Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Click on a class name to get the class description. See our list of ongoing classes here: Continuous Classes.


DVD Sessions are now at PCC CLIMB Center Room 102. SE Clay at Water Street, across from OMSI. If parking in the PCC parking lot, payment of a parking fee is required. PCC Parking Permits are available from the Site Coordinator for $25 per semester.

Tuesdays 10am-12 noon

Democracy and Our National Identity
  • September 15
    • 1) An Overview of Democracy in America
    • 2) Alexis de Tocqueville—A Brief Biography
  • September 22
    • 3) The Journey to America
    • 4) Equality of Conditions and Freedom
  • September 29
    • 5) The Foundations of the American Experience
    • 6) Does America Have a Mixed Constitution?
  • October 6
    • 7) The American Constitution
    • 8) The Judiciary and Lawyers in America
  • October 13
    • 9) Democracy and Local Government
    • 10) Freedom of Speech in Theory and
  • October 20
    • 11) Freedom of the Press
    • 12) Political Parties
  • October 27
    • 13) The Problem of the Tyranny of the Majority
    • 14) Political Associations
  • November 3
    • 15) Civil Associations
    • 16) Blacks and Indians
  • November 10
    • 17) Mores and Democracy
    • 18) Christianity and Democracy
  • November 17
    • 19) Education and Culture in Democracies
    • 20) Individualism in America
  • November 24 (NO CLASS)
  • December 1
    • 21) The Desire for Wealth in America
    • 22) The Democratic Family
  • December 8
    • 23) Are Democracy and Excellence Compatible?
    • 24) Tocqueville’s Unanswered Questions


Mondays, 10am to 12 noon

Poetry Reading Fun - Sept 7, 21 & Oct 5, 19 & Nov 2, 16

Know a lot about poetry? Know nothing about poetry? Somewhere in between? There’s a place for you in the very popular class started by Norm Grant and now led by Jan Vaillancourt. We read from a variety of published works. Really FUN!

Japanese Cultural Traditions - September 14

Unit Souzou Taiko Group & Mark Vossbrink:
Unit Souzou will bring handmade drums for a performance and a talk about the background of these drums in Japanese history and culture. Equally heart-pounding and beautiful choreography for all to enjoy. Then local florist Mark Vossbrink will discuss and demonstrate ikebana, the ancient art of flower arranging.

Banned Book Week - September 28

Sandy Foran:
Celebrating the Freedom to Read: Do you read banned books? Which books top the list? Why? How does one go about attempting to ban a book? Who stands in the way of this happening? Why is children's literature, in particular, a target? Celebrate Banned Book Week by reading a banned book.

Flags of the Confederacy - October 12

Ted Kaye:
Of late there has been much talk of the Confederacy and its flag. Actually, there are several flags. Ted Kaye will show and tell the story of those he has in his collection. Don't miss this!

Why Doesn't She Just Leave? - October 26

Lila Lee & Panel of Survivors:
A panel presentation by adult sex trade survivors and their community advocate.Listen to first-hand stories of the hard struggle of recovering from a life in prostitution and learn how YOU can help. Lila Lee is an attorney who works with sex trade survivors. She and some of those recovering are eager to share their stories to enlighten our citizens.

Japanese Farm Labor Camps - November 9

Morgen Young:
Between 1942 and 1944 some 33,000 individuals were forced into inland concentration camps for seasonal farm labor by Executive Order 9066 signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Mondays, 1 to 3pm

Current Events - see Continuous Classes


Tuesdays, 10am to 12 noon

Current Events - see Continuous Classes

Tuesdays, 1 to 3pm

Music Time Machine: The '40s and '50s - September 15

Robby Samuelson:
Teleport back in time through music! Robert plays brief samples of popular music to stimulate your long-term memory. Come listen and remember the background music to some of the cherished moments in your life. Part 2 of this three-part series takes us back to the 1940's and '50's.

Greek Comedy "Lysistrata" Part 1 - September 22

Peter Charlston:
Lysistrata (411 BC) by Aristophanes was first staged in the ancient Theatre of Dionysus during the Peloponnesian War, the civil war between the Athenians and Spartans that lasted almost thirty years. It is still regarded by many as one of the most imaginative anti-war plays ever conceived and primarily remembered for the protagonist’s shocking proposal to bring an end to a seemingly endless war.

Greek Comedy "Lysistrata" Part 2 - September 29

Lysistrata (411 BC) by Aristophanes. See the description for September 22.

