It says on page 33 of the December issue that in 1956 “there was no university between Eugene and Seattle.”
The very first full-time job I had was in the summer of 1951, helping to build a fish dam on the Siletz River for the Oregon Fish Commission. There were three other Reedies there (like me, foreigners): Carlos from Japan, Dave from [Nationalist] China, and Walter from Austria. We were all into the American work ethic, trying to really assimilate.
Working with us were two guys from what they called Portland U. I visited the place where they said they studied, somewhere a long ways across town, in a district called St. Johns. I thought it looked like a regular campus, what with class buildings, dorms, and a gym.
Was it actually a bona fide university? A year or so later, there was a Reed Union on the subject of Can There Be Naturalistic Ethics? Upholding the affirmative was a gentleman from Corvallis, said to be a logical positivist. His adversary was a padre from none other than Portland U. All I remember about this learned disputation is that Professor Stan Moore, reputed to be a Marxist—and later ousted from his tenured position by the trustees for this failing—stood up and pretty much sided with the padre.
I consider this vignette to be a form of circumstantial evidence supporting the existence of the University of Portland, way back then, because I cannot conceive of an institution of lesser standing than a university having personnel able to perform in this fashion.
Speaking of personnel, are there any freelance fact checkers out there?
Editor's Note: Ivan is correct about the University of Portland, which has been awarding degrees since 1925; we are duly chastened. However, UP is primarily an undergrad institution, apart from a couple of master’s programs, and is not a research university; therefore, the argument Sullivan and Vollum made about the lacuna in Portland was substantially accurate.