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Spotlight on Excellence: Clatsop County Housing Authority

July 20, 2012

By Cara Kaser

Every month, Oregon Heritage is highlighting a person, organization, or project that has received an Oregon Heritage Excellence Award. Last month, the spotlight was on the World War II Veterans Historic Highway in Central Oregon. This month, we’re focusing on the Clatsop County Housing Authority, whose outstanding work in making the Owens-Adair building safer and more energy efficient while retaining the building’s historic character earned them a 2012 Oregon Heritage Excellence Award.

All of the original windows in the Owens-Adair Building were repaired for a fraction of the cost of new replacement windows.

Built in 1933, the four-story Owens-Adair building in Astoria was converted around 1980 to 46 residential units for seniors and the disabled by the Clatsop County Housing Authority. By 2010, the building was showing its age with most of its more than 250 windows in poor shape. The windows were leaking air and were a safety hazard. One tenant had broken her arm when she opened a window and it fell on her. Something had to be done.

Initially, the Housing Authority asked the City for approval to replace all of the original windows. After further inspection, though, the windows appeared repairable. The Housing Authority agreed to work with city staff and the State Historic Preservation Office to find an alternative solution to replacing the windows.

All fixed up – a close-up of the repaired windows.

The Housing Authority sought bids for both replacement and repair of windows. One estimate for replacing the windows totaled $680,000. Chosen Wood Windows, however, estimated it could repair the original windows and install double-paned insulating glass for only $259,000 — a savings of over $400,000. Not surprisingly, the Housing Authority decided to repair the windows.

Restoring the windows met everyone’s expectations. Workers caused little disruption during the renovation and followed appropriate health and safety standards. With its original windows repaired, the Owens-Adair saved over $1,000 in heating costs in the first month alone. But more importantly, residents can now easily — and safely — open and close their own windows.

For a complete list of the 2012 Oregon Heritage Excellence Award recipients visit www.oregonheritage.

Cara Kaser is the Heritage Outreach Specialist with Oregon Heritage and coordinates the Oregon Heritage Excellence Awards. Nominations for next year’s awards will be due in January 2013.

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