Due to a rapid population growth, historic buildings all over Portland are being demolished to make more room for the growing city. But these historic buildings and landmarks help give the city its’ character. That character is what helped portland gain it’s ‘odd-ball’ reputation. Are those days over? Is the city changing permanently? Caleb is a Portland native whose goal is to capture the character of old Portland and share it with us all
Kurt Tribbet, engineering administrator for the City of Battle Creek’s Public Works Department, unrolls a section of the police department’s green roof. (Photo: Trace Christenson/The Enquirer)
Rugh said the green roof has a life expectancy of up to 60 to 70 years, well above that of a conventional roof. “The most direct financial savings is the roof lasts so much longer,” he said. “You get one free roof for every green roof.”
The photograph, dated 1920, shows the original location of the Junk Co., which later became Marine Supply & Hardware, still in business today. Photo: Anacortes Museum
The Anacortes Junk Co. building, which was originally a livery stable for horses in the 1890s, was where Efthemios “Mike” Demopoulos opened Marine Supply & Hardware in 1910. The port is opting to tear down the building after a structural engineer’s report deemed it unsafe for occupants.
Demolition begins on Chestnut Street after a fire ripped through buildings in February. (Emma Lee/WHYY).
Only the first floor facade, made of cast iron, will be salvaged.
Much of the material these little sculptures are crafted out of came from the rubble of the old Eagle building at 825 E. Douglas.As the building was being demolished last year, Stevenson coordinated with the Eagle and the Bradburn Wrecking Company to salvage quirky bits of the building for use in this art exhibition — at that point, still merely an idea she’d had for years.
Waldorf AstoriaPhotographer: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
A front-end loader dumped debris into trucks parked on the north side of the building, which takes up an entire city block. Meanwhile, a van bearing the logo of a Scranton, Pennsylvania-based architectural-salvage company waited nearby. Salvaged Waldorf Barovier & Toso Venetian Glass FixtureSource: Olde Good Things The company, Olde Good Things, already is selling pieces from the hotel’s interior on its website. Items for sale include light fi
Demolition at 79 Henry St. began Monday morning. Joseph Phelan — firstname.lastname@example.org
“We all grew up here. You see things [in the building] and then you remember, oh I remember that room,” Nemec saod. “I remember we use to play hide and seek in there, or we used to help the customers. It’s just weird. It’s weird to see your life fall apart right now.”
Using time-lapse photography, the film shows the demolition of the famous Star Theatre. Judging from the various exposures, the work must have gone on for a period of approximately thirty days.
This video captures the moment when contractors took the roof off a home and sent bricks flying out onto power lines and the road; and knocked the water main open on the corner. Residents had been asking about the poor dust control measures moments before this happened
“This idea of exploring different models of practice is really a way of looking at whether we can, as designers, have more influence over policymaking or systemic ways of affecting change,” said Li. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University
This semester, she’s teaching a graduate research studio course, “Alternate Endings,” in which students have been studying exactly that. They’re examining the demolition of buildings, searching for places to intervene and make better use of a material or design.
The Kinks – Preservation: Act 1 – Demolition
Phil plumbed the house for gas, electricity not arriving until about 1913. Phil and Dora married Nov. 8, 1903, moved into the house, and started their family. To complement the landscape Phil planted an orchard and four Giant Sequoia trees from Broetje’s Nursey on Oatfield and Courtney Rds. – now Clackamas County Heritage Trees.
The purpose of both Oregon’s Historic Preservation Office and Clackamas County’s Historic Preservation Ordinance is to protect and preserve our historic and cultural resources. Unfortunately without the stewardship of a caring owner this process can be circumvented and financial realities can intervene. The legacy of the Oatfield family is quickly disappearing, and unless a philanthropic individual steps forward to move this house to a new location this historic community icon will be lost forever.
Philip Oatfield House now
The green wooden section of the old Ramage paper mill, directly above the Deerfield River. RECORDER PHOTO/DIANE BRONCACCIO
Paper manufacturing began on the site in 1887 and continued until 1996. Since then, the green wooden building has deteriorated. A recent assessment has found hazardous building materials there, including asbestos.
