Earthquakes may endanger our historic buildings, but we mustn't let those concerns be manipulated

Sometimes it's not tragedy, but fear of it that can damage a community.

Such may be the case at the Northwest Neighborhood Cultural Center in Portland. This century-old landmark and its tenant of 25 years, the Northwest Children's Theater and School, are seemingly being threatened by an effort from within.

In 1909, the first Christian Science church west of the Mississippi was built in Northwest Portland, in a classical Beaux Arts style with Roman columns and a magnificent dome, courtesy of prominent Chicago architect Solon Spencer Beman. By the 1970s, though, with its congregation dwindling, the church decided to donate the building to the neighborhood, provided it serve the community and its historic architecture be preserved.

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