Pioneer Courthouse


Welcome to Pioneer Courthouse Historical Society

Pioneer Courthouse, in Portland, Oregon, has been home since 1875 to the United States Courts in the State of Oregon and is currently the Oregon home for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

class action poster

Current Traveling Exhibition

“A Class Action: The Grassroots Struggle for School Desegregation in California” is now on exhibit at the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse. This exhibition tells the story of the landmark lawsuit, Mendez et al. v. Westminster School District et al., and reveals how community organizing and grassroots activism can produce positive change in schools and communities across the United States. Experts have called this the most important court case about segregation before Brown v. Board of Education.

Pioneer Courthouse Architecture

The Building

Learn about the architecture and history of the building from 1875 through to its seismic upgrade in 2003-2005.

the cupola

The cupola

See Portland past and present from the windows of the cupola. On this web page you’ll also see historic views of the city.

Documents of History

Documents of History

Documents, from the Magna Carta (1215) to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 have shaped our history.

The Galleries

The Galleries

feature an exhibit on Judge Deady’s Oregon, portraits of the Ninth Circuit judges based in Pioneer Courthouse, building restoration and more.

Ninth Circuit Timeline

Ninth Circuit Timeline

The Ninth Circuit’s history reflects the history of America’s development as a nation and its westward movement.

video link

Watch a Video…

At the Forefront of Adventure and Architecture: Pioneer Courthouse, Portland, Oregon

Visit Pioneer Courthouse, a National Historic Landmark

Pioneer Courthouse is located in the heart of downtown Portland, adjacent to the ever-lively Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland’s “living room” and once the home of the grand and popular Portland Hotel.

The courthouse, which is a National Historic Landmark, is the single most important 19th-century government building in the Pacific Northwest to survive into the 21st century. Opened in 1875 as the seat of the federal government in the region—incorporating the post office, judiciary, customs office, and tax department—the Pioneer Courthouse welcomed presidents, witnessed significant trials and court hearings, and has stood watch as Portland has grown from a small town to a large city.

You are invited to visit the building to tour its ornate hallways and public areas, dignified courtroom on the second floor, the cupola above the fourth floor (with its astounding vista of a century of Portland architecture), and exhibits throughout that tell the story of the building, the courts, and the people who have worked here. This website offers a sampler of those exhibits.