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Commission seeks to ‘strengthen’ Old Town

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DJC Oregon website screenshot!Portland’s Skidmore/Old Town Historic District is renowned for its Italianate, Romanesque and turn-of-the-century commercial buildings.

But the historic district is also a clean slate for developers who want to replace parking structures and parking lots.

The potential for new development means that the city’s Historic Landmarks Commission is charged with deciding what buildings in the area should look like – and how much historic character will have to be integrated into architects’ designs.

“The district will be defined as much by new buildings as it is by historic buildings,” said Mark Raggett of the Bureau of Planning.

At the Historic Landmarks Commission meeting Monday, members were emphatic that new buildings and renovations to older buildings in the area will be deferential to the historic fabric of the district. [Read full article]

By Sam Bennett,

DJC Oregon - August 20, 2008

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September 3, 2008 at 10:43 PM

brick and wooden windows are in line with the historic fabric alright. perhaps a bit too deferential. the clearest statement indicating a new building respects its historic neighbors is through repetition of vertical and horizontal patterns, bays and floor lines respectively, not through the use of similar materials. using the same materials becomes boring and confusing, especially when there are better contemporary materials available. i hope the encouragement to use cast iron will inspire modern treatments rather than historical imitations.

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