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Oregon State Historic Preservation Office recommends National Park Service not list Eastmoreland in National Register of Historic Places

May 15, 2017

The Oregon State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has submitted an application to the National Park Service prepared by proponents of the Eastmoreland neighborhood in Portland to create a new National Register Historic District. In the submission, the Oregon SHPO recommends against listing the area on the National Register of Historic Places due to an unresolved problem defining the number of owners in the proposed district boundary.

The number of owners is important, since federal application requirements allow the nomination process to stop if more than 50% of the owners object. Without a total count of owners, it isn't possible for the Oregon SHPO to know whether more than 50% of them object.

The application was received and reviewed by the State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation, a volunteer group of people with interest and skill in Oregon history. It recommended listing Eastmoreland on the National Register based on its historic qualities, and in the submission from the Oregon SHPO to the National Park Service, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer Christine Curran agrees.

When the original application was submitted for state review in February, the number of owners was based on county tax records and totaled 2,600. State and federal rules don't clearly answer how to resolve complications arising from deceased owners and trusts, among other circumstances, so Oregon SHPO staff sought guidance from federal and county officials. The number of owners dropped throughout the state's 90-day evaluation period, and now stands at 2,074. Owners who object must send in a notarized statement, and as of May 12, 925 had done so.

In Curran's submission to the National Park Service, she says "While the submitted owner list represents our best efforts to date, concerns about it have been raised and unsettled ownership issues remain. As a result, we do not have confidence that the list is indeed complete and accurate. I therefore do not recommend that the Eastmoreland Historic District be listed in the National Register of Historic Places at this time. Should the National Park Service concur with my finding, the Oregon SHPO asks that the nomination be returned to our office with guidance on how to resolve the procedural requirements issue."

"It's important to recognize historic neighborhoods and how they reflect Oregon's history," Curran added. "Listing on the National Register of Historic Places needs to be done correctly and without ambiguity, and since this one is so close to the 50% mark, we need to resolve the ownership issue cleanly before proceeding."

The National Park Service can take up to 45 days to review and respond. Public comment and new objections should be submitted to the National Park Service:

Attn: J. Paul Loether, Deputy Keeper
National Park Service
SUBJECT: Eastmoreland, Portland, Oregon
National Register of Historic Places
1849 C St. NW, Mail Stop 7228
Washington, D.C. 20240

... with a copy to the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office at oregon.heritage@oregon.gov.