[semester equivalent = 2.00 credits]



Peter Chausse



When William Overton and Asa Lovejoy paddled down the Willamette River in 1844, Overton decided that an open area called, ‘The Clearing’, would make a good town site. This was the beginning of Portland. Today, ‘The Clearing’ has been transformed into Tom McCall Waterfront Park, and Portland has become a beautiful, vibrant and diversified city. In this class, you will explore Portland’s colorful history, tracing its growth and development from a Wild West town containing dozens of saloons and brothels, to the more refined Portland of today. Along the way, you will examine the people and places that shaped this city and you will develop ways to make Portland’s history really come alive for your students.

Through a combination of historical readings, museum visits, and self-guided walks through downtown Portland, you will discover the city’s colorful past, examine the progression of architecture, urban parks, and historical landmarks. Most importantly, you’ll develop lots of ideas for teaching historical Portland to your K-12 students.

Working closely with you, the instructor will help design lessons for classroom use that will maximize student learning. The instructor can also show you how to implement fun and educational field trips that focus on the lives of Portland’s pioneers and their impact on our lives today.

The Co-Instructor for this course is Jake Gordon, M.S. Ed.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  1. How to teach Portland history, from its beginnings in the 1840’s up through the present.
  2. How to locate informative resources that will bring Portland’s past to life for students of all ages.
  3. How to lead informative class field trips that include visits to historical sites and landmarks.
  4. To enhance historical learning through museum and cemetery visits in Downtown Portland area.
  5. Dozens of ideas for integrating the study of historical Portland with other academic areas.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit.  The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit. 


Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participant’s their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering determine with your district personnel, department head, or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



2 books of your choice from the bibliography provided. Or similar texts with the instructor's prior approval. Course Materials obtained from the instructor.

None. All reading is online.


A comprehensive workbook that includes the required reading, field journal, and Driving Tour is available from the instructor.



Assignment #1: Read handout

  • Read the handout material provided.
  • Complete the assignments that correspond to the information packet material.

Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Portland’s History #1’.

Assignment #2: Read books of choice

  • Read any 2 books from the bibliography, or significant portions of any four books, with the instructor’s prior approval.
  • Complete the assignments for each book.

Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Portland’s History #2’.

Assignment #3: Museum visits

  • Visit any 3 of the museums listed in Appendix A. 
  • Complete the assignments related to each museum.

Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Portland’s History #3’.

Assignment #4: Walking tour

  • Take a walking tour of Downtown Portland following the guidelines specified in Appendix B.
  • Complete the assignment after your walk.

Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Portland’s History #4’.

Assignment #5: Internet search

  • Conduct an Internet search for 5 or more websites containing information on Portland’s history.
  • Create an annotated bibliography of the sites found.
  • The annotation should include Title, Author, URL, length of article, year of publication and your review of information contained. 
  • Include how these websites can be used with students to stimulate learning.

Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Portland’s History #5’.

Assignment #6: Field trip

  • Design and organize a school field trip for your students focusing on 1 or more aspects of Portland’s History.
  • The trip may include a museum or cemetery visit, or a walking tour of historic buildings and neighborhoods.
  • In a 1-2 page paper describe your objectives and describe how you will assess student learning.

Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Portland’s History #6’.

Assignment #7: Changes in recent history

  • Compare and contrast changes resulting from economic, cultural, or environmental factors, to analyze the recent history of Portland. 
  • Present your findings in any creative way you choose. Examples might be a PowerPoint presentation or slide show showing how economics has altered the population of your school and thereby affected the numbers, clientele, and social aspects of your student body. 
  • Or, perhaps your findings could be showcased in a timeline of photos and documentation displayed in your classroom or in the library.

Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Portland’s History #6’.



In this section you will apply your learning to your professional situation.  This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students.  If you are not teaching in a classroom, please contact the instructor for course modifications.  If you are a classroom teacher and start or need to complete this course during the summer, please try to apply your ideas when possible with youth from your neighborhood, at a local public library or parks department facility,  (they will often be glad to sponsor community-based learning), or with students in another teacher’s summer classroom in session.

Assignment #8: Create & teach lesson

Assignment #8-A:

  • Create two lessons or adapt existing ones to reflect what you’ve learned in this course.
  • Implement your lesson with students in your classroom.
  • Write a 250-500 word commentary on what worked well and what could be improved.
  • Include any student feedback on your lesson.
  • Share what you’ve learned with other teachers taking our courses by also contributing your Lesson to The Heritage Institute Lesson Library here.
  • Send your modified lesson and your commentary via email to your instructor.
  • Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Portland’s History #8A’


Assignment #8-B:

Use this option if you do not have a classroom available.

