The Portland, Oregon Section of the IES Story 1941-1948

HISTORICAL NOTES: Early Beginnings of the Oregon Section, IESNA By Eric A. Jordahl, Historian (Written in 1999)

On January 7, 1941, Frank A. Hansen, Regional Vice-President, I.E.S., and a director of the Western Institute of Light and Vision in Los Angeles, met with 44 members and prospective members of IES in Portland. Mr. Hansen was encouraging the formation of an Oregon Chapter of I.E.S. A committee was formed to complete the Chapter organization. The members of that committee were John C. Plankinton of Northwestern Electric Company (now PacifiCorp) Chairman, Walter E. Potter of the General Electric Co. Lamp Division, Francis H. Murphy Consulting Illuminating Engineer, and Theron (Ted) W. Fitch of Portland General Electric Co.

These persons were so efficient that on January 17, 1941, the I.E.S. Council Executive Committee in New York granted unanimous approval to a Charter for the new Oregon Chapter located in Portland. On February 18, 1941, the Oregon Chapter, I.E.S. elected J. C. Plankinton, Chairman, & T. W. Fitch, Secretary-Treasurer. W. E. Potter, Fred C. Baker of Baker- Barkon Co. & Prof. E. F. Wooster of Oregon State College were elected to the Board of Managers. At the same meeting, By-Laws were adopted, and the territory of the Chapter was set as the entire state of Oregon. Two days later the Chapter co-sponsored a 2-day Fluorescent Lighting School with General Electric Co. The final session on February 21 drew an audience of 385 people!

At the March 25,1941 IES meeting, Professor Wooster spoke on Illuminating Engineering at Oregon State College, and three of his students spoke, each on a different topic. 29 persons were in attendance.

On April 28, 1941, at the Congress Hotel (now the location of the 1001 FIFTH AVE Building), a dinner meeting was held at which A. D. Cameron, National President of I.E.S. was the honored guest and main speaker. Mr. Cameron also presented the Charter to the Oregon Chapter. Mr. C. T. Bakeman from Seattle represented the Washington State Chapter (now the Puget Sound Section) the most recent new chapter prior to Oregon, and presented an inscribed gavel to the Oregon Chapter. Unfortunately this gavel has been lost over the years. Another notable attendee was Commissioner WilliamA.BowesoftheCityofPortland. CommissionerBoweswasstillontheCityCouncilinthe 1960s.

By September 30, 1941, the Oregon Chapter had 26 members. This compares with Washington State Chapter (predecessor of the Puget Sound Section) which had 51, San Francisco Section (predecessor of the Golden Gate Section) which had 97, and Southern California Section which had 150. The California Sections had been chartered for many years. The total membership of the Society, both domestic and foreign, was 3242.

At the February 12, 1948 National Council meeting, a petition to change from Chapter status to Section status was approved, and we became the Oregon Section. This status was determined by the total membership and the number of members in MEMBER grade. In this respect we "beat out" the Puget Sound Chapter even if they were chartered first. The territory included in the Section was enlarged to include five Washington counties along the Lower Columbia River. At the end of fiscal year 1947 (9/30/47), Oregon Chapter had 55 members. By the end of fiscal 1948 (9/30/48), Oregon Section had 101 members and was the largest chapter/section in the Pacific Northwest Region. Since that time, Oregon Section has been one of the more active sections on the West Coast. 

Recent events

Simone Auger Receives 2014 IES Young Professionals Award

Congratulations to Simone Auger, IES Emerging Professional and Energy Specialist for Evergreen Consulting Group.  She was awarded one of only ten available IESNA scholarships to the 2014 IES Annual Conference, November 2-4 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.   Simone has a Masters in Interior Architecture from the U of O, and has recently focused her career on the lighting and energy efficiency industry.


Announced at the IES National Convention was the Louis B. Marks award for exceptional non technical service to the IES. The award named after the first president of the society, is one of only two service awards given by the national IES. Presently on staff for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in the Technology Planning and Deployment Group, Naomi Miller has contributed to many facets of the lighting world.

                                                     Winner of the Louis B. Marks award, Naomi Miller