For the first time in the organization’s history, Restore Oregon has filed a brief requesting the Oregon State Supreme Court weigh in on historic preservation.
The Oregon Court of Appeals in February issued a decision in Lake Oswego Preservation Society v. City of Lake Oswego that concerns a provision of the state’s unique 1995 “owner consent” law allowing the owners of the Pioneer-era Carman House to retroactively remove its local historic designation. Because the appellate court’s decision could pave the way for the demolition of up to 3,200 historic properties across the state, Restore Oregon filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief on March 25th petitioning the State Supreme Court review the ruling. The Lake Oswego Preservation Society filed a similar petition earlier this month. The court will review our petition this spring before announcing if they’ll take up the case.
Of the many case studies included in the brief, Restore Oregon highlighted the Lina Sturgis House in Pendleton. Built in 1907, the seven-bedroom Sturgis House was listed as a local landmark in 1985. Because City records of the designation proceedings were lost in a flood, the current owner of the Sturgis House is arguing that the Court of Appeals’ decision gives him the right to remove the house’s landmark designation. The loss of historic status would exempt the the Sturgis House from local historic review and pave the way for dozens of other Pendleton properties to seek de-designation.
Our sincere thanks to Carrie Richter, former chair of the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission and owner in the Portland law office of Garvey Schubert Barer, for representing Restore Oregon.