Provisional and Territorial Records Guide
Multnomah County History and Records
Multnomah County was created on December 22, 1854. It was the thirteenth county created in Oregon Territory. The land was taken from the eastern portion of Washington County and the northern part of Clackamas County. The borders have remained relatively unchanged to the present.
The county was named after the Multnomah Indians who were part of the Chinookan tribe that lived on the eastern tip of what is now Sauvie Island. The city of Portland was chartered in 1851 and was made the county seat in 1854. Portland was the commercial and industrial center of Oregon.
Multnomah County was created when the people living in Portland found it difficult to travel to Hillsboro to conduct business at the county seat of Washington County. They also thought that they were paying too much in taxes to support the farmers in the rural areas surrounding Portland. In 1854, Portland businessmen petitioned the legislative assembly for a new county and Multnomah County was created at the subsequent session. The Multnomah County Commissioners met for the first time on January 17, 1855.
Multnomah County is the smallest county in Oregon, with only 465 square miles, but it is the largest in total population with a population of over five hundred thousand. Multnomah County is a very diverse county with Portland in the west and the Columbia Gorge and Mt. Hood in the east. Most of the eastern portion of the county is covered with timber and is sparsely populated.
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Series used to document county population and to report statistics to the territorial government. Census rolls show resident's name, number of legal voters, adult males and females, males aged 10 to 21, females aged 10 to 18, and males and females under age 10; totals; census date; and census taker's certification. Series is not arranged.
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Series used to provide access to the deed record. Entries show grantor's name, grantee's name, book number or letter, and page number. Series is arranged alphabetically by grantor's or grantee's name.
2.0 cubic feet
Series documents the probate of estates, and the administration of insanity and juvenile guardianships. Records include administrator's bonds, vouchers, petitions, estate inventories, property appraisals, receipts, correspondence, estate account ledgers, letters of administration, and bills of sale. Series is arranged numerically by case number.
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Series documents the collection of assessed taxes. Tax roll entries show taxpayer's name, poll tax owed, county tax owed, school tax owed, territorial tax owed, and total tax owed. Some years also include paid notations. Series is not arranged.