Rose’s plan is so controversial that over 800 Portlanders have signed a petition begging him to stop, lamenting over the loss of a historic structure.
The house was one of the first homes in Willamette Heights, built in 1892. There are pictures of the house from the 1890s, perched alone in grandeur on the recently logged hillside rising from Balch Creek. The years since then have seen multiple owners, and the house has been the site of many neighborhood gatherings, including annual Easter egg hunts — the sort of hunts and gatherings at which neighbors meet while their children play, and lifelong relationships are formed all around.
The house has been well-loved and cared for. To be sure, it’s over 100 years old, like many of the homes in Willamette Heights. For many of us, that has meant upgrading wiring or plumbing, or even replacing foundations. We understand that you may be now facing those sorts of costs, and we can assure you that they’re worth it. There’s no greater value than in preserving the character of the neighborhood.
via Kevin Rose Infuriates Portland Over Plans to Demolish Historic Home.
by: TRIBUNE PHOTO BY JONATHAN HOUSE – An anti-large house sign sits near a Renaissance Homes infill project in Southwest Portland.
No one on the Development Review Advisory Committee proposed making the notifications mandatory, however. That disappointed several neighborhood representatives at the meeting who argue that neighbors should always be notified before a nearby home is demolished. Under the existing City Code, notification is not required on homes where a developer applies for a demolition permit and a construction permit on the same day.
According to Anne Dufay, executive director of the Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Program office, notification is especially important for houses built before 1973, when asbestos and lead paint were common.
“Asbestos and lead paint chips can be thrown into the air if a demolition isn’t done right,” Dufay says. “Neighbors need to know when it’s going to happen so they can leave or monitor the work.”
via Demolition builds frustration for neighbors.
This tear down on Southeast Knapp Street in Eastmoreland was not considered a demolition by the city because part of the old house remained intact. Melissa Binder/The Oregonian
At the root of the debate are two technical aspects of city code. The waiver is the first.
Developers may choose to be courteous, but the delay and notification requirement was never intended as a kindness to neighbors, said Ross Caron, spokesman for the development bureau.
The requirement was added to city code in 1988 to prevent large backlogs of vacant land from building up. The waiver option was added in 1990 to allow property owners to move forward more quickly if they were ready to build.
The second technicality neighbors cite as a problem involves what the city considers a true demolition — and the difference between a demolition and a remodel.
This tear down on Southeast Knapp Street in Eastmoreland was not considered a demolition by the city because part of the old house remained intact.
City code defines a demolition as a complete removal of a structure. If any portion of the to-be-razed home remains — say a bit of wall or floor framing — a demolition permit is unnecessary. An alteration or addition permit is required, but that does not involve a delay or notifying neighbors.
There have been about 2,700 alteration and addition permits thus far this year, up 24 percent from 2011. Projects range from remodeling a bathroom to building an entirely new home with a bit of an old wall or floor still intact.
To the city, these technicalities are separate issues. To neighbors the problem is uniform: Homes are being torn down, and they’re being caught by surprise.
New homes are being built in established neighborhoods throughout Portland, particularly in the Southeast. Photographed here, a new home nearly four times the size of houses around it is being constructed in Mt. Scott-Arleta. (Melissa Binder/The Oregonian)
Via Home demolitions skyrocket in Portland, neighbors demand advance warning | OregonLive.com
Lexington – We are writing as dismayed residents of Precinct 6 to protest the demolition of what was a 100-year-old house at 31 Somerset Road. The property sold on Feb. 29, and two weeks later all 11 rooms were destroyed and carted away in a dumpster. Neighbors were given scant warning by the new owner, who has not decided on what will replace the elegant home. Ironically, the garage must stay because it is within a historically protected zone.
We live nearby, and have discussed the many positives associated with continuing to reside in Lexington as our families change and we eventually face the decision to downsize. However, the character and feel of the town is being threatened by teardowns gone out of control, and we have serious doubts about the availability of appropriate housing in the future.
What process allows such a quick demolition of a home of historic value? As a town, we have embraced anti-idling and tree planting initiatives. If the White House is (ever) rebuilt we’ll use green building codes. We have meetings ad nauseum on good ideas such as the use of Busa Farm and the Dana Home proposal. But where is the discussion about the overall character and ongoing values of our community? How can we continue to approve space-and-resource-wasting mansions to be shoehorned in where small ranch homes once stood? 31 Somerset does not fall precisely into that category of mistake, but it was a large, elegant home, and it was razed flat in a day two weeks after papers were passed. How utterly wasteful. Where is our sense of sustainability?
We don’t know exactly how this issue could be summarized and brought before Town Meeting, but it should be. Town officials must examine the process that gives so little opportunity for input to residents and neighbors. — Barbara and John Tarrh, Oakland Street, and Diane Garmon, Chandler Street
via Neighbors: Saddened by home demolition – Lexington, MA – Lexington Minuteman.