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The City of Portland, Oregon

Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Curbside Hotline: 503-823-7202

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

More Contact Info

Sustainable Preservation

Armory Interior image credit: Uwe Schneider. Built 1891; LEED Gold restoration 2006.

Old buildings work hard, constantly adapting, always works-in-progress. We can preserve our architectural heritage alongside adaptability for future energy and resource needs. Looking through the lenses of sustainability, recycling and conservation; historic preservation sets a natural stage for green building, recycling and retrofitting aged structures, conserving precious resources, community investment and job creation and retention.  This whole systems forward-thinking is sustainable preservation. 


“The greenest building is... one that is already built.”

                                          — Carl Elefante, FAIA, LEED AP

Guide Sections


Booth ResidenceThe Case for Preservation and Sustainability

Benefits from preserving old buildings:

  • Waste reduction  
  • Jobs
  • Recycling and reuse
  • Livability, complete and sustainable neighborhoods
  • Our built history
  • Embodied energy
  • Craftsmanship and architectural character
  • Stewardship

Articles and Postings

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Resources for Old Homes


Repairing wood window

Advice on windows, weatherizing your old home, hazardous materials like lead and asbestos and waste minimization.

The Window Replacement Dilemma

Weatherization and Insulation

Hazardous Materials

Waste Minimization

What is embodied energy? Embodied energy is the sum total of all the energy required to grow, harvest, extract, manufacture, refine, process, package, transport, install and dispose of a particular product or building material. When a building is demolished with no plans for recycling or reclamation this energy is lost.

  • City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) Construction Waste - Contact Shawn Wood 503-823-5468 for help with deconstruction, code, waste minimization, construction debris recycling and salvage.

Historic Properties and Solar

Many owners of historic homes want to reduce their carbon footprint and energy consumption. Through neighborhood volume purchasing programs for solar energy systems and local and national incentives and tax credits, solar is more affordable than ever. This area discusses the challenges facing historic structures and where to turn for help.

City of Portland - Solar Energy Program

Local Tours Including Historic Properties

Seeing is believing. How did they insulate that drafty attic? Where did they get that fir washboard siding for their cottage? Where can I find a refurbished range for my atomic ranch? Go on a tour – you’ll be inspired!

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Technical Assistance

National, regional and local assistance for your preservation questions. 

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Innovative Preservation Case Studies

These Portland Portland case studies showcase why preserving aged buildings makes business sense, enhances neighborhood livability, receive high-profile awards and certifications for innovation, and display an abundance of historic character and resource savvy.

Preservation Case Studies

Brewery Blocks

Brewery Blocks USGBC logo

Built 1856. Restored 2007.
Current use: residential, offices, retail, restaurant.
Original use: Blitz-Weinhard Brewery, Chevy dealership.
Certification: LEED NC Silver or Gold for each of the five blocks.

Gerding Theater at The Armory

The Armory USGBC logo

Built 1891. Restored 2006.

On the National Register of Historic Places.

Current use: performance space, offices, restaurant, event space.

Original use: annex and drilling ground for the Portland Armory.

Certification: LEED NC 2.1 Platinum

Jean Vollum Natural Capital Center (Ecotrust)

Ecotrust building USGBC logo

Built 1895. Restored 2000.

Current use: offices, retail, event space, restaurant.

Original use: rail warehouse.

Certification: LEED NC 2.0 Gold

Martha Washington Apartments

 Martha Washington LEED logo

 Built 1923. Restored 2010.

On the National Register of Historic Places.

Current use: affordable apartments.

Original use: hotel.

Certification: LEED NC 2.2 Silver 

Mercy Corps Global Headquarters

Mercy Corps USGBC logo

Built 1892. Restored 2009.

On the National Register of Historic Places.

Current use: education, offices, non-profit resource center.

Original use: Packer-Scott Building, Skidmore Fountain Building.

Certification: LEED NC 2.2 Platinum

The Morgan Building

Morgan Building  USGBC logo

Built 1913. Restored 2010.
On the National Register of Historic Places.
Current use: offices, retail.
Original use: offices

Certification: LEED EBOM v2009 Silver

The Nines Hotel

The Nines USGBC logo

Built  1905. Restored  2008.

On the National Register of Historic Places.

Current use: hotel, restaurant, event space.

Original use: Meier & Frank department store.

Certification: LEED NC 2.1 Silver

People’s Co-op 

People's Coop


Built 1900. Restored 2003.

Current use: retail, event space.

Original use: grocery store

White Stag Block

White Stag Block USGBC logo


Built 1883 (Bickel Block Building), 1889 (Skidmore Block Building), 1907 (White Stag and Hirsch-Weiss Building). Restored 2008.

On the National Register of Historic Places.

Current use: education, offices and retail.

Original use: manufacturing, offices, warehouse.

Certification: LEED NC 2.2 Gold



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PDX architecture juxtapositionFinancial Incentives for Preservation

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City of Portland Zoning Regulations

Is my building in a Conservation District or a Historic District? When do I need a Historic Design Review?

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Green Preservation Workshops and Degree Programs

Local and national hands-on programs.

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Further ResourcesCentennial Mills

Local, regional and national experts in the field.

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