Sturgis House (center) in 1917, which has now been protected under the State Supreme Court Ruling. Photo courtesy Umatilla
County Historical Society (Image 1990.059.1383).

State Supreme Court Ruling Protects 3,200 Oregon Landmarks

Sturgis House located in Pendleton, which has now been
protected under the State Supreme Court Ruling.
(Photo courtesy of City of Pendleton)

Oregon’s State Supreme Court has made the most significant ruling in state history for historic places. The State Supreme Court has sided with the Land Use Board of Appeals’ ruling on the Lake Oswego Preservation Society v City of Lake Oswego “that the right to remove an historic designation under ORS 197.772(3) applies only to those owners who held title when a local historic designation was first imposed and not to those whose property was already designated at the time they acquired it.”

“This ruling is just the beginning! Oregon is still the only state in the nation that does not allow cities to safeguard their treasured buildings. Amplify your voice for livability and protecting cultural heritage by donating today.”

This is a victory for historic preservation in Oregon and has potentially saved 3,200 designated landmarks across the state. The Supreme Court ruling was in regards to the delisting and demolition of Lake Oswego’s oldest property, the 1855 Carman House.

Restore Oregon petitioned the court, wrote a brief, and argued in oral arguments before the justices.

Our sincerest thanks are owed to Dan Kearns (Reeves Kearns) and Carrie Richter (Garvey Schubert Barer) for providing invaluable legal representation on this case and to Lake Oswego Preservation Society for taking up the fight to save not only the Carman House, but thousands of historic resources around the state.

Additional thanks are owed to the City of Portland, City of Pendleton, and City of The Dalles, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Action, Architectural Heritage Center, PreservationWORKS, and the other partners who joined with Restore Oregon in our brief to the Court.

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2 Responses to State Supreme Court Ruling Protects 3,200 Oregon Landmarks

  1. historianshouse August 4, 2016 at 1:06 pm #

    This house is the house my husbands Great Aunt lived in as she had married Lina Sturgis’ son Cressy. This is a magnificent achievement for all of us. The Current owner of the home Mr. O’Hanlon, Esq, is on the Pendleton Historical Society Board of directors.. I would have thought that he would not be so adverse to keeping on the registry. So many have not been educated as what placing a property on the registry actually means.. I teach in the Historic Restoration and Preservation program at Clatsop. I also do a lecture series on preservation.


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Statewide Partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation