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The Historic Review Board is required to apply the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings. The Board has also adopted local guidelines. In addition, the Secretary of the Interior has published Guidelines based on the standards, which may be helpful to an applicant considering how to make appropriate changes to a historic structure. The local policies and guidelines interpret the federal Standards on issues that arise frequently in Oregon City.
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Ordinary maintenance and minor repairs involving identical materials and designs do not require an application. Painting previously painted surfaces is a common example of what does not need approval. However, repairs that will use different materials, that would change the existing character of the building, or which are extensive enough to require a building permit, must be approved before work begins. If there is any doubt, owners should consult with the Historic Preservation staff by phone or in person.
Alterations that are typically denied are:
The economic burden of necessary renovations is considered in two ways:
If you plan major improvements to your historic home in the Canemah National Register District or if you are individually listed on the National Register, the State of Oregon offers a tax freeze program to help you do it right.
For substantial commercial, industrial, and rental housing rehabilitation projects, which comply with the Secretary of Interior's standards, federal tax credits of up to 20% are available. The application process is fairly complicated (you must be on the National Register or be a contributing building in a National Register Historic District), but the tax credits can make the difference in a successful project. The process involves review at the state level.
More information can be obtained from:
Oregon Parks and Recreation DepartmentState Historic Preservation Office725 Summer Street NE, Suite CSalem, OR 97301
The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) creates the framework for the inventory process in Oregon. These guidelines are regularly updated; therefore cities may have a collection of different inventory forms that include slightly different or, in some cases, more detailed information. These forms are cumulative in nature; a new form does not overtake an older form. Together, they paint a picture of the evolution of the building, and depending, upon the type of inventory form used, different information will be presented. If a structure is designated, the inventory form provides background about what features made it suitable for designation and can be updated as needed or required. An omission or incorrect detail in an inventory form does not bind the city to a certain outcome as a land use action might. Rather, they are informative and provide relevant context to future land use decisions.
If you believe that a form has incorrect information contact the Planning Division at 503-722-3789. Depending upon the information presented, the forms might be updated, or a note may be added to the website.
If you own the photo or have the authority to use it, Oregon City would love to add it to its on-going collection of historic photos. We can even add it directly to the inventory page for the building. Photos from the Oregon Historical Society, Museum of the Oregon Territory, or organizations with propriety ownership will not be uploaded. Contact the Planning Division at 503-722-3789 for help in uploading or scanning your photo.
An inventory form can be created for any building. Oregon City currently has inventory forms for both historic and non-historic buildings. Historic designation is bestowed on a property that has applied for local designation through the Land Use process. Oregon City has over 500 properties locally designated! When properties are locally designated, the city has review authority for exterior alterations to the site. Interior alterations do not require a historic review.
If you are unsure as the whether your property is locally designated, contact the Planning Division at 503-722-3789 for confirmation.
Buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places are usually locally designated as well. National Register designations are separately processed through the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and the National Park Service (NPS).
If you have any questions, please contact the Planning Division at 503-722-3789.