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Central Oregon Canal Historic District
Proposed Central Oregon Canal Historic District, Bend Vicinity, Deschutes County

This page describes what a historic district is, the listing process, and the benefits and responsibilities of owning a listed property. 

The State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation  (SACHP) voted to table the National Register of Historic Places nomination for the Central Oregon Canal Historic District on October 20, 2017. See "Project Timeline and Important Dates" for more information. The nomination document has been resubmitted and will be reviewed by the SACHP at its June 22, 2018 meeting in Redmond at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds.

Use the links below to navigate to specific information.

What Is The National Register of Historic Places and a Historic District?
The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of buildings, districts, structures, sites, and objects important to local, state, or national history. The program is run by the National Park Service in Washington DC, and administered locally by the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), an office of the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department.
A historic district is an area, neighborhood, or a concentrated collection of related structures that together convey their shared historical significance. To be eligible for listing in the Register, the district must be able to convey that significance by maintaining sufficient historic integrity.
What Is The Central Oregon Canal Historic District?
The proposed Central Oregon Canal Historic District is an approximately 3.5-mile long stretch of the approximately 40-mile Central Oregon Canal, a historically significant structure built in the early years of the twentieth century. Together with the Pilot Butte Canal, the Central Oregon Canal provided water to the farms and ranches of central Oregon, turning the land from an arid desert landscape to the highly-productive, irrigated agricultural land it is today, dramatically influencing the historical development and fortunes of the central Oregon area, and playing significant roles in the foundation and growth of the cities there, including Bend and Redmond, among many others. For these reasons, the Central Oregon Canal Historic District is nominated for listing in the National register of Historic Places for its significance in the areas of Exploration and Settlement, Agriculture.
The nomination document describes the proposed Central Oregon Canal Historic District as a representative segment of the Central Oregon Canal, just southeast of Bend, between Ward Road and Gosney Road. Boundary Map. Construction began in 1903 at the intake diversion on the Deschutes River. In 1905, the nominated segment was constructed, and the canal was completed to Powell Butte in 1908. By 1912, the main canals were completed, and lateral canals and ditches were being constructed. The nomination asserts that the segment under consideration for listing was a critical and difficult section of the canal to construct, due to the overall topography of the system’s planned delivery area, flow and volume needs, and, most importantly, the difficult, rocky terrain through which the canal had to pass in order to achieve the goals of the development.

A full copy of the draft nomination document can be downloaded by clicking on the following links:

     View the National Register nomination [pdf] 


How Does The National Register Nomination Process Work?
Any person or organization can nominate a property or district for listing in the National Register of Historic Places by submitting a nomination to the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office. A complete nomination for a historic district includes the nomination form, property list, maps, photos, and exhibits. Once received, SHPO staff reviews the document for completeness, and then provides the preparer with a memo, if needed, outlining required changes to meet the minimum standards set by the National Park Service and making suggestions to improve the document.
Nominations that meet the minimum standards are forwarded to the State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation (SACHP), a nine member, governor-appointed body of citizens with expertise in fields relating to historic preservation. The nomination document is also provided to the City of Portland for comment. The City will hold a separate public hearing on the nomination.
At its meeting, the SACHP considers comments by local officials, staff, and interested citizens and recommends to the SHPO and the National Park Service to accept or reject a property or district for listing in the National Register, or defer the nomination for future consideration. Only the National Park Service can list a property in the Register. A draft agenda is posted below.
A project timeline is below. As part of the process, local officials and the general public are invited to participate.
Project Timeline And Important Dates
June 22, 2018 – On June 22, 2018, the State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation considered the revised nomination of the Central Oregon Canal Historic District (Ward Rd. to Gosney Rd.), and voted to table the nomination for additional revisions. Audio of the hearing for the Central Oregon Canal Historic District is available for download, below.

Correspondence and Audio Recording of the June 2018 Meeting of the State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation
Due to the size of the correspondence files and audio file recording of the SACHP discussion for the proposed Central Oregon Canal Historic District, these files can be downloaded through a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) site.
Instructions for accessing the FTP site

Copy and paste into your browser address bar (Note: If you are using Windows Explorer, view the FTP site as a Windows Explorer page. Do this by selecting “Page” from the menu bar in the browser, then selecting “Open FTP site in Windows Explorer”)
When a dialog box appears, use the following information to log in:
Login: shpoguest
Password: welcome
(login and password are case sensitive)
Double-click on “Outgoing” and download the entire folder named Central Oregon Canal Historic District. Once the folder opens, click on the file to download. Do this by “copying” the entire folder and then “pasting” it to your desktop.
July 3, 2017 – SHPO received the draft nomination from the preparer.
October 20, 2017 – State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation votes to table the nomination for the Central Oregon Canal Historic District pending additional documentation.

