Eastmoreland neighborhood pushing to become historic district


As the City of Portland continues to develop, one neighborhood is pushing back against the change.

The signs of pending changes in the Eastmoreland neighborhood are everywhere.

"In a sense, this is a neighborhood planning exercise. It's a way of our shaping the future of the neighborhood," said Rod Merrick, who lives in Eastmoreland.

The Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association is making a case that a section of the neighborhood should be listed as a historic district, arguing that the area is a prime example of late 19th and early 20th century architecture and city planning.

"It comes out of the City Beautiful Movement, which is kind of an integration of nature and architecture," said Merrick.

The efforts to secure a historic designation began a few years ago, after neighbors became concerned about an increase in home demolitions and split lots.

"It just became a thought process of how are we going to prevent this or slow it down," said Tom Hansen, President of Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association.

Recently, the neighborhood association completed its initial application and sent it to the State Historic Preservation Office for review.

"There's enough information in there for it to be considered. It makes a decent enough, complete enough argument for discussion," said Ian Johnson with the State Historic Preservation Office.

A historic designation would put controls on new development, and supporters say, protect the character of the neighborhood, but there is no shortage of neighbors opposed to the idea.

"Right now, I don't support it," said one neighbor.

"Now there's a lot of controversy and a lot of animosity among people who live here over this, and I think that's very unfortunate," said another neighbor.

The proposed historic district would include the Eastmoreland Golf Course, and the neighborhoods just to its east, with Woodstock Boulevard as a northern boundary and Crystal Springs Boulevard as a southern border.

"This neighborhood is special, in terms of architectural preservation, tasteful remodeling of homes," said Hansen.

But a historic district would also put controls on what homeowners can do with their properties.

"It does take away some of the rights of property owners," said an Eastmoreland resident.

The push for a historic district still has a lot of hurdles to clear, with the final decision made by the National Parks Service.

During the process, neighbors can write letters objecting the idea to the State Parks Department, and a simple majority would effectively stop the process.

Supporters of the plan, though, remain optimistic they have the support to move forward.

"It's not a matter of freezing it in time. It's a matter of guiding how it's developed in the future," said Merrick.

Copyright 2017 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.



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