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Portion of Laurelhurst Neighborhood Nominated for National Register Historic District Status

On August 13, 2018, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) notified the City of Portland that a portion of the Laurelhurst neighborhood has been nominated for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. An information session will be held on August 30 to provide property owners and the interested public with information about the listing process.

Gates, a historical Laurelhurst marker

Entrance to the Laurelhurst neighborhood showing a distinctive Laurelhurst gate and the 1911 Marquam House. Image courtesy Addam Goard.

The federal nomination was commissioned by the Laurelhurst Neighborhood Association. The nominated area is approximately 392 acres in size, is generally zoned R5 for single-dwelling residential use, and does not include sites along Sandy Boulevard zoned for higher density development. The nomination will be considered by the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission, State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation, and National Park Service before a listing decision is made.

The National Register is the nation’s official list of buildings, structures, sites, objects, and districts significant in American history, architecture, and/or archaeology. Although the City of Portland is only advisory to the federal listing process, locally-enforced demolition regulations apply automatically when a resource is listed in the National Register.

Listing Process

The National Register listing process begins with the filing of a nomination and ends with a decision by the National Park Service.

The Portland Historic Landmarks Commission will review the Laurelhurst Historic District nomination at their regular meeting on Monday, October 8, 2018. The Commission’s recommendation is not a final decision, as the City of Portland’s role is advisory to the National Park Service process. The meeting is an opportunity to learn more about the proposed historic district and to provide comments to the Commission. The October 8 meeting will take place at 1900 SW 4th Avenue, Room 2500A, beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Following the City of Portland’s advisory review of the nomination, the State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation (SACHP) will hold a formal meeting to consider the nomination on Friday, October 19, 2018. This meeting will take place at the Laurelhurst Club, 3721 SE Ankeny Street, beginning at 2 p.m. Testimony on the merits of the National Register nomination will be accepted at the October 19 meeting.

Following the SACHP meeting, the nomination may be forwarded to the National Park Service for further review and a final decision. At any point in the listing process, private owners with fee-simple absolute title to real property within the nominated district may object to the listing by submitting a notarized statement of objection to the State Historic Preservation Office. The proposed district will not be listed if a majority of the owners object.

Map of proposed Laurelhurst Historic District

Map of the proposed Laurelhurst Historic District. If listed in the National Register, ‘contributing’ buildings would be subject to demolition and relocation review.

Consequences of Listing

In Oregon, resources listed in the National Register are subject to demolition and relocation protections and are eligible to participate in certain local, state, and federal incentive programs. Oregon Administrative Rule 660-023-0200 provides the demolition and relocation protections for National Register resources in Oregon. These protections are enforced locally by the Bureau of Development Services.

Listing in the National Register will not subject a Laurelhurst Historic District to Historic Resource Review. Historic Resource Review, sometimes called historic design review, is a land use review that is required for some alteration, addition, and new construction projects affecting historic landmarks and districts. Historic Resource Review was automatically applied to National Register resources listed before Jan. 27, 2017. Due to recent changes in the State Administrative Rule, a separate local adoption process is required before Historic Resource Review can be applied to resources listed in the National Register after Jan. 27, 2017. There is no timeline for when—or if—Historic Resource Review would be proposed for a Laurelhurst Historic District.

Ariel photo of Laurelhurst circa 1961

1961 aerial of a portion of the Laurelhurst neighborhood. City of Portland photo, A2014-003.863.

Additional Information

An information session will be held on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the All Saints Parish, 3847 NE Glisan Street. Representatives from the State Historic Preservation Office and City of Portland will be on hand to provide an overview of the National Register listing process, describe the regulations that apply to National Register resources, and answer questions from attendees.

Copies of the nomination, a project timeline, objection letter templates, and additional information on the proposed historic district can be found on the State Historic Preservation Office’s webpage.