It’s been a little more than a year since we started this blog and readership is continuing to rise. Thanks to everyone who’s read or commented on the blog over the past 13 months. We hope to keep things going in 2011 and beyond and welcome your comments about what you like (and what you dislike) about Portland Preservation.

With that said, we’d like to take this opportunity to point out some of the highlights from 2010. After all, many of our preservation issues are ongoing and deserve your (and our) continued attention. Thanks again for your support of Portland Preservation. If you haven’t already, we hope you’ll consider becoming a member of the Bosco-Milligan Foundation/Architectural Heritage Center, so that we may continue to grow and expand our historic preservation efforts. Thanks!

David Campbell Firefighters Memorial

We learned of plans in early 2010, to possibly disassemble this 1928 memorial, with some components targeted for reuse in a potential new memorial at the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge. Thankfully, it now looks like that option is off the table. First, the efforts of local preservationists brought attention to the fragile memorial, designed by world renowned memorial architect Paul Cret. Then, with the support of the Bosco-Milligan Foundation/Architectural Heritage Center, a volunteer was able to draft a nomination for the memorial to the National Register of Historic Places. In late September, the memorial was formally listed in the National Register.

Dirty Duck

In February, the Portland City Council voted to approve demolition of the former Dirty Duck Tavern Building (aka the Kiernan Building), a contributing structure in the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District. This was a precedent setting moment as the council’s decision went against recommendations by both the Portland Landmarks Commission and their own Bureau of Development Services. It also was a bad moment in Portland’s sustainability efforts.  This building could have been rehabilitated or integrated in some fashion into the replacement building. In fact, the neighboring parking lot could have been used for a new Blanchet House instead of sacrificing the Dirty Duck, but that option never seemed to be given even the slightest consideration by the City or the Portland Development Commission. This issue is ongoing as the replacement building designs will be reviewed by the Portland landmarks Commission in February.

Portland State University Expansion

The endless expansion of  the PSU campus continued in 2010, all without the guidance of a city approved master plan. The result was the loss of more historic urban fabric in the southern end of downtown.  First, they demolished a late 19th century house on southwest 11th owned by the school since the 1960s – during which time they could have easily renovated it into campus offices – much as they have the Simon Benson House. More recently, their College Station project, a huge student housing project, led to the demolition of an early 20th century apartment building and other adjacent structures near the intersection of 5th and College.

Windows

The onslaught against original wood windows seems to be never ending. However, more and more the concepts of fixing what we have, putting a stop to air infiltration, adding additional insulation in attics and walls, and installing storm windows  – seems to be gaining interest. We expect that this struggle won’t end anytime soon, given the size of the replacement window industry, but if ever there was a city that understood the value of reuse, it should be Portland.

Proposed Development NE 6th and Couch

Detail of Area Near NE 6th and Couch c. 1920s - Photo Courtesy of Doug Magedanz

This ongoing project would lead to the loss of two of the few remaining vintage residential buildings on NE Couch – along the newly opened Burnside-Couch Couplet. It seems that at least initially, residents of the building weren’t even notified of the building owners intentions to demolish these two buildings – buildings that could be likely candidates for National Register listing and potential tax credits. We continue to monitor this proposed project and have suggested the developer consider integrating the existing buildings into the new development. Historically, these two apartment buildings had a much taller building behind them facing Davis Street. Why not do the same with the new project?

This certainly is not a comprehensive list of the various preservation issues around the city, but we hope this gives new readers and current followers alike some insight into our work. We look forward to your continued support.

Best Wishes for 2011!

Val Ballestrem