At the same time, roughly one billion square feet of buildings are demolished and replaced every year in the United States. According to an analysis by the Brookings Institution, the country is in the midst of demolishing and replacing 82 billion square feet of existing space — nearly a quarter of the existing building stock — by 2030.
That is an astonishing amount of waste. In fact, the energy used to demolish and rebuild that much space could power the entire state of California for a decade! According to a formula produced for the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, about 80 billion British thermal units (Btus) of energy are embodied in a typical 50,000-square-foot commercial building.
The Corkman Irish pub in Carlton, which was demolished illegally. Photo: Eddie Jim
The developers have been slammed for destroying the 159-year-old pub, formerly known as the Carlton Inn, and are now under investigation from the Victorian Building Authority, the City of Melbourne, the EPA, WorkCover and Heritage Victoria.
“When a property owner requests any property be removed, we will not give a demolition permit until 120 days after that request,” Carson said. Fred Leeson, president of the Architectural Heritage Center said the delay is meaningless if the developer doesn’t want to come to the table to preserve, move or salvage the structure.
Muchea Land Fill foreman Troy Owen is concerned recycled material, which will potentially go into buildings, may contain asbestos. Picture: Justin Benson-Cooper
“(Demolition rubble) can’t be 100 per cent asbestos free,” Mr Scott said. “If you demolish a building it doesn’t matter how careful you are, you are going to get asbestos.” “We have machines with throughput volumes of 5000 tonnes an hour. When you look at the volumes we play with, that’s a lot of asbestos we can put out,” he added.
Deconstruction vs. Demolition: Portland, Oregon’s Potential for Groundbreaking Health and Safety Studies in Building Demolition – By Sara Badiali
Demolition: deliberate destruction of a building or other structure.
Deconstruction: the systematic dismantling of a building in order to recover the maximum amount of materials for reuse and recycling.
The City of Portland is poised to contribute to the study of health and safety in building removal. The Deconstruction Ordinance will take effect starting October 2016. The ordinance outlines single family homes built before 1916 must be deconstructed for material reuse. Deconstructing buildings will greatly lower greenhouse gas emissions and material disposal in landfills over traditional demolition. Deconstruction not only provides access to unique materials but also viable building materials that would otherwise go to waste. The Deconstruction Ordinance will provide the first ever opportunity for side by side comparisons of demolition verses building deconstruction for environmental health and safety measures.
Portland presents an environment of blistering-fast paced development, houses upwards of one-hundred years old, and established demolition and deconstruction companies. Residential interest in environmental health and safety is at an all-time high due to incidents pertaining to lead and radon, and unprecedented housing demolition. Portland is also home to multiple academic organizations specializing in environmental health issues, health sciences, urban planning, and architecture.
By hosting studies of building removals, new information will lead to a better understanding of hazardous material reductions and ultimately best practices. Consequently research in Portland could be the catalyst for laws regulating more than standards for lead dust fall, but also heavy metals, asbestos, and water contamination in demolition practices.
Hazardous Particulates in Buildings
When a building is demolished, the mechanical action of crushing creates particulates of dust from the building’s materials. These particulates enter the air and spread throughout the environment. Machines repeatedly driving over the worksite further circulate these particulates. Atmospheric conditions like wind can exacerbate the spread of dust.
There are currently no U.S. federal regulatory standards for lead dust fall, exterior settled dust, or dust-suppression methods in housing demolition. There are also very few demolition dust fall related studies, or inquiries into whether hand dismantling structures (deconstruction) reduces the spread of potentially hazardous air particulates.
Lead and asbestos are by far the most studied and discussed of hazardous materials attributed to buildings. Asbestos is proven to cause the fatal diseases asbestosis, pleural disease, and lung cancer. According to a 2011 survey by U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control, over 37 million homes have lead based paint somewhere in the building.  The majority of hazardous lead is in homes built before 1978.
One study indicates that 37 billion square feet of building components are coated with deteriorated lead-based paint. A 2008 study of lead exposures in U.S. children found that “Exposure to lead can occur from many pathways and sources, but housing is the main pathway of exposure in the U.S., accounting for approximately 70% of childhood lead poisoning cases.”
