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National Park Service returns proposed Eastmoreland Historic District nomination

July 22, 2019

SALEM, Ore., Monday, July 22, 2019 -- The National Park Service (NPS) has returned the Eastmoreland Historic District nomination to the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), a division of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD). The federal NPS cited continuing uncertainties related to counting owners within the proposed district boundaries. The SHPO plans to go through a formal rule-setting process to address federal concerns.

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. The nomination was returned and resubmitted twice to the NPS since then over issues related to counting owners and objections. If more than 50% of owners in a proposed district object, the district is not listed in the National Register.

The SHPO most recently submitted the nomination for federal review on May 23, 2019. The NPS identified at least two unresolved issues: a complete, accurate count of property owners and objections, and a conflict between federal guidelines related to trusts and a recent ruling by the Oregon Court of Appeals that requires a federal regulation or state rule recognizing trusts as owners for purposes of the program prior to the SHPO counting objections from trusts.

View the full text of the nomination document and the park service’s return letter online: https://www.oregon.gov/oprd/HCD/NATREG/Pages/Eastmoreland-Historic-District.aspx

As a potential resolution, OPRD intends to propose administrative rule revisions that implement the National Register program in Oregon.  The process will likely begin in late 2019 and extend into 2020 before the State Historic Preservation Officer would consider final adoption of rules.  SHPO will then determine whether to resubmit the nomination if rules are adopted and resubmission is appropriate under such rules. Other nominations could still move through the existing nomination process as long as they don’t involve the same complicated issues that have affected the Eastmoreland nomination.

The proposed Eastmoreland Historic District is located in Portland, Multnomah County. It encompasses approximately 475 acres and is generally bounded SE Woodstock Blvd on the north; SE Cesar E Chavez Blvd and SE 36th Ave on the east; Berkeley Park and SE Crystal Springs Blvd on south; and SE 27th and 28th Ave on the west. The Eastmoreland Historic District is considered significant for its relationship to community planning and development trends in Portland in the early twentieth century, most notably for its reflection of City Beautiful planning principles, and for its eclectic yet cohesive mix of early twentieth century architectural styles.