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Spotlight on Excellence Preservation – It’s All Local!

May 4, 2012

Historic preservation is most powerful when engaged locally. A local preservation program that is tailored to the character and needs of the community will enhance its economic and cultural livability.

In order to capture a community’s local character and make the most out of preserving its history, the first step is to understand what makes up that character and history. A general survey of historic properties is the best way to begin. Understanding what properties are historic, where they are geographically and what time periods they represent provides all the basic information to embrace how those historic properties might impact the community.

While surveying historic buildings is vital for preservation planning, it also contributes to sound and informed decision making about historic resources in planning for disasters, transportation, affordable housing, community development, and heritage tourism. Cities all over the state are completing surveys and shWhat to do with a historic property surveyaring the results publicly. People are always amazed at the number of historic properties they have in their town. Albany is one of several cities looking at buildings constructed in the 1950s and 1960s, many people don’t realize those qualify as historic.

Oregon City was recently recognized with an Oregon Heritage Excellence Award for a stellar surveying example. The city needed to complete historic building surveys of all its buildings that were more than 50 years old. While surveys had been completed in the past, most were of buildings built before 1930. By surveying all buildings built before 1961, the City could better prioritize which resources needed the greatest protection. In 2011, Oregon City hired Painter Preservation & Planning to survey more than 1,750 potentially historic properties, an unprecedented number of resources. The City created a robust public outreach program to ensure that the public understood the goals of the survey. Oregon City is already bursting with settlement history; the survey proves there is history beyond that period, into the mid-20th Century. These resources will add to the story of the city and the local revitalization efforts.

To find properties that have been surveyed in your community visit the Oregon Heritage Historic Sites Database.

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