     View the Annotated SACHP agenda (post meeting) [pdf]

     Post SACHP Revision Memo; October 25, 2017 [pdf]

     View the first draft of the nomination [pdf]

January 8, 2018 -  On January 8, 2018, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)removed the Central Oregon Canal Historic District (Ward Road-to-Gosney Road) from the agenda for the February 2018 meeting of the State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation (SACHP). This action was taken in response to recommendations received from both the Deschutes County Board of Commissioners and the Deschutes County Historic Landmarks Commission that the Central Oregon Canal Historic District is not eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Federal law (54 USC 302504) states that when both the Chief elected official and local landmarks commission recommend against listing, the nomination process must stop. These recommendations against listing were received by the SHPO in October 2017, however, it was not clear at the time that the threshold for applying the provision had been met until the question was raised by the Central Oregon Irrigation District in a letter dated January 2, 2018. Consequently, the nomination remained on the agenda for the October 2017 meeting of the SACHP. At that meeting, the SACHP voted to table the nomination for revisions, which were made, and the revised nomination was submitted for consideration at the upcoming February 2018 meeting. Please refer to the letter below for additional details and appeal process information.

            Letter to Central Oregon Irrigation District attorney from SHPO [pdf]   

March 1, 2018 - The nomination for the proposed Central Oregon Canal Historic District (Ward Road-to-Gosney Road is resubmitted and scheduled for the June 22nd meeting of the State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation in Redmond at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds.

What Does Listing In The National Register Of Historic Places Mean?
The SHPO and the federal government do not regulate private property unless the owner chooses to take advantage of federal and state tax incentives or grants. Local county and city governments, however, are required by state law to protect properties listed in the National Register. Because local laws vary from place to place, property owners or those looking to purchase properties through which the nominated canal passes should contact Zachariah Heck at the Deschutes County Community Development Department at (541) 385-1704, Zechariah.Heck@deschutes.org, for more information.

View the SHPO National Register webpage the outlines Benefits and Responsibilities for listed properties, the National Register process, and how to list a property here:
View information on Oregon grants that are available to owners of National Register properties and other cultural resources and institutions here: 
View information on SHPO tax incentives programs available to owners of National Register properties here:
How Do I Object Or Support Listing In The National Register of Historic Places?
Owners of private property may object to listing their property in the National Register by submitting a notarized statement to the SHPO certifying that the individual is the sole or partial owner of the property and that they object to the listing. The proposed district will not be listed if a majority of the property owners object. Supporters do not need to submit a notarized statement.
Each owner of private property in a district has one “vote” regardless of how many properties or what part of the one property that individual owns, and regardless of whether the property contributes to the significance of the proposed district. An owner is defined as an entity (individual, partnership, corporation) holding fee simple title to property. Divisions of government, including schools and fire districts, may not object to listing. Properties owned by a trust or trustee are only allowed a single vote, whether or not there are multiple owners/trustees for the property. More information on this topic can be found here:

How to count owners in historic districts [pdf]

Property owner list provided by Deschutes County [pdf]
The right to object is described more fully in the federal regulations governing the National

Register program, 36 CFR 60.6.  A link to these regulations may be found at:
Please use the objection and support forms provided below. Additional written comments are welcome.
Letters of support may be submitted by email or regular mail. Original signed and notarized objections must be mailed to:
State Historic Preservation Office
ATTN: Tracy Zeller
725 Summer Street NE, Suite C
Salem, OR 97301
Letters of Support may be emailed to Tracy Zeller at Tracy.Zeller@oregon.gov
Objection comments received as of November 9, 2017 

Support comments received as of November 9, 2017
Objection forms received as of November 9, 2017
Support forms received as of November 9, 2017 
Questions About The Information On This Page?

Jason Allen, Preservation Specialist
Oregon State Historic Preservation Office
Phone: 503-986-0579


Questions About Deschutes County's Land-Use Regulations And The Local Listing Process?
Zachariah Heck, Associate Planner
Deschutes County Community Development
Deschutes County
Phone: 541-385-1704