In the battle for Eastmoreland, chaos is still winning.
The National Park Service has once again tossed the nomination of the Eastmoreland neighborhood for a historic district back to the Oregon state officials.
The nomination was this week returned to the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office over concerns previously raised in older rejections of the nomination.
The state re-submitted the latest draft of the nomination to the National Park Service in May, but the NPS returned it with several issues: the lack of an accurate count of property owners, and possible opposition that hadn't been considered. If more than 50 percent of property owners in the district oppose the area becoming a historic district, then the district fails to make the National Register.
Standing in the way? Oregon's own confusion about who is eligible to voice objections against the nomination. Last year, several property owners in Eastmoreland split their land into smaller lots in order to get more votes against the historic district recognition—and state officials disagree over whether that's within the rules or cheating.
The lack of clarity hasn't stopped the neighborhood from plowing through the process again.
The fight matters—and is so bitterly waged—because historic recognition carries with it the legal right for residents to preserve the neighborhood, by blocking some home demolitions and getting some say over new home design (including possible apartment buildings). That's a powerful incentive in a city where homeowners feel neighborhoods are being wrecked by new development.
Meanwhile, state officials don't expect to clarify the rules until midway through next year.