Protesters plea to save historic Portland building - KPTV - FOX 12

Protesters plea to save historic Portland building

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Courtesy: Kandra Kent Courtesy: Kandra Kent
PORTLAND, OR (AP) -

A few dozen protesters rallied around a historical building in southeast Portland Saturday morning, as the former home of Belmont Records faces likely demolition for development. 

Protest-organizer Stacey Atwell said if the ball swings, more than just the building’s walls on 3334 SE Belmont St. that will crumble. 

“A block like this is why people move to Portland, and if we continue to destroy the buildings and tear down what makes the cultural fabric of the city, we’re losing a critical piece,” Atwell said. “When you tear down history, it can not be replaced.” 

Atwell said about 5,300 people have signed a petition to save the building, and many of them feel frustrated by what the describe as a nonexistent process to saving old buildings. 

“People feel completely voiceless at city hall,” said Stop Demolishing Portland organizer Karen Crichton, adding that the demolition of historical buildings has become quite familiar in recent years as Portland’s tight housing market becomes more unstable — a lucrative opportunity for big builders to cash in to the demand. 

But developer Valerie Hunter with Get-R-Done LCC. doesn’t see it that way. She said when her company tears down the Belmont building, they’ll be replacing it with a safer one that maintains historical charm. Hunter told Fox 12 the housing will be below-market value, and help people get into homes.

“We’re bringing back character, we’re doing affordable housing,” Hunter said. “They’re (the protesters) are fighting the wrong cause.” 

Hunter said she has not yet applied for demolition permits, but plans to do so. The city said it approved her application to take the building off the historic resources inventory in February. 

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