When I was involved with efforts to save the Dr. Pierce Barn in Cottage Grove, I was in a highly charged, impassioned state most of the time. Darn it, I CARED about saving this old barn! We formed a group of ordinary citizens, called ourselves People Who Love the Barn, and set out to stop the proposed demolition of Cottage Grove’s landmark 1912 advertising barn.
But, while we had plenty of passion, we had little experience and virtually no resources.
So when Restore Oregon came along in 2011, I was so overjoyed, it felt a little like falling in love. Here was a group of people that “got it.” Here were people who knew the ins and outs of organizing, testifying, and interpreting the maze of laws, ordinances, and procedures that drive so many preservation efforts. They were our experts! They were willing to help! And, what’s more, they were willing to drive to Cottage Grove! My love affair had begun.
As we continued winding our way through the process of trying to save the Dr. Pierce Barn, Restore Oregon stood by us, advising, testifying, publicizing, and taking a personal interest in our efforts. The barn was even listed on Restore Oregon’s first Most Endangered Places list. Then later, after the barn was lost, Restore Oregon helped us write a better demolition code – one that put in place a process by which our community can deny demolition permits for landmark buildings.
It’s been four years since the barn was demolished and although the barn is gone, my love affair with Restore Oregon has continued. They knew that Oregon’s incentives for National Register listed properties are not as robust as they should be and that a state level effort to improve funding was long overdue. By the time Restore Oregon introduced the Revitalize Main Street Act, I had found a seat on the Cottage Grove Historic Landmarks Commission. I am proud to say that the Commission supported Restore Oregon’s efforts in Salem to pass the incentive and, when they try again, we will be there again to do what we can to help.
In the meantime, I continue my love affair with Restore Oregon by being a loyal monthly donor. As a donor, I know I am actively supporting Oregon’s leader in historic preservation and what’s more, I’m keeping the love affair alive.