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East Portland Historic Survey Project

Academy Heights

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability recently completed an historic building survey in East Portland neighborhoods, as part of a small grant from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). The focus was on “Mid-Century” residential areas developed from 1935-1965, a period when East Portland experienced considerable growth and change. The survey project focused on the neighborhoods of East Portland generally east of 82nd Avenue.

Historical surveys are the first step to understanding the architectural character and historic development of an area. East Portland is a special and complex part of the city, and its history, landscapes, and development differ in many ways from Portland’s urban core and inner-ring neighborhoods. Much of East Portland was developed in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, when new architectural styles and building forms were introduced. Styles such as the Ranch House, Split-level, and “Mid-Century Modern” became popular, for example. Those styles and forms were the focus of this survey project.

A team led by a consulting firm, Historic Preservation Northwest (HPNW), photographed buildings to determine their age, style, and characteristic features. Approximately 600 properties were surveyed, grouped in clusters in neighborhoods. The clusters were selected to represent a range of development eras and patterns, architectural types and styles of construction that were prevalent from 1935-1965. The survey was selective due to the large size and diversity of the study area. Most of the properties surveyed were single-family residences, although some commercial buildings constructed during the 1935-1965 development period were also included.
The survey results will provide the City with baseline historic resource data for future preservation planning and policy work in the project area and increase our knowledge of mid-century resources in Portland. In addition to the survey data, the project includes a final report with information about architectural styles and development patterns and other historical research. East Portland residents and others who are interested in the area’s historical development will find this report interesting.

The report, Modern Historic Resources of East Portland: A Reconnaissance Survey, is available to view or download by selecting the link below. For more information, contact Liza Mickle at 503-823-7666.

Modern Historic Resources of East Portland (PDF)