Skip to main content

Multnomah County (Or.). County Clerk



  • Existence: 1854 - 1968


The office of County Clerk was created in 1854. Multnomah County elected its first county clerk in 1857. In 1887, using a clause in the Oregon Constitution related to county population, Multnomah County abolished the County Clerk's office and replaced it with a clerk of the county court (the administrative body in the county), a clerk of the circuit court ( the judicial body in the county), and a recorder of conveyances (primarily property transactions). This change was short-lived. In 1901, the Oregon Legislature abolished the offfices of circuit court clerk and recorder of conveyances and trensferred the duties to the clerk of the county court. When the commissioner system was established in Multnomah County in 1913, the County Clerk was established as the clerk of the board, the ex officio clerk of the ciruit court, and ex officio recorder of conveyances. The arrangement remained intact until the advent of home rule in 1968. At that time, the County Clerk's office was abolished and the duties apportioned among several departments. in 1983, the Circuit Court was placed uner the State Court Administrator's Office, moving both the circuit court clerk and the court's records to state jurisdiction. A board clerk has served since 1968 as a recordkeeper and administrator for the Board of county Commissioners.

While functions of the clerk have varied through time, the office has primarily been the record keeper for the county. Prior to 1945, the clerk was also responsible for significant elections management and recordkeeping functions. The primary recordkeeping functions of the County Clerk related to real property conveyances, mortgages, liens, officers' bonds, and a vareity of miscellaneous records (contracts, brands, agreements, franchise records, plats). Additionally, until 1964, individuals could record personal documents upon payment of a fee.

Author: Terry Baxter

Inventory of the County Archives of Oregon: Multnomah County Volume I (WPA, 1940); Your Multnomah County Government (1956); and Your Multnomah County Government (1968).

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

County Clerk's records

Identifier: multco006
Dates: 1864 - 1976