What is The Portland That Was?

The Portland That Was is a web based self guided tour of historic Portland using mobile videos.

What is a mobile video?

Mobile videos are short videos we created specifically for you to watch elsewhere. They are all in the 3 to 4 minute range for easy downloading.

I've downloaded the videos. Now what do I do?

Take the map we have provided, and your portable viewing device, and step out the door.

Why should I do this?

We created each mobile video to be watched at a specific location in Portland that relates to it. For example, the Pioneer Courthouse Square is matched to the mobile video of George Olsen. If you go there to watch George Olsen and His Orchestra, you will be at the site of the former Hotel Portland where the band was playing when they were discovered and taken to stardom in in New York.

George who?

Our mobile video includes Thomas Lauderdale providing his own comments about George Olsen and fickle nature of pop fame.

Are all the videos about forgotten people?

We think they're about forgotten Portland. If you watch The Screwdriver, an early Woody Woodpecker cartoon, in Lincoln Hall at PSU, you'll be hearing the famous Woody Woodpecker laugh while standing in the exact building where voice artist Mel Blanc first invented it. What is forgotten is that Lincoln Hall is the old Lincoln High School. John Callahan provides commentary on our mobile video.

What if I don't have a portable video player?

You can also watch The Portland That Was sitting at your home computer, or at the library.

I'm Still confused.

Email us your questions to We'd be happy to answer them.