May 9, 2014. After an intense month of neighborhood uncertainty, Restore Oregon received confirmation today that NW Portland’s 1898 Goldsmith House will be saved from demolition thanks to a preservation-minded development team.
The Max Goldsmith House, located at 1507 NW 24th Avenue, was designed by prominent Portland architect Edgar Lazarus in the Shingle style. Lazarus is known for designing such prominent buildings as the Vista House in the Gorge, Dome Building in Salem, and Clatsop County Courthouse in Astoria.
The Goldsmith House and a smaller home next door were purchased by Lake Oswego developer Marty Kehoe in late March with the intent to demolish both homes and construct seven row houses in their place. A demolition permit was issued on April 9th; however, due to a technicality in the permitting process, a city ‘stop work order’ was issued on April 18 and the owner was required to apply again for a demolition permit. Although many had hoped that the city’s new 35-day demolition delay period would apply to the second demolition permit, the city decided the rule change would not apply retroactively to this project. On May 2nd a new permit was issued and deconstruction started again.
As reported in the NW Examiner, Kehoe had recently agreed to entertain a last-minute sale of the house, but due to ongoing demolition of interior spaces and the likely asking price, many in the neighborhood considered the house a lost cause. On May 9th, a group of local residents, including Karen Karlsson and Restore Oregon board member Rick Michaelson, finalized an agreement to purchase the Goldsmith House and the rest of the property at NW 24th and Quimby.
“I am overjoyed to see the Goldsmith House preserved,” says Dr. Tanya March, a local preservationist who has blogged about the building in recent weeks. “The demolition activities completed to-date have not diminished the integrity of the house and may actually facilitate the electrical and plumbing upgrades that will be needed for its rehabilitation.”
The new owners began negotiations to purchase the house from Kehoe just three days ago. The agreement that was finalized late Friday will preserve the Goldsmith House as a single family home. In order to make the rehabilitation project financially viable, the less significant house next door is likely to be replaced with a new income-producing development. According to new owner Karen Karlsson, “It was too important to us and to the neighborhood to see this house be lost.” The development team is likely to seek historic designation for the house, either as a Local Landmark or on National Register.
“We look forward to working with others in the neighborhood to see a successful outcome for the Goldsmith House,” says Karlsson.