Success! (We Hope)

There’s been much going on since February, but not much that could be said definitively or publicly until now. We had many interested people, some half interested, and those who’d would love to help but had nothing to offer. Right now, however, Caroline has managed to work with an individual who can take the home. They’ve spoken to Andre, and with the demolition delay granted by the city it looks like the house can be moved in time.

At the moment we’re checking and rechecking the square footage with the city to see if any exceptions need to be granted, but things may be alright with how much is granted as living space, as well as the fact that some more of the house will have to come off in addition to, well, the addition to make it moveable and legal for it’s final destination.

We owe tremendous thanks to all the signers of the petition, the people who have donated their time and expertise pro bono regarding the laws and regulations as well as architecture, and everyone who has given us a boost by word of mouth. Without spreading the plight of the Edwin Rayworth House we couldn’t have found so many wonderful people willing to help us save it.

We’re not out of the woods yet. The home is still on Albina and the threat of premature bulldozers is real, but hopefully we’ll get to the end of the July 12th deadline with the home securely planted on its new lot.

Keep checking back, or subscribe, as more posts will come as we move forward.

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Meetings and Offers

Yesterday was rather nuts for me. I met with a general contractor to examine the house, spoke with a reporter from the Oregonian, discussed moving the building with Emmert International, and attended the Boise Neighborhod Association’s open meeting to present what’s been done along with Caroline.

The building was deemed beautiful and in great condition. Much of the original plaster is still inside, believe it or not, and the floors, walls, ceilings, and crawl spaces are impeccable for a house over a century old. The GC said restoration, especially if the strange addition in the back is removed, could be easily done. I was thrilled and passed on his information to Emmert International.

Emmert International has been great and is willing to offer $5,000 off the cost of moving the building, which includes a new foundation. We’ve already had two people inquire about having the house placed on their lots and are currently getting quotes and discussing the viability of both lots regarding obstacles, distance, and any laws that may be involved. This doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet, so to speak, and if anyone else has a lot or knows someone who wants this home I encourage you to contact us through this blog or the change.org petition.

The Boise Neighborhood Association doesn’t want to see the building demolished, even if it must be moved because the foundation is unfixable or Mr. Koshuba is unwilling to part with the property.

Keep your eyes peeled for the article in the Oregonian, and keep spreading the word about the house. The more people who sign the petition, the more people we can reach, and a better chance we have of finding people who can help or are willing to donate to save the house.

Categories: Edwin Rayworth House | 3 Comments

Front Page of the DJC

The DJC came out last week to take photos for an article on the Edwin Rayworth House that landed on the front page. While the article is only available to subscribers, in it Reed Jackson covered the plight of the house and Albina residents struggle with both the city and developers. Mr. Koshuba’s lack of desire to renovate, especially with the foundation in poor condition, the push for greater density, and the lack of appeal processes regarding projects in the neighborhood all contribute to the perfect storm currently brewing around the Edwin Rayworth. On the positive side the DJC isn’t the only group interested in sharing the story, and Monday a reporter for Oregon Live intends to speak with me and attend the neighborhood meeting. The increased awareness of the home’s plight has catapulted our Change.org petition past 100 signers and we’re already beginning to head towards 200.

I visited the house Friday evening and plan to go back when it’s more light out, but from what I witnessed the building has terrific structure and just needs a little finishing and TLC cosmetic work. It’s a beautiful home with great potential to be even more a gem of the neighborhood than it already is. It could easily serve as a home, business, or community center for Albina residents, encapsulating both the history of the area and it’s dedication to caring for the neighborhood and it’s residents. Hopefully as more people become aware of the issues facing Albina and this home they will be supportive of legislative change to keep our neighborhoods beautiful and protect our history. Our past is important because it shapes us as individuals and communities and gives rise to our unique traits and perspectives. Valuing for what it is is important, not just to us, but to everyone who visits or lives here in the future as it’s their history too.

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Change.org and visiting the Edwin Rayworth house

I’ve been in contact with the local Neighborhood Associations, multiple news outlets, and the developer, Andre Koshuba. As it stands, I have been granted permission to access the property and the interior of the building to give it a preliminary examination before anyone is called out to do a full inspection. This is promising, as Mr. Koshuba has been extremely friendly and willing to work with me as we move forward with our plan to save the house.

In the meantime a Change.org petition has been started in order to encourage supporters to let us know they are interested and what’s important to them about saving the Edwin Rayworth house. With enough voices we hope to be able to convince the city it is necessary for them to change their policies to protect our historic structures and gain Historical District designation for this neighborhood.

I strongly encourage anyone interested in saving this structure or in helping change the city’s policies sign the petition and comment with any ideas, suggestions, or input that you may have. Spread the word and share it with your friends and family! If you would like to speak with us in person or be an active part, please feel free to attend our general neighborhood meeting on Feb. 11th at Alibina Youth Opportunity School (3710 N Mississippi Ave) from 7-9 pm. The more voices that are heard, the better we can serve the community and ensure our history is kept intact sustainably and with respect. Our environment and neighborhoods deserve better than to be flooded with poor construction as a result of faulty planning and legislation.

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The Edwin Rayworth House

At the end of January, it was reported that a house built in the 1890′s was going to be torn down and rebuilt as two smaller homes. The news came to light in the Eliot Neighborhood Association’s blog and began making the rounds on reddit, facebook, and, of course, amongst the residents of the building’s neighborhood. Many were outraged this could be allowed to happen, even more so once it was discovered that the splitting of lots was not only encouraged, but legally mandated to increase population density.

Mostly local residents are saddened by this loss. The house is a beautiful reminder of our city’s past and one of only two 1890′s homes on the block. When the economy tanked in 2008 it took the last owner, who was renovating at the time, with it. The home stood empty and neglected by the bank until purchased by a developer last fall and it’s state is a direct result of the lack of protections on our older buildings and homes. If left alone it will be demolished, a victim of Portland’s desire to destroy and rebuild rather than care for it’s structures.

But – and this is a large but – there IS a chance the house can be saved. The developer is wiling to allow anyone interested in removing the structure from the property to fund and organize a relocation. I have been busy reaching out to National Trust for Preservation, the Historic Protection League of Oregon, and the Architechtural Heritage Center to see what help they can offer and sharing the story on Twitter and Facebook as well as contacting Oregon Live and other news outlets. If enough people are informed of this situation and enough funds raised the home can be evaluated for a move. As long as we have enough money and land to place it on – and the house is healthy – we can prevent the tragic loss of one of Portland’s beautiful and unique structures.

I would like to ask that anyone interested in seeing this house preserved share this story with friends, family, and their baristas and bartenders. The first step is awareness, and even if we cannot save the house we can still open a dialogue between our neighbors and the city about the sustainability and impact of their current policies and the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling even our homes.

Categories: Edwin Rayworth House | Tags: , | 3 Comments

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