Buckman neighbors fight historic designation

Buckman neighbors fight historic designation »Play Video
Neighbors against a historic designation in the Buckman neighborhood of Southeast Portland are putting these signs in their front yards. (KATU photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Signs that say “Keep Buckman Free” are popping up in Southeast Portland yards.

Free from what?

Turns out, neighbors are fighting the idea of turning part of the Buckman neighborhood into an official historic district. It’s supposed to be an honor, right?

Some neighbors say what may sound cool, comes at a cost.

Buckman resident Carolyn Evans says she doesn’t want to pay for another sign on the street corner like other historic districts in town.

“I guess I’m more interested in places being energy efficient and livable than I am in them looking exactly as they did a hundred years ago,” said Evans.

Val Ballestrem, the education manager for the Architectural Heritage Center, said some exterior home improvement projects can take very long to get the city's approval and the application process can be costly.

He says his nonprofit, along with others, is working with the city to help cut down the wait and the cost, and believes there is value in historic designations.

“Without that tool, neighborhoods can kind of be piece meal,” he said. “Chunked, eaten away at and you lose the exact thing that attracted people there in the first place.”

The part of the Buckman neighborhood that's being considered for the historic district is the area between Southeast 12th and Southeast 20th avenues and is bordered on the north and south by Ankeny and Morrison.

Buckman neighbors are gathering Thursday night to talk about the issue.

Portland's historic districts 

  • Alphabet Historic District
  • East Portland Grand Avenue Historic District
  • Irvington Historic District
  • Kenton Commercial Historic District
  • King's Hill Historic District
  • Ladd's Addition Historic District
  • Mount Tabor Park Reservoirs Historic
  • Portland New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District
  • Portland Skidmore/Old Town Historic District
  • Portland Thirteenth Avenue Historic District
  • Portland Yamhill Historic District
  • Rocky Butte Scenic Drive Historic District
  • South Portland Historic District
  • Washington Park Reservoirs Historic