Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is accepting public comments on proposed changes to rules governing how the state protects important historical places.
The state is proposing updates to the Oregon Administrative Rules that govern how the state administers the federal National Register of Historic Places Program, which lists buildings, districts and other sites important to local, state or national history. The Oregon State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) – an office of OPRD – administers the local program, which is run by the National Park Service.
In the last several years, several high-profile, controversial nominations exposed problems with the National Register process, including determining owner consent and public involvement. Proposed changes seek to establish a fair and transparent process in alignment with federal requirements.
“We’re moving to fix those issues and refine the state rules to work better for Oregonians,” said Ian Johnson, associate deputy state historic preservation officer.
OPRD developed draft rules with the help of a committee of appointed members from state, county and local governments; preservation and natural resource organizations; and citizens with an interest in the National Register program.
OPRD will accept public comments on the proposed changes through 5 p.m. August 14, 2020. Comments can be made online, in writing or via email:
* Via video or telephone in one of three virtual public hearings:
* July 23 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
* July 28 at 7 p.m.
* Information on registering to provide comments during the public hearing will be available here.
After reviewing public comments, OPRD staff plan to present a final recommended rule for consideration to the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission.
The full text of the proposed change is available online.
Properties listed in the National Register are:
* Recognized as significant to the nation, state or community;
* Considered in the planning of federal or federally assisted projects;
* Eligible for federal and state tax benefits;
* Eligible for historic preservation grants when funds are available;
* Eligible for leniency in meeting certain building code requirements.
National Register listing does not place any restrictions on a property at the federal level, unless property owners choose to participate in tax benefit or grant programs.
Learn more about the National Register of Historic Places program in Oregon here.