There are other less well known potential health hazards in buildings. Arsenic and heavy metals like chromium, copper, iron, and manganese are harmful to humans. These heavy metals are thought to be from use of pressure treated wood manufactured before 2003. Mercury is a common toxic waste present in buildings, including gas pressure regulators, boiler heating systems, and thermostats. According to the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority “The amount of mercury present in one mercury thermometer is enough to pollute 5 million gallons of water.” That is the capacity to contaminate a 20-acre lake with enough mercury to result in a fish consumption warning, says Wastecap of Massachusetts. Benzene, a chemical related to natural gas, is also found harmful to humans. Environmental dust is especially problematic for people who suffer from asthma.
“It’s possible to have a neighborhood under this section of code with very few financial resources, and then we have a case here where there’s a neighborhood with a significant amount of resources and we get an entirely different result,” he said. “From a diversity, from a fairness, from a just general perception of government I think, that raises the possibility of having different decisions based solely on economics.”
The interactive, regularly updated map plots more than 9,500 demolitions since 2014 as blue dots, and about 700 scheduled jobs as orange dots. Click on them to reveal details like the date of leveling, the price of demolition, and the contractor that performed it.
Crews began demolishing this home at 9134 N. Edison in Portland on Monday. (KATU Photo)
“They built this house, but this house was down on the river,” said Tanya March, who claims to know the home’s history. “We know it was moved up the hill in 1904.” The home had been added to over the years, perhaps hiding any historical uniqueness.
This November 2015 photo shows a blighted house being demolished on Sanford Street in Muskegon Heights.
“(It is) looking at a large catchment area of the entire Great Lakes and utilizing the Port of Muskegon to bring in that material from other cities throughout the Great Lakes, repurpose it here in Muskegon, and then ship it back out through the Port of Muskegon,” said Kuhn. The study builds on the work Michigan State University researchers began more than a year ago when they looked at blighted homes and structures in Muskegon Heights. MSU worked in partnership with Muskegon County at the time.
Claudia von Flotow, Key Development project manager, expects the demolition within the next few weeks — by the end of spring at the latest. In the meantime, the company is hashing out whether they can salvage parts of the Expo Building.
Last year, city officials signed off on more money: an $8.6 million contract to demolish most of the old buildings on the property, pushing costs to nearly $22 million. Now, officials hope to recoup some of that. Soon, they’ll hire a broker to list one acre of land, which includes a 45,000-square-foot flour mill. Officials plan to require full restoration of the seven-story flour mill, and they’ll give developers an option to renovate a 21,500-squre-foot feed mill on site.
Plans for Centennial Mills are unclear after city officials said a proposal from Harsch Investment Properties isn’t financially viable. Crews began demolishing part of the property earlier this year. Brad Schmidt/The Oregonian
The seaside hotel in Torquay that inspired John Cleese to create the beloved British sitcom Fawlty Towers is being demolished to make way for retirement homes.
Kelsy Kruzich PHOTO
“In the meantime, staff is researching demolition and feasibility of reclaiming any materials for use in future construction projects,” he said. The grain storage buildings, which likely date to the late 1940s or early 1950s, are located on 2.6 acres of city-owned property.
Photo credit: Portland Chronicle contributor
On Feb. 22 the Bureau of Development Services received an application for demolition of the 1937 home. The owners were listed as John and Terrie Marshall, the applicant was Kevin Partain of Urban Visions and the contractor was Renaissance Custom Homes LLC. Renaissance Custom Homes LLC is registered in Lake Oswego to Randy Sebastian. There are a number of trees on the site. A demolition plan is not yet available in the public record, so their fate is unconfirmed.
Though many of the smaller lumber boards at Centennial Mills are not being salvaged.
Orpin said his firm originally hoped to salvage about 800,000 board feet of timber from the Centennial Mills site. However, due to “rot and the difficult cost benefits of saving all the smaller pieces,” he now expects that Pioneer will be able to salvage about 400,000 board feet.
We need to hold the agencies and municipal leaders accountable and charge them with effective management of the public’s health. Manual deconstruction removes the risk by limiting exposure and should be mandatory when removing any residential structure.Don’t remain silent; add your voice to demand action now.
One is that we must establish controlled and precise processes for the sorting of waste to avoid contaminating materials and rendering them unsalvageable. The study also highlights that we need to make deconstruction audits for buildings over 1,000 square metres mandatory, not just best practice. These should be produced prior to a building’s deconstruction, providing a detailed inventory of its materials to aid their recovery and re-use at the end of the building’s lifecycle.
