The City of Portland’s Historic Landmarks Commission will present the 2016 “State of Historic Preservation” report to the City Council on Wednesday December 7th at 2 pm. All are invited to the one-hour presentation, which will take place at Portland City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Avenue, to show support for the work of the Commission, and for heritage conservation in the Rose City. The City Council will not take action on any elements of the report, but there will be some time devoted to public comment.
Well worth reading, the annual report covers the Commission’s watch list, priorities and goals for 2017, a discussion of current preservation issues, and 2016 accomplishments. The watch list includes several historic districts, including New Chinatown/Japantown and East Portland/Grand Avenue – the latter home to the AHC. Several specific buildings are called out for concern, such as the Multnomah County Courthouse and Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum. AHC/BMF advocacy efforts have addressed all of these, and more, and we share the unease. Of unique note is the cast iron collection jointly held by the Portland Development Commission and the AHC. These late-nineteenth century artifacts were primarily salvaged from downtown historic districts, and are intended for re-use in both rehabilitation and new construction projects. The entire report is available at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bds/article/619268.
During this 50th anniversary year of the National Historic Preservation Act, Commission Chair Kirk Ranzetta notes, “Portlanders view historic preservation as a solution rather than a problem. Even as affordable housing has reached near crisis levels, historic buildings….may hold the potential to make an important contribution to resolving the housing crunch….Historic preservation is not a policy platform that focuses just on buildings, but on enriching the lives of all Portlanders, while being economically sound, socially, just, and environmentally sustainable.” The AHC heartily concurs, and looks forward to collaboration with the Commission in the coming year. We urge all our members to continued and increased participation in helping create public policy that respects the past while shaping the future.