from the History Center collection may be viewed by clicking on the links below:
Why Oregon's bridges were painted green:
'Mr. G.W. Harra, Head of the Testing Lab, tells me that in the Mid 1930s at the instigation of Mr. C.B. McCulllough, a search was made for a more pleasing color than the "dead black" which had been used. It seems that Mr. McCullough wished to use a more lively color in painting some of the coast bridges.' (excerpt from a letter from Floyd Query, Secretary for the State Highway Commission, to Mr. Lloyd Shaw, Asst. State Highway Engr., March 16, 1964).
To see some historic bridge photos, click on the link below.
To find out more about Oregon's historic bridges, go to Oregon's Historic Bridge Field Guide, published by the ODOT Bridge Engineering Section in 2013. This is a very large file, and can take quite a long time to load.
Covered bridges in Oregon were sometimes referred to as Roofs Over Rivers. Only a small handful of Oregon's covered bridges still exist.
Photos of covered bridges can be found in the historic bridge guide (link above).
In 1931 Oregon's first class of driver examiners went to work. This group, and many of those that followed, was all male. It would be several years before the first female driver examiner went to work for Oregon DMV. In the early days all driving examiners were required to wear uniforms. Later, while the women still had uniforms, the men were allowed to wear dark slacks and dress shirts. Finally the uniform requirement was dropped for both sexes and all examiners were simply required to dress neatly. Many Oregon driving examiners carried a badge to identify them while they were on the job.
Original historic license plates, records, correspondence and photographs are stored at the DMV, 1905 Lana Ave, Salem, Oregon.
Click on the following links to view images of the following items:
'When the highway system was first designated, there were a considerable number of ferries, some of which were operated by the counties on a free ferry basis and others operated by private parties as toll ferries. The Highway Commission took over all of these ferries on the system. Until such time as the bridges could be built, the ferries were operated as free ferries. There were originally six ferries on the Oregon Coast Highway. These were replaced with bridges in 1932 and 1935 at a total cost of $5,900,000. We have found that ferries are, at best, a very unsatisfactory arrangement.' (excerpt from a letter from R.H. Baldock, State Highway Engineer, dated November 6, 1945).
To view historic ferry photos, click on the link below.
To view a map of automobile ferry routes, as they appeared in 1935, click on the link below: Map of Ferry Routes, 1935
'The first building constructed in 1918 on the Penitentiary Brick Yard site proving inadequate and also the storage space adjacent too small in area, arrangements were made with the Warden of the Penitentiary and the Board of Control whereby the penitentiary relinquished the entire brick yard site, removing it to a plot of ground directly east on the condition that the department pay for the cost of extending the spur track and the necessary materials to put the new grounds in shape.
In February, 1919, Congress passed a bill which authorized the Secretary of War to transfer to the Secretary of Agriculture all available war materials, equipment and supplies not needed for the purpose of the War Department but suitable for use in the improvement of highways and provided that the same be distributed among the Highway Departments of several states.' (excerpt from the Fourth Biennial Report of the Oregon State Highway Commission, 1919-1920).
Click on the following link to view images of highway equipment.
"Interviews are the most common method of selection", says Gene Huntley, personnel director for the Oregon State Highway Department and author of this article. And he has a few suggestions:
"As soon as possible, relax and be yourself. You should have neither the attitude of fawning and scraping, nor of cockiness. Show confidence, but do not brag. If you have been in trouble with some other employer, discuss it openly. The personnel man is not a tyrant, and if there are other factors in your favor, you still may get a job. At any rate he will probably find out about it later anyway." (excerpt from Western Construction,
Vol. 28, No. 12, December 1953).
Click on the following link to see historic photos of some employees:
'Multnomah County had the best system of gravel and macadam roads in the Northwest until recently, but the increased use of that comparatively new means of conveyance, the automobile and auto truck, weaving back and forth like shuttles in a loom, caused their rapid deterioration, and it became apparent to those in authority that new methods must be used in road construction and maintenance if these roads were to be able to resist the pounding and grinding which this ever-increasing traffic puts upon them.' (excerpt from the First Annual Report of the State Highway Engineer
to the Honorable State Highway Commission of Oregon, 1914).
To view historic photos of road construction, click on the link below.
To view historic photos of tunnels, click on the link below.
Historical Photographic Negatives at Oregon State Archives
The following is an index of photo negatives sent from the Department to Oregon State Archives in the late-1970s for permanent storage: Oregon State Archives Historical Photo Negatives
If you wish to obtain a copy of a photo, contact them at:
Oregon State Archives
800 Summer St. NE
Salem, OR 97310
Fax: 503-378-4118 firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit the home page at: Oregon State Archives Home Page