Eastmoreland 'Historic District' decision stalled months longer
It looks like those hoping for the contentious "Eastmoreland Historic District" nomination to finally be decided, one way or the other, are going to be disappointed. The process is now expected to drag on well into 2020, THE BEE learned in early December.
The nomination process, started back in May 26, 2016, when the staff of the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) – a division of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) – attended a meeting sponsored by the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association to answer questions about the "National Register" process.
Eastmoreland neighbors rapidly becames polarized over the issue, and took opposite sides – those in favor of the historic district designation, and those opposed to it being so designated.
In July 2017, National Parks Service (NPS) National Register staff returned the subsequent nomination of a section of the neighborhood for Historic status for "procedural errors"; and a month later SHPO asked the NPS for clarification on the agency's procedures for resubmitting the nomination.
The Oregon Department of Justice gave direction for counting owners and objections to the SHPO in February 2018; and later that year, after a very few residents transferred ownership of their properties to thousands of new trusts – the process again slowed down.
In May 2019, nomination for the proposed Historic District was sent by the SHPO to the National Park Service for a final decision; and, it was again rejected by NPS, citing "continuing uncertainties" related to the counting of votes, pro and con, by owners within the proposed district boundaries.
Asked by THE BEE for a year-end update, Chris Havel, Associate Director of Communications, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department filled us in about the nomination's current status.
"While we will continue to process other nominations to the National Register, we have no plans to reconsider the Eastmoreland nomination until after we go through a formal process to update Oregon State rules for the program," Havel said.
"That rule review and amendment process will happen in 2020, and will take several months – with a joint internal/external team drafting language leading to a final recommendation, by or before fall," reported Havel. "Rulemaking involves a public comment period, [so] expect some news when it gets to that stage."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.