It’s good that Historic Preservation “made the cut” and is included in the latest draft objectives for the Portland Plan. However, the subject is buried rather deep within the nine so-called “Action Areas” of the plan. It is clear that if preservation is going to gain any teeth, we’ll need to draw more attention to the cause.

If you look at the Portland Plan Action Areas, you’ll see that one is called Design, Planning, and Public Spaces. The only mention of historic preservation is located in this category under Direction 2, Objective C.

Here is what that objective says:  “Today, historic resources contribute to the identity of Portland. But, large areas of the city lack historic preservation strategies and have also not benefitted from energy retrofits or other efforts that link preservation and sustainability.

By 2035, preservation and reuse of historic buildings is integrated into Portland’s sustainable development strategies. The city has implemented strategies that promote the preservation of historic resources and energy retrofits throughout the city.”

The City also has another Community Survey that they are asking folks to fill out by June 1st. There are NO questions that ask about historic resources or neighborhood character in this survey.

If you have not already filled out the survey, here are some of the questions where you might add comments to raise the issue of historic preservation:

Question #8 – Housing Choices – The housing choices should be distributed throughout the entire city, not only in established traditional neighborhoods.

Question # 16 – Neighborhood satisfaction – We want to preserve our existing neighborhood character.

Question #18 – Household Energy – Do not support the removal/replacement of old-growth wood windows, this is not effective energy conservation.

Question # 22 – Backlog on Facilities Repairs – We should maintain and repair historic schools, parks, and other public buildings.

The last question (#23) asks “Are there any Missing Priorities?” – We need to raise the profile and visibility of our Historic Resources; the greenest buildings are those already built and they also define who we are.

Please take a few minutes and fill out the survey – comments about Historic Resources are very important!

If you are interested in seeing preservation gain more standing in the Portland Plan process, we urge you to let the City know and also consider attending one of the remaining public workshops on May 15th or 18th.