Alumni: Fall 2012
Author: Kathryn Kirkland
Posted: September 4, 2012

Picture this

THE SIMON BENSON HOUSE, home of the PSU Alumni Association, looks like it has always stood on the corner of Southwest Park and Montgomery. New students likely assume the campus grew around the grand Queen Anne style house. But those who graduated before 2000 or know Portland well, know better.

Photo displays showing the history of the house, including the one above, are now on the walls in the former front parlor, back parlor, and dining room. Wisner Creative put together the displays.

The house was built in 1900 by lumber baron Simon Benson. The home’s original stylish parlor is captured along with the story of the house’s move to campus in 2000 from its original site at Southwest 11th and Clay.

Visitors are welcome weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Simon Benson House, 1803 SW Park Avenue.

Welcome class of 2012!

YOU ARE NOW a proud member of the PSU Alumni Association along with more than 130,000 members worldwide. We hope you will stay in touch. You can find us online on Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, and our website Or visit us on campus at the Simon Benson House.

Pride of place

PORTLAND FARMERS MARKET has an impressive record: international press coverage, $8 million in annual sales, and up to 33,000 shoppers at the height of the season. It operates open-air markets in seven locations in the city, the biggest one taking place right on campus in the Park Blocks every Saturday from March through December.

At the helm is Trudy Toliver ’84 (pictured here), who has been the executive director since January 2011.

“It’s a great job for me because most of the things it requires are what I like doing. I like bringing people together and making deals happen,” she says.

Toliver negotiates with farmers, businesses, neighbors and city officials to make sure the markets run smoothly and maintain their worldwide reputation. Last year, reporters from five overseas newspapers and magazines toured and wrote articles about the quality of the Portland markets.

 “Being located at PSU has a lot to do with it. But it’s also the values of this organization—the bedrock principles about quality food,” says Toliver, who recently became certified as a nutritional therapy practitioner.

All food sold at the organizations seven markets comes straight from farmers and food artisans themselves, most of whom bring in their produce, meats, cheeses, pickles, and pies from less than 75 miles away.

It’s kind of a Portland thing.

“We care a heck of a lot about food. Much of that attitude comes from wanting to live active healthy lives,” Toliver says.

 She lives an active life herself. She teaches yoga, and also likes to hike, camp and kayak.

Toliver grew up in Portland, but attained a whole new feeling for her native city while studying urban geography with PSU Professor Carl Abbott in the College of Urban and Public Affairs.

“I’ve always been a naturalist, and I’m interested in public spaces and how they fit with the human dimension. My experience at PSU gave me a real appreciation for Portland and an interest in watching it grow and change,” she says. 


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