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Historic resource survey coming to Montavilla

The City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) has partnered with the University of Oregon Historic Preservation Program to conduct a historic resource survey in the Montavilla “Main Street” area. The historic resource survey will document the exterior architectural features of buildings and collect historical information on the commercial, social, and cultural history of the SE Stark/Washington Street corridor between approximately SE 75th and SE 85th Avenues.

After the on-the-ground building documentation and archival research is complete, survey results will be compiled in a published report that includes baseline historical information on each building within the study area. The report will also include a list of buildings determined eligible for inclusion on the citywide Historic Resources Inventory (HRI).

SE Stark Street in 1939. City of Portland photo, A2005-001

The 1948 Academy Theater is a prominent building in the study area. Photo courtesy Michael Molinaro.

What’s a historic resource survey? 

Historic resource surveys are projects that collect information on the history of geographic areas, cultural patterns, and specific buildings for broad public use in understanding the significance of historic places. Surveys include both architectural descriptions of individual properties and context statements on broad historical themes present in the area.

Survey reports evaluate surveyed resources for historic significance and provide recommendations for future additions to the HRI. The HRI is a citywide register of properties that have been evaluated for historic significance, but have not been conveyed protections through a landmark or district designation. Although the HRI has not been updated since 1984, recent changes in State administrative rules being codified through the Historic Resources Code Project will allow additional resources to be included on the HRI in the near future. Significant historic resources identified through the Montavilla survey could be considered for inclusion on the HRI as early as late 2019. Any proposal to further designate (and protect) a specific building as a Historic or Conservation Landmark would necessitate a public hearing and, under current Oregon law, the written consent of the property owner.

Learn more and get involved

The public is invited to attend an information session being held during the Montavilla Neighborhood Association’s monthly meeting on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Montavilla United Methodist Church, 232 SE 80th Avenue. Representatives from BPS will share an overview of the survey process, invite submissions of historical information, and answer questions.

For those that cannot make it to the meeting, the project team is interested in hearing from people with family stories or archival information related to the history of the study area. Historic photos, articles, blueprints, and other materials are useful resources in evaluating the historic significance of properties within a survey area. If you have historical information about people, businesses, organizations, buildings, or events in the Montavilla Main Street area, the project team is interested in hearing from you. Submissions of information can be sent to historic.resources@portlandoregon.gov.

Academy Theater

SE Stark Street in 1939. City of Portland photo, A2005-001.

Next Steps

City of Portland staff, University of Oregon students, and technical experts from Architectural Resources Group will document the architectural features of existing buildings during the winter months. Archival research and significance evaluations will occur in the spring and early summer, with the survey report expected to be released in July 2019. Possible inclusion of specific properties on the HRI would occur after the completion of the survey report and adoption of the Historic Resources Code Project.