Irvington Historic District Boundaries Challenged

The Oregon State Historic Preservation Office has received a completed application by a group of Irvington Historic District property owners seeking to reduce the district boundaries. The application proposes the removal of all or part of 27 blocks in an area bounded by Fremont on the north, Knott Street on the south, 21st Avenue on the west, and the existing boundary near 27th Avenue to the east. The district was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in November, 2010.

The Irvington Community Association (ICA), which sponsored the original historic district nomination, has engaged Kirk Ranzetta, the professional historian who prepared that nomination, to assist in developing the case against the boundary change. The ICA intends to oppose this change with all the resources at its disposal.

In its partnership role with the Portland Coalition for Historic Resources, the AHC will be considering responses to the proposal, which is extremely detrimental to the principles establishing historic districts, and could set damaging precedents for districts around the nation. The Architectural Heritage Center is opposed to this proposed change in the district boundaries.

The State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation will consider this application on Friday, February 20, 2015, at which time testimony will be taken from parties concerned with this case. The complete application and re-nomination that would effect this change can be downloaded here. For distribution to the SACHP prior to their meeting, send public comments to Ian Johnson at the State Historic Preservation Office by January 19: Ian.Johnson@oregon.gov, or Ian Johnson, Oregon Heritage, Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept., 725 Summer St NE, Ste C, Salem OR 97301. Comments sent in later can be distributed to the SACHP at their February 19-20 meeting.

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3 Comments

Filed under Historic Preservation

3 responses to “Irvington Historic District Boundaries Challenged

  1. Russell Senior

    Maybe ICA should have considered the consequences of revolt before the boundary overreach. Also, by providing a meaningful way of participating in the decision, besides the rather undemocratic assumption that silence-equals-yes, with the only way to register dissent through a notarized letter to DC. There are plenty of legitimate grievances against the process. The people who think that the historical designation is such a wonderful idea should be prepared to shoulder the costs of the design review and the incremental costs that the design review may yield. Take responsibility for your convictions!

  2. This is a mistake by those opposed to the district. Living in a Historic District provides protections unlike any other. Yes, renovation may be a little harder and more strict. However, the benefit is that your neighbors must also follow the rules. In the end the integrity of the neighborhood is maintained. I come from a neighborhood where 6 houses are currently slated to be demolished – likely to be replaced by multi-unit buildings. Existing houses are being modified in horrible ways completely erasing the character of the neighborhood. I would welcome a historic district. Should I ever be in the market, buying a house in a historic district will be high on the want list.

    • Tony Greiner

      I sympathize with the preservation movement, but Irvington’s rules are so complex that the Community Association’s advice on any project is to hire an architect. There are some deep pockets in that neighborhood, but that sort of “let them eat cake” response pretty much guarantees pushback.

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