PORTLAND, Ore. -- Neighbors living on a Southeast Portland street known for holiday spirit say they’re thrilled to now officially be listed as “historic.”
People living on Peacock Lane learned on Monday that the street had been added to the National Register of Historic Places. During the holiday season, hundreds of people typically flock to the neighborhood to view elaborate Christmas lights and decorations.
The push to add the small neighborhood to the national register was prompted after a developer bought a lot on Peacock Lane in 2016 and made plans to build a new home there. Some neighbors expressed concern over the historic look of the street potentially changing or other types of living units being built there.
“Thank heavens. This is great news,” said neighbor Dara Boush when she learned of Peacock Lane being added to the National Register. “The [Christmas] lights bring us together, but it’s way more than that. This helps ensure we can stay a community.”
"Certainly on this street, I can't see how it does anything except help,” added neighbor Steve Johnson. “You can't change the face of your house anyway or else you get run out of the neighborhood," he joked.
Under the new designation, any proposals to demolish historic buildings on the street will now be subject to city council approval. Other requirements could be in store down the road.
“Although National Register district listing only brings with it the guarantee of demolition review for historic buildings, the City of Portland applies an exterior design review to most National Register properties and districts to ensure alterations, additions, and new construction are compatible with the historic styles and materials,” wrote Brandon Spencer-Hartle, a Historic Resources Program Manager for the city, in an email. “The City will work with the neighborhood in the months and year ahead to determine if there is interest in adding this additional level of exterior review.”
Boush said that getting added to the register required effort and fundraising from the neighborhood. Consultants were brought in to help with the process. “We had to put together a lot of the research that went in to the work to try to make sure we all had skin in the game,” Boush said.
In terms of historical significance, houses on Peacock Lane were built by a single architect. Boush said that research from neighbors showed that the street was a “designed” community and was one of the first in the area designed around car ownership.