at the Portland Archives and Records Center on July 26, 2022, and was conducted by Morgen Young, Senior Historian with Historical Research Associates, Inc.