Monthly Archives: July 2010

Local Main Street Programs Make Strides

The Oregon City Main Street Program, was recently accredited by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The program, which aims at revitalizing historic downtowns or main streets, while preserving their character, was begun in Oregon City in 2008. To date, only 759 communities in the U.S. have achieved National Trust accreditation through the Main Street Program that they started nearly 30 years ago.

Recently, 3 neighborhoods in Portland were selected to become part of Portland’s Main Street Program: NE Alberta, St. John’s, and Hillsdale. You can find out more about the Portland Main Street programs here. Our hope is that they maintain a focus on historic preservation as they move forward in their revitalization efforts.

You can read more about the National Trust’s Main Street Program and what it takes to gain accreditation here.


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Heritage Home Tour This Saturday!

NW Portland home on the first ever AHC Heritage Home Tour

This Saturday from 10am – 4pm is the first ever Architectural Heritage Center Heritage Home Tour. Six amazing homes from the 1880s to 1980 will be on this tour. Included in the mix are homes designed by Pietro Belluschi, Herman Brookman and Ellis Lawrence, all renowned Portland architects. Proceeds from the tour benefit the ongoing education and advocacy efforts of the Bosco-Milligan Foundation, which owns and operates the AHC at 701 SE Grand Avenue in Portland.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see inside these wonderful homes!

You can learn more about the tour and order tickets at

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Filed under Events, Historic Preservation

Convention Center Plaza Slated for Renovation

If all goes as planned, Beam Development will soon acquire and renovate an old Sear’s warehouse on NE 3rd and Couch,  more commonly known as the Convention Center Plaza building. Until recently, it was thought that the building would be demolished, once the floundering Burnside Bridgehead redevelopment project got underway. The folks at Beam are known for their adaptive reuse projects around the city, including the Olympic Mills Commerce Center.

According to the Daily Journal of Commerce, Beam principal Brad Malsin is interested in restoring the original look of the building’s exterior and pursuing a listing in the National Register of Historic Places. This would be a fantastic step that would firmly implant historic preservation into the bridgehead project, providing another great example of adaptive reuse in the Central East Side.

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Filed under Historic Preservation, Sustainability

Preservation = Jobs and Economic Development

Blagen Block - NW 1st Avenue

A recent Rutgers University study supports the notion that the Federal Historic Tax Credit is a great job creation tool. According to the study, 1.8 million jobs have been created as a result of the program that was  first implemented in 1976.  Approximately 75 percent of the economic effects of the credit are retained locally too, meaning that most of the money generated through this job producing program, is retained locally.

In Delaware, a state run historic preservation tax credit program, has generated $166 million in investments for only $35 million in tax credits. The credit has also led to the creation of 2,400 new jobs, according to another study by Donovan Rypkema of Place Economics.

Perhaps in this time of high unemployment, it’s time we considered the creation of a similar and local preservation tax credit or an expansion of the existing Oregon Special Assessment program? It could help put the construction industry back to work, but with a focus on preservation rather than new construction. That would be a win for workers, a win for our economy,  and a win for the environment.

You can read more about the Rutgers study here.

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Commemorative Plaques to Honor Povey Brother Glass Company

Perhaps the most important stained glass window producers the Pacific Northwest has ever known, the Povey Brothers Glass Company may soon receive some much deserved recognition.

The owner of the Povey Glass Co. Building at 408 NW 5th is proposing to place two bronze plaques on the former factory/warehouse to commemorate the Povey’s and their magnificent work. Since the building is a primary contributing structure within the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District, the proposal must be approved by the Portland Landmarks Commission.

The Povey Brothers were the artisans behind the stained glass in several downtown churches, including The Old Church, the First Congregational and the First Christian Church. Their work also includes the Deepwood Estate in Salem. They even designed the stained glass skylight in Portland’s oldest restaurant, Huber’s.

Povey stained glass was also an inspiration to the founders of the Bosco-Milligan Foundation, Ben Milligan and Jerry Bosco, who operated two stained glass businesses of their own, Genesis Glass and then West’s Block Glass in the 1970s-80s. Unfortunately, numerous Portland buildings that once held Povey Glass windows have been demolished. Today the Bosco-Milligan Foundation holds several Povey windows in its building artifact collection.

It’s great to see them receive more acknowledgment for their contribution to Portland’s (and the region’s) built environment.

Povey stained glass from the Bosco-Milligan Foundation Collection


Filed under Historic Preservation, Local History

New Life for the Guild Theater?

Studio Building ca. 1980

Shuttered for several years, yet in a prime location directly facing the new Director Park, the Guild Theater deserves another chance to become a viable venue for theater, music, and other live events. According to recent reports in the Oregonian, that may just happen.

Opera Theater Oregon is hoping they can convince building owner Tom Moyer to give them the opportunity to revamp the theater.  One major issue however is that the Guild no longer has bathrooms.  The Guild is connected to the wonderful Studio building and during the renovation of the Studio’s ground floor space (now home to an Italian restaurant), the Guild’s bathrooms were eliminated.

Built in 1927, the Guild Theater and the Studio Building were designed by Luther Lee Dougan. Dougan designed a number of buildings in the vicinity of the Guild/Studio buildings, including the Medical-Dental Building on SW 11th and Taylor. Together with Chester Houghtaling, Dougan also designed the Elks Club building (now part of the Governor Hotel). Houghtaling and Dougan were also the architects of Washington High School – as you may know – another Portland building that desperately need renovation.

Besides the bathrooms, there are of course many other repairs and upgrades that the aging Guild Theater needs, but surely these obstacles can be overcome and the Guild’s marquee could once again shine brightly downtown.

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Good Samaritan Expansion Endangers Vintage Homes in NW Portland

Expansion plans at Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital in NW Portland could lead to the demolition of  four vintage homes, according to the latest issue of the Northwest Examiner. Included in the mix is the Green Gables Guest House, built in 1904 as well as the homes at 2169 NW Northrup, and 2140 and 2148 NW Overton.

Green Gables Guest House - 2183 NE Northrup

All of the properties are currently owned by Good Sam, so if they do decide to demolish, there is currently little that can be done stop them.  The two properties on Northrup are listed in the aged Portland Historic Resources Inventory, but have no official historic designation – meaning there is no protection against demolition.

Of course it is possible that Good Sam might be willing to offer up the homes for someone or some organization to relocate. If that were to occur and a suitable nearby site were found, it could mean the buildings remain part of the neighborhood fabric. They could even be used to fill in “missing teeth” lots in the area or perhaps could become part of any new development connected to the Con-Way site only a few block s to the north.

Stay tuned. We’ll be keeping track of any further developments on this issue.


Filed under Historic Preservation, Sustainability