The New Deal

Enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, this series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations took place between 1933 and 1939 as a means to provide desperately needed relief and recovery efforts during the Great Depression.

New Deal Program Sites
Learn more about New Deal program sites from The Living New Deal

Oregon

Washington

United States

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New Deal Artwork
Check out the expanding list of New Deal Artwork from the General Services Administration

New Deal Artwork

Oregon

Washington


More About the New Deal in Oregon 

 

Reflections on the New Deal in Oregon: Essays in Honor of an OHS Exhibit
Oregon Historical Quarterly, vol. 109, no. 2, Summer 2008 issue

These three essays — published as a compliment to the Oregon Historical Society Exhibit, Oregon’s Legacy: The New Deal at 75 — consider the effect of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs on Oregon. 

The authors describe the political and social context of the Great Depression in Oregon, the tangible results of New Deal programs in Oregon — such as roads, bridges, trails and accommodations in National Forests and State Parks, Bonneville Dam, and Timberline Lodge — and the shifts in outlook the program administrators hoped to achieve. They all conclude that the citizens employed by such agencies as the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Works Progress Administration, and the Federal Arts Project, left a significant mark on Oregon.

The Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the New Deal: Oregon's Legacy
Sarah Munro

Surviving the Great Depression: The New Deal in Oregon
William G. Robbins

The New Deal and People's Art: Market Planners and Radical Artist

David Horowitz, Professor of US Cultural History at Portland State University

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The History of Timberline Lodge 
Presented by Timberline Lodge

Constructed in 1937, Timberline Lodge stands on Mt. Hood at an elevation of 6,000 feet. This beautiful 55,000 square foot structure continues to be a magnificent ski lodge and mountain retreat for everyone to enjoy. Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977, Timberline Lodge is one of Oregon’s most popular tourist attractions, drawing nearly two million visitors every year. 

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Silver Falls State Park and the Early Environmental Movement
Presented by the Oregon Historical Society

Silverton, Oregon, became the site of a CCC and WPA effort to improve a state park while restoring the logged-over land to a forested state; this land became today’s Silver Falls State Park.

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A Pageant of Oregon History: Rediscovering New Deal Art at Portland’s Abernethy Elementary School
Oregon Historical Society

In July 2019, Oregon Historical Society paintings conservator Nina Olsson invited the museum staff to view her progress restoring a New Deal mural titled A Pageant of Oregon History at Abernethy Elementary School in Portland. In this blog post, OHS Collections Manager Nicole Yasuhara describes that visit and follow-up conversations with Olsson about her conservation work.

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Documenting Demolition and Change: A Look at Minor White’s Photographs of Portland’s Old Town and Waterfront

Oregon Historical Society

From 1938 to 1940, photographer Minor White was hired by the Federal Art Project, a division of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), as a creative photographer. White captured images of the Portland waterfront and iconic cast-iron buildings of downtown as they were set to be demolished. Two hundred and ten of those negatives have been digitized and are now available to view on Oregon Historical Digital Collections.

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Oregon Federal Art Project Images
Presented by the Multnomah County Library John Wilson Special Collections.

Explore images related to the Oregon Federal Art Project with photos that were taken in the late 1930s and early 1940s in many locations throughout Oregon. Presented by the Multnomah County Library John Wilson Special Collections. 

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Salem Federal Art Center

Presented by the Willamette Heritage Center

Learn more about Salem’s Federal Art Center, created under the Federal Art Project — one of the three Federal Art Centers created in Oregon — presented by the Willamette Heritage Center
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Woody Guthrie and the Music of the Era

Known as the “Dustbowl Troubadour,” singer/songwriter Woody Guthrie is arguably the most influential folk musician of the first half of the twentieth century. In 1941, the Bonneville Power Administration hired Guthrie to write music for a film about the Columbia river and the benefits of new hydroelectric dams for the people of the Northwest.

Woody Guthrie and the Bonneville Power Authority

"The Columbia" VIDEO (21 minutes)

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 A Spotify Playlist of Woody Guthrie's Columbia River Collection 

Listen now

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How Woody Guthrie Found Hope for America on the Banks of the Columbia

view the article

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Dreamers with Shovels: How the First New Deal Remade America

A discussion of New Deal agencies including the Bonneville Power Authority. 

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Rare Woody Guthrie documentary Hard Travelin'

Echo Park Film Center recently hosted a virtual screening of Woody Guthrie: Hard Travelin’ (1984) during our current pandemic lockdown. This rare documentary presents the songs and writings of Woody Guthrie and traces the composer's impact on the American culture. Archival footage charts Woody's early Oklahoma dust bowl days. 

vIDEO (1 hour and 25 minutes)

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Culinary Solidarity
A brief compendium of Depression Era food history, recipes, and jargon. Researched and assembled with love by Gina Marie Napolitan for Echo Park Film Center’s virtual screening of Woody Guthrie: Hard Travelin’ on April 12, 2020, during the COVID-19 quarantine. Distributed by All Ball Press.

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Applying the Past to the Present:

The Contemporary Call for a New WPA

Hillary Ryan, Marketing Director, Tacoma Art Museum has compiled a list of how multiple voices, both locally and nationally, are making a call for a new form of the WPA to help American during these troubled times.

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