Restore Oregon is calling on our friends in the historic preservation community to demonstrate a strong showing of support for curbing demolitions, protecting historic resources, and encouraging compatible infill on December 7th at City Hall. In their once-a-year opportunity to discuss the most important historic preservation issues with the Portland City Council, the Historic Landmarks Commission will be taking over City Hall for one hour on Wednesday December 7th from 2:00 to 3:00pm. Let’s fill the Council Chambers to remind City Council that preservation matters!
The Historic Landmarks Commission makes bold recommendations for the future in their 20-page report. The goals and priorities presented to City Council include repealing anti-preservation laws, expanding historic districts to underserved neighborhoods, and updating the Historic Resources Inventory.
This presentation is a unique opportunity for Portland citizens to show City Council their support for preservation of historic resources and neighborhoods. At this annual hearing in 2015, Restore Oregon proposed closing a loophole that allowed properties on the Historic Resources Inventory (HRI) to be removed and simultaneously granted demolition permits. In response to the testimony of Restore Oregon and others, City Council closed the loophole this past September and began requiring a 120-day delay on the demolition of ranked properties on the HRI.
Comments from the public are heard during the hearing, but it is most important for people to show up. As stated in the report: “demolitions of single family residences—many of which fall into the affordable or “middle housing” category—have been increasing from about 150 per year in 2011 to 400 per year in 2015.” With this significant rise in demolitions of historic properties come issues of affordability, impacted neighborhood character, and the addition of materials to the landfill. A full City Hall will demonstrate how seriously Portland’s historic places and neighborhoods matter to its citizens.