We recently received an e-mail from a Buckman resident with some questions and concerns about the proposed Historic District in Buckman:
I own an historic home in Buckman that we have lovingly restored over many years. I am concerned that it will become more difficult and more expensive to do the kind of good work that we are doing to our home. In addition, I am concerned that some of the good infill that is happening in our neighborhood will come to a stop while the old, ugly, and poorly build 70s development will continue to fall into disrepair. Is there a way for me to log my concerns and hear feedback?
We know there are many people in Buckman who probably have similar concerns. Tim Askin, a member of both the BCA board and the Buckman Historic Association, weighed in with his thoughts:
We thank you for your interest in the project and your concern. We in fact share many of your concerns. The city’s design review fees are both unreasonable and counterproductive. They are admittedly the highest such fees in Oregon and as research by the Irvington Neighborhood Association has shown, they are most likely the highest in the nation. The Buckman Historic Association and presumably the Buckman Community Association will be joining with Irvington, the Architectural Heritage Center, and many other neighborhoods in filing written complaints to the city and forcing current mayoral and council candidates to address the issue in public forums.
As to your own restoration projects and that of our neighbors’, presumably most of your work is interior. The historic district does not add any new regulation to interiors. It simply tries to assure that exterior changes are done sensitively and appropriately as yours have been. I am sure you have seen several beautiful 19th century houses all around Buckman and Portland where insensitive additions and changes have been made.
Finally, as to infill. Most of the recent projects in Buckman have been much more tasteful than the buildings constructed in the 60s and 70s. However, they have not necessarily been as respectful of their neighbors in size, scale, or massing as might have been liked (without regard to anyone’s preferences on design/style/aesthetics). Within the district boundary (http://visitahc.org/files/pdf/Buckman_Map.pdf) there is simply no inventory whatsoever of vacant, buildable land (Washington High School notwithstanding, the city that owns the grounds now and PPS which maintains ownership of the building are not going to part with those parcels under any circumstances). One of the primary goals of this project is to prevent demolitions of the wonderful buildings we currently have, which historically has been by developers who have no social stake in our community. Nothing in the city’s historic district regulations will prevent demolition of buildings constructed after 1938 (in Buckman’s district, the cutoff year is district-specific).
To this point, the Buckman Community Association has taken no official stance on the district proposal. I have been asked to draft the response, but I cannot speak on its behalf. I speak only for myself and the separate Buckman Historic Association.
As Tim mentioned, the BCA has taken no formal position on the Historic District effort. Our goal at this time is more to facilitate community members’ involvement in this interesting and important process.