At issue is a proposed district of 475 acres that would contain 1,030 buildings, mostly houses dating between 1910 and 1961. The neighborhood’s general plan follows the early 20th Century City Beautiful movement, with a long grassy esplanade along Southeast Reed College Place and east-west streets following the gentle flow of the topography rather than being carved into rectangular blocks in an urban grid.
Southeast Reed College Place
With its proximity to Reed College, Eastmoreland Golf Course and the Crystal Springs lake and gardens, the leafy "Eastmoreland Subdivision remains one of the finest residential districts in the city," according to architectural historian William J. Hawkins III.
Many Eastmoreland residents feared that city planning and development guidelines would not honor the historic nature of the area and its houses. Like Ladd’s Addition, Laurelhurst, Irvington, Kings Hill and the Alphabet District, they envisioned a national historic district as their best option for limiting demolitions and new construction that failed to fit the neighborhood context.
Under that interpretation, the 5,000 trust interests related to five residential properties would have no impact in the neighborhood vote.
“A National Register listing is about history and preservation,” Merrick said. “The limited protections provided under historic preservation laws in our state are for the purpose of providing public recognition and at least some level of protection against raw market forces that can bring the wrecking ball to every neighborhood, rich and poor and irrespective of skin color, that meet stringent standards for historic significance and cultural value.”
If the district is approved, demolition of a contributing building could require City Council approval. Exterior physical changes (not paint colors) to a contributing building would have to seek historic design approval.
What happens to the Eastmoreland national district application if the new rules are adopted? The results could please the preservation community. According to the state Parks Department, the state historic preservation officer “will then determine whether to resubmit the nomination if the rules are adopted and resubmission is appropriate under such rules.”
"It is especially important to us that as a result of this process the Eastmoreland HD (historic district) is not forced to reinitiate the nomination process," Merrick said. "For us it has been a wrenching, time consuming, and costly effort."
You can view the proposed rule changes here. There is an opportunity for public comment until Aug. 31.