As I walk around the streets of Portland today, I can’t help but notice all of the modern buildings that now dominate our skyline. While these skyscrapers are pleasant to look at and showcase architectural ingenuity, our historical homes, bridges, barns, and churches are relics that make Oregon unique.
Saving these places is the goal of Restore Oregon, which was founded in 1977 as the Historic Preservation League of Oregon. Restore Oregon seeks to preserve Oregon’s most endangered landmarks, as they are cultural, environmental, and economic assets that will be lost to future generations if there is no intervention to save them. Two examples of the landmarks they have worked to preserve include the Ermatinger House in Oregon City and the Egyptian Theater in Coos Bay.
Restore Oregon fights to preserve historical places not only to safeguard our heritage, but because dollar-for-dollar building rehabilitation creates more jobs than either the manufacturing, logging, and construction industries.
Along with the benefits to our local economy, the preservation of historical places is also sustainable. Over 26% of our landfill comes from construction and demolition waste, and it takes an average of 38 years for a new building to save the energy thrown away by demolishing an existing one. Why throw away entire buildings, Restore Oregon asks, when historical buildings can be energy efficient?
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