The Historic Bell Tavern Building Michael Bupp – The Sentinal
“Whether intentional or by error in 1995, the Bell Tavern was not listed as an historic, protected building on the Township’s Cultural Features Map and Historic Buildings List referred to in our zoning ordinance. Based on that, the Township had to lift the stop-work order. Despite the lifting of the order, the developer has continued to suspend demolition, affording us the opportunity to engage in discussions about the preservation of the building.”
The 1000 block of North Stricker Street in west Baltimore’s Sandton-Winchester neighborhood, is slated for the demolition. Photographer: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Demolishing an abandoned building may be less complicated than figuring out what to do with the land it stood on. Detroit has sold land to neighboring home owners for $100 a lot, and it has experimented with a program to use vacant lots to prevent storm water from flooding the sewage system. In Baltimore, Hogan’s plan includes $600 million in redevelopment funding that may one day lead to new, affordable apartments and supermarkets. Initially, most lots will probably be converted into parks.
“I’ve been there before, I spent my teen years in Clearwater and I know that it has historical significance” she said. “I’m attracted to architectural artifacts- salvage, for the history that it brings, that it could potentially could bring to my home.”
Demolition of a heritage home at 3330 West King Edward, Vancouver. (Caroline Adderson)
Heritage activist and antiques expert Robert McNutt was driving by when he saw it, so he pulled over to watch. He got chatting with a young woman with a stroller who was startled to see the house being smashed to smithereens. She was under the common misconception that the old character houses were being carefully dismantled, the old lumber and fixtures salvaged and repurposed.
“I told her, ‘No, this poor house will become wood pellets, and possibly turned into toilet paper or some other paper product,’” Mr. McNutt says. “That’s the way they do it now.”
Beams from the demolished creamery building in Okotoks will be salvaged for future historical projects
“We were able to salvage about 18 beams and they’re fairly large beams and the beams themselves are fairly old, if you think of the building being about 100 years old and the beams are another 75 years on top of that or more,” he says.
Couronne says the town already has a plan in place for some of the beams.
“We’re going to put some of them in the old saw display we have behind the library and the rest we’ll just put into storage for future use for potentially whatever may be built down the road for the historic point of view.”
Living in Demolished Portland, a silent film documentary of living in the demolition and construction of North Portland Oregon.
A photo blog documenting the growth of Portland, Oregon and the communities response.
Filmed May thru October 2015.
via CraneLife – YouTube.
“It wasn’t like the buildings were falling down,” said Bankston, who noted that demolition needs to be done carefully to avoid creating risks of collapse, such as by overloading floors with heavy debris.
He said his company left the project about a month ago amid a financial disagreement with the general contractor.
At least 60 firefighters responded to the collapse.
RecoveryPark Farms Detroit – rendering
Under the $15 million project, a 22-block area around the former Chene-Ferry Market will be transformed into a center of urban agriculture and hope for marginalized residents with significant barriers to employment. According to Duggan, 35 acres of city-owned land will be leased to the nonprofit organization from the Detroit Land Bank Authority for $105 per acre per year. In exchange, RecoveryPark will secure or demolish all vacant, blighted structures and replace them with massive greenhouses and hoop houses to grow produce.
I sold my beautiful 1904 home in North Portland in May. I was assured by the buyers that they planned to rent my home while they built a second or third structure in the backyard. I now find that they are planning (and probably always planned) to tear down the house. This house should not be a tear down. It is in beautiful condition with old growth fir floors, built in cabinets and many new upgrades to bath and kitchen. There should be a law that requires buyers to inform the sellers of their intentions in regard to the existing structures on the property. I had other offers that I would have taken if I had been informed of this buyer’s intentions. We are losing so much history with the destruction of these older homes. I am not opposed to new buildings, but not at the expense of what is still viable and oh so beautiful. There may not be time to save my house, but we can hopefully prevent more wanton destruction in the future.
Campbell, 51, had been hired to raze three attached buildings with a cut-rate bid of $112,000, about a third of the next lowest bid. He could also keep whatever he could salvage. Campbell therefore “cannibalized” the building from the inside, removing the floors and support beams that stabilized the four-story walls, prosecutors said.
