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Portland, OR—Three National Register nominations recommended by the Oregon’s State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation (SACHP) at their November 2021 meeting have been accepted by the National Park Service and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

These important documents add to earlier ones outlining the history of African Americans in Portland, Oregon. The African American Resources in Portland from 1851- 1973 Multiple Property Document (MPD), accepted in 2020, provides a comprehensive history and tool for future listings of other African American properties.

This effort is in line with Oregon’s Statewide Preservation Plan that seeks to diversify the resources listed in the National Register and continue to tell the stories and uplift the voices of those previously marginalized. The African American MPD serves as a tool that also supports Goal 1 of the Oregon Heritage Plan. By including more voices in the stories told of Oregon’s past, Oregonians can think critically about history and work to accurately depict a more complete historical narrative of Oregon. The MPD was successfully implemented to submit the three following properties.

Dean’s Beauty Salon and Barber Shop - Located in Portland’s Eliot neighborhood on NE Hancock Street, Dean’s Beauty Salon and Barber Shop is the oldest confirmed, continuously-operating Black-owned barber shop or salon in Portland. The building, designed by Benjamin Dean with the assistance of local Portland architect Jack P. Stuhl, was completed and opened for business in 1956. It has transitioned through three generations of Dean family ownership, established itself as an important gathering space for the local African American community, and succeeded in creating generational wealth through entrepreneurship despite the discrimination they faced as Black business owners in mid-twentieth century Portland. During the period of significance (1956 to 1979), the business survived the upheaval of urban renewal and transportation development programs that displaced many of their clients and neighboring Black-owned businesses in Lower Albina. They remain an important cultural and gathering space for many members of Portland’s Black community.

Golden West Hotel – This was the only hotel in Portland with an African American proprietor and the only major hotel to welcome African American guests from 1906 to its closure in 1930, becoming one of the most important community gathering places for African Americans living in or visiting Portland. Located in Portland’s northwest quadrant just blocks from Portland’s Union Station, the hotel serviced mainly Black railway porters, cooks, barbers, waiters, and travelers who passed through Portland via Union Station, but also by traveling entertainers, athletes, politicians and activists, all of whom were denied lodging at white-owned establishments, because of their race. The hotel and the smaller commercial spaces in the basement and ground floor, most of which were owned and operated by African Americans, provided recreational opportunities and social gathering spaces for the local African American community in early twentieth-century Portland.

Mt. Olivet Baptist Church – This building was used primarily as a worship space, but is significant for its association with the history of Portland’s African American community and not from its religious association. The church was heavily involved in the local African American community as a venue for prominent speakers, choir performances, social events, and meetings of civil rights and community groups from 1923 through 1973 near the end of the Emanuel Hospital Urban Renewal Project. Mt. Olivet Baptist Church is the only church building that remains of the four African American Christian churches that relocated to Lower Albina in the early twentieth century.

The National Register is maintained by the National Park Service under the authority of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. More information about the National Register and recent Oregon listings are online at oregonheritage.org (listed under “Designate”).
Properties listed in the National Register are:

• Recognized as significant to the nation, state, or community;
• Considered in the planning of federal or federally-assisted projects;
• Eligible for federal and state tax benefits;
• Qualify for historic preservation grants when funds are available;
• Eligible for leniency in meeting certain building code requirements;
• Subject to local laws pertaining to the conservation and protection of historic resources.

National Register listing does not place any restrictions on a property at the state or federal level, unless property owners choose to participate in tax benefit or grant programs.

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