Oral History Question Template

Here’s a template of questions for use in oral history interviews with people who remember the Alameda Park neighborhood in Northeast Portland. I would be pleased to assist in any way in the process and will publish your interview on the Alameda History blog. For maps, photos or other ideas that might help trigger memories from your interview subject, drop me a line at doug@alamedahistory.org


  • Use a tape recorder
  • Go slow
  • Allow time for your subject to think and remember
  • Talk less, listen more
  • Have fun
  • Be sure to follow-up on interesting stories that emerge
  • Use open ended questions
  • Send me a copy of the interview when you are done

The Questions

1. Where were your born and raised?

2. What was it like to grow up there?

3. When and how did you first come to Alameda?

4. What did you think of Alameda when you first came?

5. What was the neighborhood like then?

6. How was it different from today? How was it similar to today?

7. Did Alameda feel like a different neighborhood than Beaumont or Irvington, or was it just another Northeast Portland neighborhood?

8. How did you choose your home in Alameda?

9. What was your home like then?

10. When you moved in were their more kids, more elderly neighbors, what was the mix?

11. What were the neighborhood landmarks for you: trees, buildings, hills, vacant lots, the school?

12. Did you ever ride the Broadway streetcar? What was it like?

13. What was it like when they streetcar was torn out? What did people think?

14. Do you remember the Columbus Day Storm? What was it like in Alameda?

15. What are your memories of Alameda School? Did you have children there?

16. What do you remember about the businesses at 24th and Fremont? Did you go into the soda fountain there? What about John Rumpakis the shoe repair man?

17. What happened in Alameda when it snowed…kids on the hills? Do you remember particularly snowy years?

18. What were the war years like here? How did your family “black out” your house? What do you remember about the home guard that walked the neighborhood to make sure that houses were blacked out? Did you have a victory garden?

19. Any memories about the Alameda Park Community Church at Regents and Mason?

20. How do you feel life has changed over the years in Alameda?

21. Do you have any photos you’d be willing to share…street scenes, at school or in the park? Any articles or other items you would be willing to share?

22. Can you suggest anyone I should visit with?

23. What haven’t I asked that I should? Make up a question and answer it…


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