Oregon City Hires Historic Consultant to Prepare Plans to Rehabilitate the Francis Ermatinger House.
On February 1, 2012, the Oregon City Commission unanimously approved a contract to move forward with the first phase to rehabilitate the historic Francis Ermatinger House. After a very competitive selection process, Architectural Resources Group (ARG) was chosen to investigate the current condition of the City owned house and prepare plans for the rehabilitation of one of the oldest buildings in the state. Final plans will be completed in late spring and the first phase of rehabilitation could begin as early as late summer.
Community Services Director, Scott Archer is excited to begin the project and is optimistic for the future of the building. “The City of Oregon City is committed to securing funding to complete the project and hopes that this first step will provide us with a roadmap for future phases and funding solutions”.
Listed on the Historic Preservation League of Oregon 2011 Most Endangered Places, the Ermatinger House has been closed to the public for over a year. Structural defects to the house have forced the City to look at a substantial rehabilitation project to be able to restore public access to the building. Local and national partners such as the Historic Preservation League of Oregon, Oregon State Historic Preservation Office and the National Trust have all provided financial support to fund this first step.
When it comes to Oregon history, it doesn't get much more significant than the Ermatinger House. In 1845, Francis Ermatinger built for himself a federal style residence in what is now downtown Oregon City. Ermatinger was a powerful and influential figure in early Oregon history, serving as a chief trader for the Hudson's Bay Company, and holding public office in the Oregon Provisional Government in 1845. Although located in Oregon City, the Ermatinger House holds a special place in Portlander's hearts. It was in the left parlor that the famous coin toss occurred between Francis Pettygrove and Asa Lovejoy during a dinner party held in 1845. The two were arguing about whether the town to be built on their land claim (then called The Clearing) should be incorporated as “Boston” or “Portland.” Pettygrove won two out of three tosses, resulting in the city of Portland, Oregon.