The College Struggles
In 1913 the college acquired forty-eight acres on the southwest edge of Albany. The college planned to build a new campus at that site, but the move was delayed while $60,000 was raised for building projects. Finally, in 1927, the college relocated to its new campus, which comprised three buildings with plans to construct several more.
Those hopes were dashed by the Great Depression, which threw the college into crisis. Faculty salaries fell forty percent. At one point professors were paid in turkeys. Students had trouble paying their bills and ran up debts. Albany’s enrollment grew from 156 students in 1929 to 350 in 1938, but only by offering steep tuition discounts.
A solution to Albany’s problems emerged in the Portland satellite program that started in 1934. By 1936 there were about 150 students at the Portland unit. Initially it offered only a two-year course of study, but enrollment soon exceeded that of the Albany campus. In 1938, the Board of Trustees decided to close Albany and create a four-year college in Portland. The citizens of Albany strongly opposed the move, as did the president of the Board of Trustees, who resigned in protest. The final class of seniors from Albany graduated on June 18, 1938.