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Learning in Norfolk

November 14, 2012

By Kimberli Fitzgerald

At the Certified Local Government (CLG) workshop in Corvallis last month, I had the opportunity to give an update to my CLG partners about the benefits of attending a National Alliance of Preservation Commissions (NAPC) Forum. I received an Oregon Heritage Preservation Scholarship to attend and it was one of the most beneficial conferences I’ve ever been to — I highly recommend it. Participants include primarily professionals in the historic preservation and planning fields from around the country. The conference offers many educational sessions and a lot of fun activities.

The author enjoying the sites during the NAPC Forum in Norfolk, Virginia.

This year’s Forum was held in Norfolk, Virginia. It was fun to be able to tour Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown while I was there. I had been to both places as a child, but was interested in seeing them now with a different perspective. The rest of my visit was dedicated to attending sessions at the conference. My favorite session was the specialized round table training for staff of Historic Landmarks Commissions. This was a new session offered for the first time at NAPC and was by and large the most beneficial for me. The morning portion of the session we received both legal and practical training on how to run more effective meetings and deal with difficult and controversial issues. During the second half of the day we had an opportunity to openly discuss both the positive and frustrating aspects of our programs with our peers. I received some good ideas for how to streamline our city processes that I will work to implement over the next few months. I also found sessions on social media and historic building survey methods and new technology very helpful.

My coolest moment of the conference is when I met Donovan Rypkema, principal of PlaceEconomics, in the lobby of the hotel and was able to talk with him one-on-one for about a half an hour! He gave me some specific recommendations relating to promoting the economics of historic preservation that I plan on implementing.

The NAPC provided attendees with the handouts, presentations and other resources from all of the sessions offered on a flashdrive. I’ve uploaded them onto my Dropbox site and if anyone would like to have these files please email me at and I’d happy to share the link.

Kimberli Fitzgerald is the Senior Historic Planner at the City of Salem and a recipient of an Oregon Heritage Preservation Scholarship.

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