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Frank Dufay

Thanks, Brian. I think your point is well-taken about saving the carriage-house vs saving the apartment building.

The absurdity, too, of all this is we're essentially commissioing --and subsidizing-- "affordable housing" in one part of downtown, while destroying it an another.

Portland's Preservation Laws absolutely do need to be revisited. They're essentially toothless and voluntary, and we will continue to lose treasures like the Rosefriend until we do.

val

Yes, indeed this is a tragedy. The Rosefriend serves as the latest example of how - as Frank said "Portland's Preservation laws need to be revisited." Neighborhoods - and downtown should be considered a neighborhood too - are losing their historic character because of zealous developers who blindly spout the need for density and the wonders of new architecture at the cost of our already built, aesthetically pleasing, sometimes historically significant, and ever-fragile environment.
Sure, maybe the developer will use green building materials, but what about the already extant materials? What a waste of our resources tearing one tower down to build another! Oh, wait, we're supposed to be content knowing that some light fixtures or other bits will go to Rejuvenation or Hippo's but what about all those bricks, bricks that are completely usable and functioning today, but which will likely be headed to a landfill in December? Whether a building is historic or not, this incident is a historic waste of a perfectly useful structure.

As for the Carriage House, for different reasons it is also important to preserve. This building is the last of its kind in this area, not to mention it is connected to one of Portland's founding fathers. That the only remaining structure from W.S. Ladd's downtown home is his carriage house - speaks volumes about earlier movements in Portland to get rid of old buildings - and should serve as a reminder of not only Ladd, but HOW MUCH else has already been lost. We need these small reminders of our past and I hope city officials and other government bodies will recognize the need to restructure our historic preservation laws in order to further encourage preservation thereby protecting not only the past but our future.

mike conroy

I'm very dissapointed. The only option left would be to chain myself to the building dressed as a crucified saint.

scott

My information comes from the public hearing document for the Ladd project, which I reviewed online Nov. 1 but didn't save, so might not be entirely correct or current. In that document, the developers stated that they will be preserving the current arch leading to the Rosefriend and using that as the gate to the church's private garden. The gate will be adjacent the sidewalk on Broadway between the Carriage House and the Ladd Tower. It looks like the garden can be viewed through an iron fence they'll be putting up.

Second, from a North-facing side-elevation view, the 27' setback on the glass part of the Ladd Tower appears to mirror the setback of the dome on the church. The three story base (not set back) on the Park Street side has a similar mass and height to the part below the dome. This is too coincidental to be an accident.

Finally, the document stated that the Ladd Carriage House was to be remodeled, with a more recent addition taken off (looks like it will be shortened) and the original structure of the building set back from the sidewalk by 5 feet. If the remodel of the Simon Benson House (now serving as the Alumni Center on PSU's campus) is any indication, the finished building should look nice.

I walk by the Rosefriend building almost every day and will be sorry to see it go. I have not seen the inside, and thus cannot comment on whether the interior is architecturally significant. But the outside certainly has character, and is built to a human scale that enhances any urban walk. My hope is that someone architecturally catalogs the Rosefriend before demolition. Who knows? Perhaps someone in the future will reuse these materials and rebuild the building somewhere else.

Jeff Joslin

It is true that our code-based regulation pertaining to historic preservation is, today, voluntary. However, we didn't get there voluntarily.

A few years ago, statutory limitations were proposed to require owner consent when designating structures. The City, and other preservation activists, lobbied exhaustively to head this restriction off at that pass, up to and including pursuing a gubernatorial veto. Ultimately this owner consent provision was passed, and still stands. As a result, municipalities are unable to impose designations, and thus are greatly limited in their ability to protect historic resources from demolition if it's the will of the owner.

Jeff Joslin
Land Use Supervisor: Urban Design, Design Review, Landmarks Review

City of Portland
Bureau of Development Services, Land Use Services division

Richard

The destruction of the Rosefriend will be a terrible loss. I've appreciated your efforts, Brian, to bring attention to this travesty and to encourage the parties involved to find an alternative to destruction.

Until I read Jeff Joslin's comment, I didn't realize that municipalities are statutorily prevented from imposing historic preservation standards on buildings. I doubt there's much hope of the legislature revisiting this issue so soon after the law was passed. So I wonder what options the city might have if it's interested in protecting historic buildings?

Mr. Joslin, do you have any ideas? Are historic preservation incentives, and destruction disincentives, being discussed within city government? Randy Leonard (if you happen to be following this particular discussion), do you have any insight into this?

The market forces that make it profitable to destroy the Rosefriend aren't likely to change anytime soon. Is this just a glimpse of much worse to come? Is there anything we can do about it?


Matthew

I don't think I've ever seen you so blunt and accusatory. It suits you and is entirely appropriate. With all the vacant lots downtown... you know the rest.... Thanks for calling out the issue properly.

Jeff Joslin

In response to Richard's questions:

In fact, directly in response to the statutory shift, Mayor Katz elevated preservation protections to a top priority as one her final initiatives. The purpose was specifically to create offsetting preservation incentives to help ensure the saving of more historic resources. The resulting Historic Resource Protection Amendments established a number of new incentives, and tied projects that make use of such incentives to a stringent new demolition review process.

The development of the incentive aspect was a comprehensive act - incentive programs were studied all over the country, a full array of stakeholders dedicated themselves over a year or so to ensuring the resulting incentives were as complete and relevant as achievable. Since that time, we've seen a greater use of preservation incentives than in the preceding twenty years.

As for the bigger question - there are a number of primary preservation activist groups and agencies, first and foremost the State Historic Preservation Office, which I'm confident are keeping their eyes peeled for the next potentially viable window of political opportunity to redress the owner consent restriction.

Jeff Joslin
Land Use Supervisor: Urban Design, Design Review, Landmarks Review

City of Portland
Bureau of Development Services, Land Use Services division

Brian

Call me naive, but why the hell can't Tom Potter and/or the City Council revisit it, like...now?

Jeff Joslin

Maybe I didn't state it as completely and clearly as I might. The owner consent problem exists at the state level, and would require a revised state statute. We are unable at the local level to enact a provision at the local level that would contradict that law. That's why we attempted to fight the good fight with our preservation partners across the state, and I'm sure would do so again when and if the opportunity presented itself.

Jeff Joslin
Land Use Supervisor: Urban Design, Design Review, Landmarks Review

City of Portland
Bureau of Development Services, Land Use Services division

Randy Leonard

"Randy Leonard (if you happen to be following this particular discussion), do you have any insight into this?"

This is a very frustrating topic for me, i.e., pre-emption by the state that prohibits cities and counties in Oregon from adopting stricter regulations than state law provides.

Pre-emption via state statute not only blocks the city's attempts to save historic structures, it also has stopped me from being able to pass a city ordinance banning smoking in bars and restaurants.

Readers should also be aware the petroleum lobby is currently lobbying the incoming state legislators to "pre-empt" Portland's bio-diesel mandate that takes effect next July 1st.

Of course, the answer to these kinds of pre-emptive laws is to lobby Oregon legislators to repeal the existing pre-emption of historic structures statute and allow local governments to decide what kinds of regulations best fit their own particular communities.

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