Portland Highland Games Association
For more than 60 years, the Portland Highland Games Association has organized the annual Portland Highland Games. It is through our members that we maintain Scottish Highland traditions in the Northwest. We’re a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
Note that the Games is a competitive event in the Highland tradition and not a reenactment. Participants are professional and amateur athletes, musicians and dancers and working dogs committed to keeping the Games alive by sharing a piece of Scotland with the community.
Board of Trustees
- Will Beattie (VP of Marketing and Communications, Interim President)
- Tricia Riley (VP of Administration)
- Kaelyne Mowell (VP of Competition)
- Robert D’Hondt (VP of Operations)
- Chris Graham (VP of Finance)
- Florence “Bucky” Beattie (Past President)
- Marianna MacKenzie Day
- Eila Chisholm
- David Day
- Chris Grewe
- Pat MacClean
- Shona MacKenzie
- John R. Osburn
- Terese Scollard
- Deirdre Wright
- Audrey Marconi
- Douglas Lane
- Ann Johnson
- Ross MacKae
- Gene Hall
Each year, local and regional companies and organization show their support for the Portland Highland Games by becoming official sponors of the Games. We are now in the process of searching for sponsors for the upcoming highland Games. Sponsors are critical to the success of the continuation of the annual presentation of the Games.
The Portland Highland Games Association supports local pipers, drummers and dancers through its scholarship program at the Games.
John McLoughlin Dance Scholarships:
John McLouglin Highland Dance Scholarships are awarded annually in honor of Scottish-born surgeon Dr. John McLouglin, the Chief Factor of the Hudson Bay Fort Vancouver. As Chief Factor, Dr. McLoughlin was responsible for the Oregon Territory, now known as the state of Oregon and Clark County, Washington.
Only Premier Highland dancers who reside in ‘the McLoughlin territory’ are eligible for the scholarships. A $50.00 scholarship and a plaque is awarded to the Premier dancer in each age group with the highest aggregate points in all dancing events excluding the special challenge events. The scholarship is paid directly to the winner’s Highland Dance teacher.
Piping and Drumming Scholarships
Each year the Portland Highland Games Association awards scholarships for pipers and drummers through the Oregon Pipers Society’s scholarship program. They are determined and awarded similarly to the OPS scholarships and are presented in April at the end of the OPS competition season. Here are the requirements:
Only current OPS members are eligible to be candidates for the scholarships and must have competed in at least two of the OPS season’s competitions. Players in all grade levels of competition are eligible, including chanter and drum pad. The scholarships are provided so that the recipients may attend the piping and drumming school of their choice. Tuition will be paid directly to the school of the scholarship winner’s choice.
The number of OPS scholarships to be awarded is determined by the OPS board of directors and the number of PHGA scholarships is determined by the PHGA board of trustees.
History of the Games
The Portland Highland Games Association was established in 1960 to help promote and keep the Highland Games alive in Portland. The first Oregon Scottish Games was held in 1952, sponsored by Sir James McDonald, British Consul. Due to the first Games’ popularity, it was repeated the following year.
The Games’ first membership chairman and program, which listed sponsoring members’ names came in 1970. This reflected both the stability and growth of the organization. The 70’s also brought the establishment of the current traditions to recognize extensive past meritorious service on the part of volunteers. In 1972 Annie Munro was chosen as the Games’ first official Guest of the Day, followed the next year by Duncan MacKenzie.
Under the leadership of Association President Robert A. Johnson, Sir James McDonald was chosen as the Games’ first official Chieftain of the Day. This Tradition established in 1976 continues today.
In 1978 fresh ideas were explored, and these focused on enhancing spectator interest. This was the first Games in which a clan tent made its appearance. Col. John McNeil introduced a Clan McNeil tent, and a Clan Donald tent was also set up.
The Portland Games hosted the U.S. Inter-regional (Highland) Dancing Championships in 1982, 1987, and for a third time in 1999. These were held on the Sunday following the Games. In 1988, the Games moved to its present site at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, OR.
Our goal will always be to bring Portland the finest Scottish Highland Games possible. Loosely based upon the founding statement of the St. Andrew’s Society, a similar goal of our Games could well be stated: “to preserve the memories of our Scottish inheritance while serving our American community.”
Learn more about the history of Highland Games?