  • Create two lessons or adapt existing ones to reflect what you’ve learned in this course. (Do not implement it.)
  • Share what you’ve learned with other teachers taking our courses by contributing your Lesson to The Heritage Institute Lesson Library here.
  • Write a 500+ word article concerning any noteworthy success you’ve had as a teacher with one or more students.
  • Please refer to the guidelines on our blog What Works: Teaching at its Best prior to writing your article.
  • When you submit your article to your instructor, please also email a copy to Renee Leon THI blog curator and media specialist.
  • Indicate whether or not you are OK with having your article considered for publishing on our website.  
  • Submit your modified lesson along with your article via email to your instructor.  
  • Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Portland’s History #8B’


Assignment #9: Guest speaker

Option A)

  • Invite a guest speaker to your classroom who can talk about some aspect of Portland’s History.
  • The speaker can make students more aware of local architecture, neighborhood history, early transportation choices, or any other aspect of history you feel would meet your goals.
  • Summarize in a 1-2 page paper.

Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Portland’s History #9-A’


Option B)

  • Develop a slide show or other type of presentation focusing on Portland’s history to be shared with other staff members as part of an in-service training program.

Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Portland’s History #9-B’

Assignment #10: (500 Level ONLY)

Option A)

Create an original research or hands-on project for your students that focuses on some aspect of Portland’s history. Discuss with the instructor beforehand what you would like to do. Then, explain the goals, implementation and results of the project.

Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Portland’s History #10-A’


Option B)

Another assignment of your own design with prior approval of the instructor.

Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Portland’s History #10-B’


Assignment #11: (Required for 400 and 500 level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments.)

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when, and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?

Send to your instructor at their email address. Subject line to read  "(put course name here) Integration Paper"


Instructors will comment on each assignment. If you do not hear from the instructor within a few days of posting your assignment, please get in touch with them immediately.


Peter Chausse, B.S. is a former elementary school teacher, who has specialized in teaching his students about trees, plants, urban parks and natural areas.

Before beginning his teaching career, Peter earned a degree in Forestry from the University of Maine. His training included coursework in Dendrology (tree identification), Forest Management and wood product usage.

In the early 1980's, Peter worked for the U.S. Forest Service in the state of Washington, where he focused on tree identification and scientific observations. Since 1994, Peter has taught a course through The Heritage Institute titled, ‘Studying Portland’s Trees’ During the course, participants learn how to recognize several dozen tree species as they explore Portland’s parks and historic neighborhoods on foot. Ideas for the integration of tree study with math, art, science, literature, writing and social studies activities are presented and discussed.

Peter has had a lifelong love of trees, and is eager to help you acquire more tree knowledge. He is also dedicated to helping you bring this information to your students in fun and meaningful ways.  


Jake Gordon, M.S. Ed., graduated from Western Oregon University.  He became a teacher due to his desire to share the world with his students and give them the skills needed to explore and understand the world around them. 

In 2017 Jake took an academic sabbatical to pursue his graduate studies. He moved to Germany and completed a year of graduate studies at the world-renowned American Studies Leipzig Institute at the University Leipzig. With an expanded worldview and knowledge base, Jake returned to Oregon, where he earned an M.S. in Social Studies Education from Western Oregon University in June 2019.

He currently teaches social studies and geography at Adam Stephens Middle School in Salem, Oregon. In addition to teaching, Jake is an elected member of the Center for Geography Education in Oregon. 



Bianco, Joe. Portland: Step by Step. Touchstone Press, 1988. A walking guide to scenic and historic points of interest in Portland.

DeMarco, Gordon. A Short History of Portland. Lexicos Publishing. 1990.

Foster, Laura O. 2005. Portland Hill Walks.  Timber Press. Portland, Oregon

Friedman, Elaine S. The Facts of Life in Portland Oregon. Portland Possibilities Publishing. 1993.

Lansing, Jewel. 2001. Portland: People, Politics, and Power. Oregon State University Press. Corvallis, OR

Papas, William. Papas’ Portland. Chetwynd Stapylton, Inc. 1994.

Snyder, Eugene. Portland Names and Neighborhoods: Their Historic Neighborhoods. Binfors & Mort. 1979.

Snyder, Eugene. Skidmore’s Portland: His Fountain and Its Sculptor. Binford & Mort. 1991.

Snyder, Eugene. Portland Potpourri: Art, Fountains and Old Friends. Binford & Mort. 1994.

Thomas, Kathleen. Don’t Call Me Rosie: 2004 The Women who Welded the LSTs and the Men Who Sailed on Them, Thomas Wright Publishing. Tigard, OR

Whitehill, Karen & Terry. A Pedestrian’s Portland. The Mountaineers. 1989.

Wood, Sharon. The Portland Bridge Book. 3rd Edition, OHS Press. 2003.