Consultant Selected, Historic District Work Beginning Soon

Breaking news! The LNA has selected a consultant for our Historic District nomination, and work will begin soon.

In May, our neighborhood submitted 1,817 declarations for and against the Historic District. This was the largest number of responses on any neighborhood issue in Laurelhurst’s history. By an overwhelming margin of 83.4% “support” to 13.2% “oppose”, our neighborhood supports Laurelhurst being listed as a Historic District.

It is not enough to just say we want a Historic District. We have to do the work. That means raising the funds, hiring a consultant, completing the necessary survey, and submitting a nomination. This is a big job that must be led by a highly qualified consultant. Here is an example of a nomination: the 2010 nomination for Irvington.

The LNA’s Historic District Committee conducted a competitive bidding process for the consultant. The committee met with the State Historic Preservation Office and the city of Portland, contacted experienced consultants, consulted other historic districts, gathered background data, prepared a Request For Proposal, reviewed consultant bids and negotiated cost and scope, before recommending a consultant to the LNA board.

Ultimately the LNA selected Peter Meijer Architect (PMA) as the consultant for our Historic District Nomination. The work will be led by Kristen Minor and conducted by PMA staff, interns, and volunteers. PMA's initial proposal describes the work and plan.

PMA provides architectural and planning services with a focus on historic preservation. Local work includes the historic nominations for Memorial Coliseum and the Portland Building, historic nomination for Oregon State University's historic district, historic inventories and surveys for parts of Hillsboro and Lake Oswego, and most recently the guidelines for Portland’s Chinatown & Japantown Historic District.

Firm principal Peter Meijer is a Laurelhurst resident but PMA and Meijer did not participate in the committee’s work (except as one of the bidders) and did not participate in or attend any meetings of the committee or board related to consultant selection. PMA’s final negotiated bid price for the work is $60,000. The next lowest bid price was more than double PMA’s initial bid!

PMA will conduct its work in phases, starting with a survey of the neighborhood, and then to preparation and submission of the nomination. The phasing is meant to allow us to raise the necessary funds.

Phase 1: Pilot survey of part of SE quad

Phase 2: Survey rest of SE quad

Phase 3: Survey NE quad

Phase 4: Survey SW quad

Phase 5: Survey NW quad

Phase 6: Prepare and submit Nomination

Phase 1 will start in November, and the remaining phases will follow, roughly one per month, until the nomination is completed and submitted in June 2018. The nomination will be reviewed by the Portland Landmarks Commission, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), the State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation, and finally approved by the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places.

If PMA starts the work now, and if we can raise the necessary funds to keep the work on schedule, Laurelhurst can be a Historic District by the end of 2018.

Our neighborhood will have the final say on this. In fall 2018, SHPO will solicit written objections, and a majority of property owners can terminate the nomination.

If you are in the SE quad, you will soon see PMA’s survey teams, in bright orange vests, taking photographs and typing on laptops. They will not enter on our private property or look in our windows. The survey is only concerned with house exteriors to the extent visible from the street. The data will be posted online, so we can check and correct the information. A contact person will answer any questions, and PMA will be conducting public neighborhood briefings.

To hold down the cost, PMA is asking for volunteers to help with historical research, the survey, data entry, and photography. Contact lnahistoric@gmail.com if you are interested in helping or learning more.

Please follow the work and our fundraising, on our Facebook page.

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