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Eastmoreland Historic District Nomination resubmitted to National Park Service, recommends listing

May 23, 2019

Salem, Ore. Thursday, May 23, 2019 -- The Oregon State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has resubmitted a nomination to list Portland’s Eastmoreland neighborhood on the National Register of Historic Places and recommends it be listed. Following a third review of the nomination, SHPO staff determined fewer than 50% of owners have filed an objection to the nomination. Had objectors been in the majority, the nomination would have stopped. The SHPO resubmitted the document to the National Park Service (NPS) on May 23, 2019.

The nomination document and all materials submitted to the National Park Service are online at http://bit.ly/eastmorelandhistoric.

Applying federal and state laws and rules, the SHPO determined that the total number of property owners is 1,988, with 956, or 48%, objecting to listing the District. 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 not included as either owners or objectors in the totals.

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. SHPO staff concurred, but 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.

During the SHPO’s second review, four residents in the Eastmoreland neighborhood transferred ownership of their four properties and created 5,000 new trusts, then registered objections for them as allowed under federal guidance for the program. The SHPO resubmitted the nomination in May 2018, noting that with objections from the new trusts, more than 50% of the owners objected to the nomination. The NPS returned the nomination again in June 2018, and directed the Oregon SHPO “to ascertain whether these trusts are valid and whether they have a fee simple ownership in the properties at issue.”

Applying the Court of Appeals’ April decision, SHPO did not count trusts as either owners or objectors under the current review. As an exercise applying federal guidance, SHPO staff also provided a mock count to the NPS that includes trusts, counting the 5,000 new trusts as one single objection for each of the four properties. Even with the trusts hypothetically included as owners, objectors would still have fallen below the required 50% threshold to stop the process.

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, at its own discretion. Additional comments may be sent to the National Park Service at:
National Park Service
National Register of Historic Places
Eastmoreland Historic District, Multnomah Co., OR
1849 C Street, NW (7228)
Washington, DC 20240

By email to Alexis_Abernathy@nps.gov.
The Oregon SHPO requests that all correspondence be copied to the office at
Eastmoreland Historic District
State Historic Preservation Office
725 Summer Street NE, Suite C
Salem, OR 97301

By email to ORSHPO.NationalRegisterProgram@oregon.gov