Greek Comedy "Lysistrata" Part 3 - October 6

Lysistrata (411 BC) by Aristophanes. See the description for September 22.

Portland’s Urban Canopy - October 13

Jenn Cairo:
Jenn Cairo, city forester and city nature manager for the city of Portland's departments of Urban Forestry, Community Gardens, and Horticultural Services, will explain the value of trees and the urban forest, how Portland's urban forest is managed, and some key challenges for the city's forest of the future.

Ellis Island: the Gateway - October 20

Donald Leif:
In the early 1900s, millions of European immigrants arrived at tiny Ellis Island in New York Harbor. In recent years, Hurricane Sandy nearly devastated the island, but its restoration is nearly complete and its historic baggage room is again crowded, this time with visitors. Don Lief tells the story of this island, only a few hundred yards from the Statue of Liberty.

The Science of GM Crops - October 27

David Erwin:
Genetically modified (engineered) crops have stirred controversy, indeed polarizing debate, despite being widely adopted by farmers across the country. What does the science say about GM crops? Dr. David Ervin will review the findings from a 2010 National Academy of Sciences study which he chaired, and discuss the implications for moving forward.

The American Indians - November 10

Robert Ryan:
What the American Indians are doing now beside running casinos is the end game of this class. Dr. Robert "Bob" Ryan of PSU will give us a history lesson on these interesting people. Dr. Ryan teaches Native American Psychological Values and NA Psychological Healing. He is, himself, a Lakota Indian from South Dakota.

Guantanamo—Fighting for Justice At Home and Abroad - November 17

Steve Wax:
The Legal Director of Oregon’s new Innocence Project, recently retired after 31 years as Oregon’s Federal Defender and 42 years after he tried his first case, will speak about his work on behalf of the falsely accused in Guantanamo, in national security cases in Oregon, and on behalf of inmates in Oregon’s prisons who were wrongly convicted.

Neighborhood House

Wednesdays, 10am to 12 Noon

Baseball—American Mythology and Culture September 16

Larry Feldman:
The talk will be about some of the players and events from Ruth through free agency that, in retrospect, have taken on mythological proportions and have become embedded in the American culture. It will include a look at the current game through the perspective of the book Moneyball and lastly will touch on the detrimental effect steroids have had on the game. There will also be time for people to talk about their favorite players and or baseball experiences.

Mystery Fiction and Morality - September 23

Elaine Johnson:
Whether you're a diehard fan of mystery fiction or wonder why anyone would bother with it, join Elaine Johnson in exploring the moral aspect of this genre. Mysteries with wildly different settings and characters offer some assurance that right will prevail. Excellent mysteries also explore character, social issues, and fundamental human concerns.

Play Readers Road Show - September 30

The Play Readers:
The SSI Play Readers will present a selection of short one-act plays both serious and humorous. Come and enjoy a fun afternoon with our talented readers.

Aviation History - October 7

Mike Gray:
Aviation started with balloons in the 1780s, progressed to the aeroplane with the Wright Brothers in 1903, and, with the help of two World Wars, became a major industry, revolutionizing both warfare and public transportation. But, with aviation's heavy dependence on cheap oil, we should not be surprised to see major changes in the future.

Philosophy Tea - October 14

John Schilke:
Several philosophers are having tea, and we can listen in on their conversation as they discuss the nature of the world in which we live. Join John Schilke and friends for this fascinating encounter.

POLST: Your decisions for care - October 21

Faith (Henion) English, OHSU
POLST means "Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment." You decide your wishes for care in the event of a medical crisis, beyond what you Advance Directive may provide. If you don't have a POLST, this class will explain what it is and answer your questions so that you can make your own decisions and begin a discussion with your loved ones. If you already have a POLST, perhaps you have new questions or would like to make changes.

Recent Discoveries from Native Americans - October 28 canceled

Dawn Carol:
Explore a 1000 yr. old find in Labrador, Canada, a "new" art form from our U.S. plains, a NW little-known cultural center, and more! Be surprised, informed, and entertained, with a little revisionist history thrown in!

Women in Military Aviation - October 28

Anne McGee:
Anne McGee has 12 years experience as a flying officer in the US Air Force and has taught at our military War College. She will cover the subject from WW II up to the present. Women in combat roles and as astronauts will be included. She is a member who has just recently joined SSI.

