The National Park Service has listed the Laurelhurst Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.
The application was accepted on March 18 and announced in an April 11 press release from Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. The Oregon's State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation recommended the historic district's nomination at their October 2018 meeting.
The listing is controversial. Supporters owning property in the district said the listing was not only justified, but could help manage the kind of redevelopment being proposed by the city's Residential Infill Project, which is seeking to eliminate most single-family zoning. Opponents said the additional housing encouraged by the RIP recommendation would allow more people to live in desirable parts of the city, like the Laurelhurst neighborhood.
The conflict is also happening at the 2019 Oregon Legislature with HB 2001, which is sponsored by Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, who represents parts of North and Northeast Portland.
Both fights are playing themselves out with dueling opinion pieces on the Portland Tribune's editorial page.
According to the press release, "The Laurelhurst Historic District is significant as Portland's only residential subdivision that captures the planning principles of the 'City Beautiful' era and is notable for its examples of early 20th century American domestic architecture. The architecture in Laurelhurst includes styles such as Minimal Traditional cottages, WWII-era cottages, and early Ranch designs of the 1930s and 1940s."
The district encompasses approximately 392 acres and is generally bounded on the north by Northeast Multnomah and Northeast Senate streets; the east by Northeast 44th Avenue and Southeast 44th Avenue; on the south by Southeast Stark Street; and on the west by Southeast 32nd Avenue and Northeast 33rd Avenue.
Properties listed in the National Register are:
• Recognized as significant to the nation, state, or community;
• Considered in the planning of federal or federally assisted projects;
• Eligible for federal and state tax benefits;
• Qualify for historic preservation grants when funds are available;
• Eligible for leniency in meeting certain building code requirements;
• Subject to local laws pertaining to the conservation and protection of historic resources.
According to the press release, National Register listing does not place any restrictions on a property at the state or federal level, unless property owners choose to participate in tax benefit or grant programs. Oregon State law requires local governments to review the demolition and relocation of properties listed in the National Register.
You can read a previous Portland Tribune story about the issue here.
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