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Historic Landmarks Commission to Deliver Annual Report on November 29th

Among their many recent approvals, the Historic Landmarks Commission supported an infill project that will add 60 new housing units to the Alphabet Historic District. Rendering courtesy Atomic Sky and Emerick Architects. Every fall, the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission delivers their annual “State of the City Preservation Report” to the Portland City Council. The report is an opportunity for the all-volunteer commission to highlight their recent activities, identify priorities for the coming year, and celebrate notable rehabilitation and infill projects approved by the commission. This year’s report will be delivered Wednesday, November 29th at 2 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Portland City Hall. The presentation is open to the public and testimony will be accepted.

The 2017 report focuses on numerous Historic Landmarks Commission priorities including changing public perceptions, addressing the housing emergency, and updating the citywide Historic Resources Inventory. The report’s authors state,

The Portland Historic Landmarks Commission, in partnership with City Council, must continue to be proactive advocates of maintaining and refining protections for designated properties, as well as working to assure that these protections are available to and benefit all Portland citizens. We can advocate for our City’s collective history by supporting the Historic Resources Code Project, as well as working together to make informed decisions that are equitable and long-term in thinking.”

Among the Commission’s primary themes in the report is a renewed call for an update to the Historic Resource Inventory (HRI). The report states,

For over ten years, the Commission has been calling for a citywide update of the 33-year-old HRI to provide an accurate public record, include areas and property types not previously surveyed (East Portland, Modern-era buildings, landmarks associated with communities of color, etc.), and develop a tool to inform sound land use planning decisions. Following concerted advocacy from BPS staff and the broader preservation community, statewide land use Goal 5 was amended in February 2017 to remove regulatory barriers to updating local inventories. Portland now has full jurisdiction to make good on the PHLC’s repeated calls to update the inventory.”

Additional priorities noted in the report include:

  • Promoting and incentivizing the seismic upgrade of unreinforced masonry buildings
  • Exploring the possibilities of a State Rehabilitation Tax Credit
  • Maintaining existing state-level protections for designated historic properties
  • Advancing affordable housing options in historic buildings and districts

The 19-page “State of the City Preservation Report” is available for download as a PDF.