Oregon Institute of Technology

Portland, Oregon

1897-1969

E-Travel

The 1935 Tech Echoes yearbook is available online.  I have purchased the 1948 Tillicum yearbook from Multnomah College.  The Oregonian covered school news.  The 1920 ad (right) is from Better Fruit.

History

When the Young Men’s Christian Association of Portland began night classes in 1897, “but one person in 10 finishes a primary education; but in one in 120 finishes a high school education, and but one in 1500 finishes a university or technical course of studies.”  That year the YMCA began offering 10 to 15 classes each night, ranging from elementary classes in arithmetic and spelling to advanced classes in algebra and bookkeeping.  236 men 2who held day jobs attended originally.  Some enrolled in classes to prepare for high school or college; many wanted classes to help them advance in their jobs or to prepare them for new jobs. 

 

By 1910 when the YMCA moved to its new building, more than 1400 students were attending classes, By 1913 these included women.  During World War I YMCA classes trained electrical and mechanical engineers, shipbuilders, telegraphers, radio technologists, and bookkeepers---in addition to preparing students for college and addressing illiteracy.  In 1920 all of the YMCA educational endeavors were organized into a degree granting Oregon Institute of Technology.

 

In 1931 a junior college of liberal arts was founded.  The 1935 Tech Echoes shows a student body of 52 in the junior college and the four-year college of engineering.  Students had one sorority and two fraternities to provide a social life.  They published a yearbook and a newsletter.  The Kollege Klash and Homecoming provided school dances.

 

In 1937 the junior college was separated from the technical schools and was re-chartered as Multnomah College.  But after World War II, the remaining schools of the Oregon Institute of Technology were merged into Multnomah College.  The 1948 Tillicum shows a school of more than 200 students in Engineering, Business, Liberal Arts, and Science. 

 

By the late 1960’s, the school determined that the specific educational needs that it had been created to fulfill were now being met by the community colleges.  So in 1969, Multnomah College merged with the University of Portland.  

Bricks and Mortar

Classes began in the YMCA building at the corner of 4th and Yamhill streets.  In 1907 the YMCA and YWCA together purchased a half block of land in the downtown area.  The YMCA acquired the portion measuring 140 feet on Taylor Street and 100 feet on 6th Street.  The cornerstone for an eight-story brick building was laid on December 4, 1908.  The upper four floors were a hotel/dormitory with 172 rooms and a capacity of 225-250 residents.  Revenue from these rooms helped defray operating costs for the building.  The basement contained a cafeteria along with laboratories and shops for industrial classes. With an emphasis on physical exercises, the building also contained two gymnasiums with a 21-laps-to-the-mile running track, a handball court, and a swimming pool.  The building also contained a seven-table billiards room, a parlor, a reading room, and an auditorium.  Rooms for religious organizations were located on the third floor and classrooms were on the fourth floor.

 

This building became home for the Oregon Institute of Technology Junior College and later Multnomah College.  After 1972 it sat empty until it was razed in 1977.

Sports

Oregon Tech attempted to play football for three seasons 1935-37.  With small numbers, the Techmen or Technicians, had little success.  Among such opponents as Pacific (now George Fox), Albany (now Lewis and Clark), Pacific Lutheran, Oregon Normal (now Western Oregon), Eastern Oregon Normal, Oregon Tech managed only one victory—a 45-6 thrashing of Pacific in 1936.

 

Basketball teams from Oregon Tech were active in local Portland city leagues from 1920.  Teams from the college prep division played against local high schools. Tech Echoes shows the junior college baseball and basketball teams playing in the Willamette Valley Conference  in 1934.  Opponents included Pacific, Albany, North Pacific Dental and Concordia of Portland.  A later rendition of the conference included competition in tennis, track, and swimming.  Oregon Tech entered a ski team in a meet at Mt. Hood in 1936.

The 1948 Multnomah College baseball team.  Image from the Tillicum.

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