By the morning of June 5, 2013, all that remained of the former Hoagie City building was an unstable, 30-foot high brick wall attached to the one-story Salvation Army building.
“When that wall collapsed, it totally crushed that Salvation Army, and everyone inside,” Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Selber, the homicide chief, said in her opening statement.
The victims included two young artist friends dropping off donations, a mother of nine buying clothes to send to her native Sierra Leone and a newly engaged woman working her first day at the store. One survivor lost both legs after being trapped for 13 hours.
The demolition of the 102-year-old Gas and Coke Building is proceeding despite a flurry of protests by community members late last week.
Photos taken by drone show the teardown has begun—with workers gutting the building’s decaying interior and tossing it into dumpsters.
The Alchemist pub before it was illegally demolished
“In our view the demolition was a very serious breach of planning rules which can only be put right by the complete rebuilding and reconstruction of this important community asset, using the same materials and to the same architectural design.
“This building was an integral part of the St John’s Hill Grove conservation area and its loss has been keenly felt by local people. That’s why we are determined to take action to ensure it’s restored for future generations.”
The Alchemist pub after being knocked down
Finklea, 34, says the house should be saved. He would prefer to retain it on site, but thinks a house that old deserves to be moved and preserved rather than torn down. Finklea says Lowry doesn’t care about preserving the Eliot neighborhood’s integrity, and worries what the large apartment complex will do to the feel of the street he loves.
Despite the city’s strategy of auctioning blighted properties, houses like this remain 10 years after Hurricane Katrina. Vandals have stripped the home’s cypress floors and other architectural artifacts. Debbie Elliott/NPR
“We’ve still got a lot of blight. We’re by no means done,” says Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin. He says the city of New Orleans is waging an aggressive battle against blight, and has made inroads.
“We’ve either fixed up or demolished somewhere between 13,000 and 15,000 units, as a city,” he says.
A poll by NPR and the Kaiser Family Foundation found that a little more than half of the people in New Orleans agree that progress has been made on dealing with destroyed and abandoned homes and other properties.
Others with the group say they’ve been forced out of their homes as well and that it’s just a matter of time before many other buildings and houses in Portland are demolished and replaced.
Karen Crichton, one of Stop Demolishing Portland’s organizers, says she can no longer afford to live in the city either.
“People literally have nowhere to go,” Crichton said. “It’s not just the loss of people’s safety and security and their neighborhood, their sense of community, we’re losing the character of Portland, too.”
A 1996 photo shows an interior view of Pilgrim Baptist Church during a service. Walter Kale TNS
Hopes of a restoration have fallen so far that some architectural preservationists think the only remaining option might be to preserve the surviving walls and turn the site into a park.
Codes and Planning has been looking for someone to salvage the building for the past nine years.
“We would love it if someone could come up and say we are going to renovate and use this building, but we have been nine years now waiting for that to happen, and encouraging and going through multiple owners trying to find that person. We haven’t, because the money is at a million dollars plus to bring that property back,” Selby said.
Small houses on larger lots and old houses that haven’t been well-kept are frequent targets of developers who can profit from tearing them down and building a new house – or two, three or even four. City permit data show demolitions shot from 115 in 2010 to 308 in 2014. The trend has spawned a chorus of neighborhood protests and the attention of City Hall.
The Legg House was demolished last June to make way for a tower. Doors from the heritage residence are among the items for sale at the Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s sale of architectural salvage items. Photograph by: Arlen Redekop, PNG
Ironic in that we tear down 1900s arts and crafts homes, built with old-growth fir, leaded casement windows, wood-planked floors, stained glass windows and French pocket doors, and replace them with boxy pseudo Craftsman eyesores hastily constructed of chipboard and drywall, the solid wood and artistic detail of yore replaced by slapped-on stucco and MDF.
Destruction driven by the 20% VAT penalty on property refurbishment? Demolition of Wychwood House on the Woodberry Down Estate, London in June 2007. Photo: Sarflondondunc via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).
When I’m not teaching students, I help run a sustainable architecture firm and entirely by accident, we find ourselves in the business of destroying perfectly good houses and sending them off to landfill, all in the name of sustainable design.