Moulton House

The Biggest Step Forward for Oregon’s Historic Places in 20 Years

Update: 1/27/2017 – VICTORY! Today the proposed rules to protect thousands of irreplaceable historic properties was adopted by the DLCD.


January 9, 2017 – For the last 22 years, there has been virtually no meaningful statewide protection of historic resources in Oregon. That may now change. Restore Oregon and a committee of preservationists convened by the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) have proposed new rules establishing an important baseline of protection for historic places in Oregon.  This would protect over 11,000 National Register properties and provide new options for local governments to preserve the historic buildings, homes, and neighborhoods that characterize their communities.

The proposed rules would:

  1. Mandate demolition review for all 11,594 properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

    Moulton House, a City of Portland Conservation Landmark. The
    proposed rules would allow local governments to more easily
    designate and protect local and conservation landmarks.
    (Photo Courtesy of Addam Goard)

  2. Enable the option to create local historic districts by clarifying that only a simple majority of property owners need to consent to that designation. This provides a “preservation lite” option in communities like Portland, who apply additional regulation such as design review to National Register districts.
  3. Clarify that taking an inventory of historic buildings is not a form of designation. This frees cities to update their historic resource inventories without requiring owners to consent.
  4. Allow local jurisdictions to apply additional protections to National Register listed properties or districts, but only after a public process. This gives property owners a role in customizing design guidelines or other regulations for their district.

The proposed rule changes implement Oregon’s Goal 5 land use policy to protect both natural and historic resources. They must now be adopted by DLCD which will hold a hearing on January 27 in St. Helens at 8:30AM (Meriwether Place, Canyon Room, 1070 Columbia Blvd St Helens, OR 97051). These recommendations represent a major step forward and Restore Oregon strongly endorses them. We encourage our members and concerned citizens to submit testimony and attend the hearing. Written testimony must be submitted by January 17th. Additional guidelines for testimony are located on the DLCD’s website.

These changes would provide modest but meaningful protection for thousands of historic resources that currently have no protection; add clarity and statewide consistency for how we treat historic places; and add flexibility for local communities to regulate their historic resources. It is a crucial moment for historic preservation and this is the time for preservationists to show support and raise their voice.

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