PORTLAND, Ore. – A 103-year-old historic firehouse building and two neighboring restaurants in the Pearl District of Northwest Portland are likely to be demolished as they sit on property proposed for redevelopment into a 12-story building with 150 residential units.
Apparently, being listed in the Historic Registry doesn't necessarily preclude a developer from buying a building and then tearing it down.
Built in 1913, it was initially designed for horse-drawn operations:
It is listed as a historic resource for its architecture as well as historic significance, as it was “designed to house Engine and Truck Company #3,” the inventory states. “One of four stations of similar design erected on the west side, all designed by Battalion Chief Lee Holden, father of the gas-driven fire boat. This station was originally designed for horse-drawn apparatus and was remodeled later to accommodate mechanized fire equipment.”
Today, it houses a restaurant and bar. The developer proposes to buy this and two adjacent properties, raze them all, and build a 12-story "mixed use" (of course!) structure hosting retail on the ground floor and 150 apartments above.
Just what Metro wants.
Others are less than impressed by the trend - around 50 people showed up to stop the demolition of the Belmont Records building yesterday, and they call the continuing demolitions in neighborhoods across the city a form of "cultural kidnapping" as developers snap up older homes and buildings that fit the neighborhoods and replace them with apartment bunkers that destroy the look and feel of the neighborhoods.
On the one hand, the developer bought the property, and he knows that if he demolishes everything on the property, he can slap up a bunker with 100 or more apartments. And with a 1-bedroom apartment renting for around $1200 a month, he can make a lot of money. On the other hand, once you destroy history, it's gone for good - and with it, the neighborhood that people originally bought into. So it's not surprising that people are becoming increasingly upset.
But if they're serious about stopping it, there's really only one thing for them to do: they need to change their voting habits, and stop electing clowns into office year in and year out.