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Another major twist in the ongoing Eastmoreland Historic District story -- now Oregon favors it

DAVID F. ASHTON - As the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office again submits the Eastmoreland Historic District Listing application to the National Parks Service, this time it is going with a state recommendation that the application be approved. With the Eastmoreland Historic District nomination Oregon Court of Appeals ruling having eliminated the "no" votes cast on behalf of the thousands of trusts representing just four properties – as reported in the May BEE – the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office (OSHPO) staff has applied that ruling to the other state and federal provisions, to recount the votes cast by residents for and against the proposed district – in order to resubmit the application to the National Parks Service (NPS) "National Register of Historic Places".

The controversy over whether or not to list Eastmoreland as an Historic District has sharply divided neighbors there. Originally there were questions at the state level as to exactly how to weigh the votes; then, last year, in the words of the OSHPO, "during our second review, four residents in the Eastmoreland neighborhood transferred ownership of their four properties and created 5,000 new trusts, then registered objections for them. . .

"The OSHPO resubmitted the nomination in May of 2018, noting that with objections from the new trusts, more than 50% of the owners objected to the nomination. The National Parks Service returned the nomination again in June, 2018, and directed the Oregon SHPO to ascertain 'whether these trusts are valid and whether they have a fee simple ownership in the properties at issue'."

Oregon Parks & Recreation Department Associate Director Chris Havel on May 23 of this year announced, "Applying the Court of Appeals' April decision [reported in the headline story in the May issue of THE BEE], OSHPO did not count trusts as either owners or objectors under the current review.

"As an exercise applying federal guidance, our staff also provided a mock count to the NPS that includes trusts, [but] counting the 5,000 new trusts as one single objection each for the four properties. "Even with the trusts hypothetically included as owners, objectors [to the Historic District designation] would still have fallen below the required 50% threshold to stop the process." Consequently, the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office has once again submitted the Eastmoreland application to the National Parks Service – this time with a recommendation for approval. Chris Havel concludes, "The NPS will make the final decision about listing the district, and may review and sign the document immediately upon receipt – or may choose to allow additional time for further consideration, at its own discretion."

Comments may be sent to the National Park Service at: National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, "Eastmoreland Historic District, Multnomah Co., OR", 1849 "C" Street, NW (7228), Washington, DC 20240.

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