Historic District Nomination Fieldwork Has Started!

Laurelhurst has taken a big step. Over the past two weekends, expert consultants from PMA and neighborhood volunteers conducted the pilot phase of the historical field survey.

Yes, the historic district nomination work has really, truly started!

Explanation: for the Historic District nomination, we need to walk by every single house in Laurelhurst and take a photograph, record the architectural style and other information about the exterior of the house, and enter that information in a database for the State Historic Preservation Office. This is the historical field survey, formally called the "Reconaissance Level Survey" or RLS. Then the data will be made available to you and I, and we'll be asked to add to or correct the information on our houses.

Every. Single. House. There are over 1,830 houses in our neighborhood. Plus the arches, Joan of Arc, etc. This is a big job.

The LNA's consultant, PMA, will do this work in phases. Phase 1 is a "pilot" survey of the 9 blocks in the SE quad that are bounded by NE Glisan, NE Couch, NE Cesar Chavez and NE 44th. PMA will use this pilot survey to refine its process and train volunteers, then PMA and volunteers will proceed to Phases 2 through 5, which are the surveys of the rest of the SE quad (Phase 2), the NE quad (Phase 3), the SW quad (Phase 4), and the NW quad (Phase 5). Then PMA will prepare and submit the nomination itself (Phase 6) and shepherd it through the historic district process at the State of Oregon and ultimately the National Park Service (post-nomination phase).

Here are the PMA project leader, Kristen Minor, and PMA consultant Marion, during the pilot phase. As you can see, they wear bright safety vests, carry laptops, cameras, and clipboards, and do their work from the sidewalk. They don't come onto private property. They don't look in windows. They're not "casing" our houses. They are working for you!

Look for the survey teams in your quad over the next few months. They should be smiling - the consultants love walking around this historic neighborhood! The volunteers are, of course, walking on the same streets that they already know well. Look closely and you may recognize your neighbor in the fluorescent orange safety vest. Say hello and ask for the handout they carry, explaining more about the field survey.

How is all this being paid for? This is a grassroots, community effort. Donations from your friends and neighbors, neighborhood businesses, and other Portlanders who care about our city, are funding the nomination. The LNA, with help from Historic Laurelhurst, is leading the fundraising. We are asking for donations (tax deductible!), selling "Laurelhurst" merchandise, organizing events. Did you see our table outside the Markham House during Greekfest? Or attend the November 3 Comedy Night Fun-Raiser - that was fun! Look for us next at the Laurelhurst School Winter Bazaar.

The great news is that in only a few months, we have raised just over half of the needed funds. At present the LNA has sufficient funds in its Historic District account to pay for the survey work through almost all of phase 4 (SW quad). Would you consider helping with a donation, or a repeat donation? We don't want to leave the NW quad out in the cold.

As they start ramping up the survey work, PMA is also looking for more volunteers. There are many different tasks available: field survey work, historical research on the neighborhood, detailed historical research on specific houses, database entry . . . if you are interested in volunteering, or if you have questions about the survey and nomination work, please email lnahistoric@gmail.com.

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