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Portlanders gather to discuss designation options for Historic Resources Code Project

Participants discussed options for designating and protecting local historic and conservation districts at the last of four initial project roundtables.

On Feb. 6, 2018, the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability held its fourth public roundtable for the Historic Resources Code Project (HRCP). The last of the HRCP’s initial input sessions, this event asked participants to develop and consider options for local historic district designation. Although no local historic or conservation district has been created in Portland since the early 1990s, new guidance from the State now allows cities to develop local alternatives to National Register designation.

Approximately 40 Portlanders gathered at the North Portland Library to discuss options for the designation process and regulatory framework that might characterize a new program for local historic resource designation. Conversations revealed an interest in community-initiated nominations, designation by an affirmative majority vote of property owners, and district-specific design guidelines or standards. A summary of the event, including participants’ transcribed comments, is now available.

North Portland Library

The venue for the Feb. 6 roundtable was the North Portland Library, a 1912 building built in the Jacobethan style. The library was identified in the 1984 Historic Resources Inventory as an architecturally significant building.

Concepts collected at the HRCP’s first four roundtables will inform planning staff in their development of zoning code language for the inventory, designation, and protection of historic resources. While all concept development roundtables have now been completed, comments will continue to be accepted until Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018, after which time City staff will begin formulating code concepts. If you were unable to attend a public roundtable or would like to contribute further, please consider completing the project’s online survey. Interested persons are also invited to join the historic resources program email list for regular project updates, including opportunities to provide comment on the discussion draft zoning code when it is released in the spring.

February 6 event

Approximately 40 Portlanders attended the fourth Historic Resources Code Project roundtable. Image courtesy Addam Goard. 

Historic Resources Code Project holds third public roundtable

Participants discussed all aspects of the designation and protection of National Register historic districts, including demolitions, new construction and consistency with community values.

On Wednesday, Jan. 24,2018, the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability held a third community roundtable for the Historic Resources Code Project (HRCP) at Taborspace, an event venue in the 1910 Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church. Approximately 60 participants gathered to discuss Portland’s approach to protecting National Register historic districts, detailing perceived successes and failures of current processes related to designation and regulation. Conversations reflected the diverse interests of event attendees and resulted in varied, thoughtful feedback to staff are included in a summary of the events, including participants’ transcribed comments.

Recommendations and insights collected at the Jan. 24 roundtable will form a foundation for the fourth and final HRCP initial input session, scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, at the North Portland Library. This roundtable will explore local designation as an alternative to National Register historic district designation and as a tool that may better serve some of Portland’s historic resources. If you are unable to attend the event, please consider submitting your comments via the project’s online survey.

For more information about the HRCP, visit the project website or contact project manager Brandon Spencer-Hartle at historic.resources@portlandoregon.gov. Interested parties are also invited to join the historic resources program email list for project updates, including information about future roundtables.

Approximately 60 Portlanders shared feedback on “what’s working and what’s not in Portland’s historic districts” at the Jan. 24 roundtable. Image courtesy Addam Goard. 

Participants provided feedback on a variety of historic district issues, including management of alterations and additions

Historic Resources Code Project holds second public roundtable

Participants discussed the purpose of a citywide Historic Resource Inventory and identified opportunities to encourage rehabilitation and reuse.

Example of Italianate-style architecture

The venue for the January 11 roundtable, the 1883 West Block, was included in the 1984 Historic Resource Inventory for its Italianate-style architecture.

On Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability held a second community roundtable for the Historic Resources Code Project (HRCP) at the Architectural Heritage Center in the East Portland/Grand Avenue Historic District. The event sought public input on “inventorying and adapting historic resources,” asking the approximately 40 participants to share perspectives on how best the City might identify and evaluate potentially significant historic resources and encourage the rehabilitation and reuse of significant historic resources through the zoning code. Topics discussed in participant breakout sessions included:

  • Expanding the Historic Resource Inventory to include more diverse types of historic resources.
  • The tension between having a Historic Resources Inventory that is too broad or too narrow.
  • The opportunities and challenges of soliciting crowdsourced information on historic resources.
  • Parking and use flexibility for designated historic resources.
  • Opportunities to increase market-rate and affordable housing production in conjunction with historic preservation.

Read a summary of the event for more information.

The suggestions and insights collected at the January 11 event will inform zoning code concepts developed by the Bureau of Planning and sustainability over the next several months. The next roundtable, “What’s Working and What’s Not in Portland’s Historic Districts,” will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, at Taborspace. If you are unable to attend an upcoming roundtable session, please consider taking the project’s online survey.

For more information about the HRCP, visit the project website or contact project manager Brandon Spencer-Hartle at historic.resources@portlandoregon.gov. Interested parties are also encouraged to join the historic resources program email list for project updates, including information about future opportunities for public involvement.

picture of McDonalds from 1963

Few properties east of 82nd Avenue were included in the 1984 Historic Resource Inventory. This 1963 McDonald’s, located at 9100 SE Powell Blvd, was used as a conversation starter for discussions related to updating the Inventory.

Historic Resources Code Project holds first public roundtable

Participants prioritized values of historic preservation in anticipation of next gathering on January 11.

Attendees at roundtable

On Dec. 7, 2017, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability held a kick-off event for the Historic Resources Code Project (HRCP) at the White Stag Block, an adaptively reused building in the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District.

The first of four community roundtables, the event asked participants to identify and describe the value and purpose of historic preservation in Portland. Approximately fifty Portlanders convened to share their opinions on the community value of historic resources, with conversation topics spanning the cultural, social, economic, environmental, aesthetic, and educational outcomes of preserving historic resources. A summary of the event is available as a PDF.

Group ideas from the roundtable   Group ideas from the roundtable

The benefits and values identified at the December 7th roundtable will inform the code project’s future input sessions, the next of which will address technical code concepts related to the identification, designation, and protection of historic resources. The next roundtable, “New Tools for Inventorying and Adapting Historic Resources,” will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, at the Architectural Heritage Center (701 SE Grand Ave.). If you are unable to attend an upcoming roundtable session, consider submitting a public comment form online.

For more information about the HRCP, visit the project website or contact project manager Brandon Spencer-Hartle at historic.resources@portlandoregon.gov. Interested parties are also invited to join the historic resources program email list for project updates, including information about future roundtables.