The on-again, off-again drive to list the Eastmoreland neighborhood as a historic district is on again.
The Oregon State Historic Preservation Office has resubmitted the nomination to lthe Southeast Portland neighborhood on the National Register of Historic Places with a recommendation that it be listed. The nomination had previously been blocked when it appeared that a majority of property owners objected to the nomination. But, following a third review of the nomination, SHPO staff determined that only 48 percent of owners have filed objections.
The nomination was resubmitted to the National Park Service on Thursday, May 23.
Neighborhood activists originally sought the listing to prevent homes from being demolished in the early years of surge in residential redevelopment. Other neighbors opposed the listing for a variety of reasons, including the increased difficulty in remodeling their properties. Charges of racism and NIMBYism also flew, including in letters and opinion pieces in the Portland Tribune.
One issue that had to be resolved was how trusts would be counted. An April 3 decision by the Oregon State Court of Appeals held that SHPO could not follow federal guidance to count trusts as owners without first adopting state administrative rules. Since the state has not adopted those rules, trusts were then not included as either owners or objectors in the totals.
According to SHPO, the State Advisory Commission on Historic Preservation, a governor-appointed volunteer commission of people with interest and skill in Oregon history, first reviewed and recommended approval of the nomination in February 2017. Although SHPO staff concurred, they were unable to accurately establish the number of owners, and submitted it to the NPS in May 2017 noting this problem. The NPS returned the nomination for further work in June 2017. After a court-ordered delay, the SHPO and Oregon Department of Justice staff worked on ownership questions.
The NPS will make the final decision about listing the district, and may review and sign the document immediately upon receipt, or may choose to allow additional time for further consideration.
You can read a previous Portland Tribune story on the issue