Sunday Reader

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One of my favorite covered bridges (in Woodstock, Vermont).

What has been going on in the Preservation world? A lot has been flurrying around but there are a few specific matters on which I’d like to focus Read on!

1. Portland, Oregon, has become the center of a painful but important debate. The Carman House, built in the mid 1850s, is the oldest house in Lake Oswego and one of few remaining houses in the area from the Oregon Trail settlement period. It also is facing demolition. Most unfortunate are (A) the general public confusion about what historic designations mean and (B) the fact that this is just one of many historic properties in Portland slated for demolition. In recent years, Oregon has had an up-tick in demolitions: from 2010 to 2013, the number of demolition permits doubled. And these numbers don’t include drastic remodels. What can we do? Most importantly, we can be a public well-versed in historic preservation. Historic buildings are important to the fabric of any neighborhood and there are many tools out there (like preservation tax credits) to make owning them more affordable. For further reading, a recent article on the Carman House is located here and Restore Oregon’s article on Oregon’s Demolition Trend is located here.

2. May was preservation month! Did you miss it? The National Park Service didn’t–they’ve just launched a brand new website devoted exclusively to Historic Preservation (can we say it’s about time?). I am excited about this. Historic preservation education is one of the most important historic preservation causes (see above).

3. Violence in Iraq and earthquakes in Nepal have led to the destruction of countless historic places, recently, including world heritage sites. A brilliant team of “cyber-archaeologists” has devised a method and plan to reconstruct lost places through hundreds of crowd-sourced photographs. When compiled, these photographs can create a 3D image of lost art. If you want to read more, check out this great BBC article.

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