Humans in the Americas - November 4

Garland Holt:
In part 4 of this ongoing series on human evolution’ SSI member Garland Holt discusses the information on Kennewick Man and other odd findings, and describes possible routes that early humans took to arrive in what was to become America. Who were the first Americans?

World War I - November 11 canceled

George Davidson:
Without understanding The Great War it is impossible to understand the world today. Governments were given broad new powers which have persisted ever since, even in peacetime. Another legacy can be seen almost daily in today's headlines, as border disputes, ethnic conflicts, and ideological arguments smolder on, a century after they were first ignited in the Great War.

Water Enough? - November 18

Duane Ray:
Water dissolves just about everything - Oxygen, CO2, Salt, Sugar, Metals, etc. and is transported everywhere by pumps, heat, cold and gravity. Location, location, location! Can’t live with too much, can’t live with too little! It’s a complicated material over which we have only limited control but it will determine our future!

Wednesdays, 12:30 to 3pm

Play Reading - see Continuous Classes

Thursdays, 10am to 12 noon

Current Events - see Continuous Classes

Thursdays, 1 to 3pm

Armenian Genocide - September 17

Aram Mahshigian:
This year is the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Come to hear the history and background of a major event of the century.

Retirement - September 24

Christian Durso:
Financial advisor Christian Durso of SOFA (Society for Financial Awareness) will address two topics: Asset Allocation and Modern Portfolio Theory in the first hour, andfor a Sustainable Income in Retirement after the break. Come to learn if there are things you can still do better! SOFAa 501(c)(3) non profit public benefit corporation whose mission is to provide financial education across America. This is not a sales presentation.

NW Villages - October 1

Darl Kleinbach:
How can seniors adapt to living in the 21st Century? One possibility is by engaging a support network such as Northwest Villages. Darl Kleinbach will introduce a speaker who will explain the concept and its advantages.

Teddy Roosevelt & Conservation - October 8

Richard Cassidy:
President Theodore Roosevelt developed a conservation philosophy early in his youth. As President, he created 234 million acres of national forests, bird preserves, national monuments, and national parks. Join Richard Cassidy, fully costumed, for this informative and delightful presentation.

Daughters of Hanford -October 15

Anna Lin King:
Hanford is a boneyard of some of the earth’s nastiest chemicals and radioactive waste. Much of the cleanup is on a scale that twists the mind - a more than $12-billion Waste Treatment Plant being built now amid the sand and sagebrush.more about Hanford and the dedicated group,of Hanford,help oversee the project.

Lions, Tigers and Bears--Oh My! - October 22

Sandy Miller:
The zoo, or zoological garden, arose out of its predecessor, the royal menagerie, which dates back to about 3500 BCE in Egypt and included hippos, hartebeest, elephants, baboons and wildcats. Join SSI member Sandy Miller for a look at the evolving form that this institution has taken in different time periods and places, and how it might change in the future.

The Big One Is In Front of Us - October 29

Chris Goldfinger:
A professor in the college Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences will explain why there is so much certainty that a big earthquake and Tsunami are coming as a result of the Cascadia subduction zone (3 miles off the Oregon coast). How is it similar to the San Andreas Fault. What are the differences? Which one is likely to go first? Note this is not an emergency preparedness class.

Earthquake Preparation - November 5

Jeremy VenKeuren:
Seven Steps That May Save Your Life. Some people think it is not worth preparing for an earthquake or a tsunami because whether you survive or not is up to chance. Not so! Most Oregon buildings will survive even a large earthquake, and so will you, especially if you follow seven simple guidelines and start preparing today. By understanding what to do, you will survive —but you need to know what to do ahead of time. And that's what Jeremy VenKeuren, with Portland Bureau of Emergency Management, is here to explain.

Cultural Conflict Part I - November 12

Jim Williams:
Cultures manifest who we are as individuals and a society. Societies are not all the same and hold deep values that can conflict with each other. Cultures are more than music, opera and literature. Culture defines an individual’s belief systems, motivations and often survival. This two session program will define cultures and then examine 8 cultural conflicts that seem to dominate all societal energies.

Cultural Conflict Part II - November 19

Jim Williams:
Can deep values and cultures be changed or modified to make life less unstable and threatening? Cultural Conflicts to be examined: East vs. West; Global North vs. South; Men vs Women; Rich vs Poor; Business vs. Governments and non-Profits; Whites vs People of color; Conservatives vs. Liberal religious groups; and Coasts vs. heartland.