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East Portland Neighborhoods Historic Survey Project seeks mid-century examples

Much of East Portland was developed in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, when new architectural styles and building forms were introduced. Popular suburban home archetypes such as the Ranch House, Split-level and “Mid-Century Modern” were conceived during the post-war era and are now enjoying a kind of renaissance among 21st century home owners. Because these styles and forms are now 50+ years old, they are the focus of an historic building survey project in East Portland neighborhoods, thanks to a small grant from the State Historic Preservation Office.

The Historic Resources team at the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is working with consultants at Historic
Preservation Northwest to photograph buildings and determine their age, style and characteristic features. The focus is on “Mid-Century” residential areas developed during the 1940-60s, and a sampling of buildings are being surveyed. The project will include a description of the architectural styles of buildings and historical research.

Other important development types and features that contribute to the special identity of East Portland, such as the oldest buildings in the area, historic commercial properties, and public properties and historic natural features, also merit closer attention and may be evaluated in a future phase of survey work, as funding permits. The project team will look at the outside of buildings and will complete their documentation from the public right-of-way. They will not require admittance onto private property.

Historical surveys are the first step to understanding the architectural character and historic significance of an area. East Portland is a special and complex part of the city, and its history, landscapes and development patterns differ in many ways from Portland’s urban core and inner-ring neighborhoods.

Information and photos from the survey will be entered into a state database and made available to the public for mapping, planning and neighborhood character illustration. There will also be a public presentation about the survey results at the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission, likely in November 2010.

East Portland Action Plan Item

The survey work partially addresses East Portland Action Plan item CB.7.1: "Gather information regarding historical
resources and determine focus areas for additional research and potential historic preservation efforts."  The project team would like to include some commercial structures from the same time period and invites East Portland residents to suggest commercial structures.

If you have questions about this survey project, contact Liza Mickle at the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability at
503-823-7666. If you have additional information about “Mid-Century” properties in East Portland and would like to share that information, please call the historical survey consultant, Dave Pinyerd, at 541-791-9199.