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Restore Oregon Announces Winners of the 2021 DeMuro Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation
Historic Preservation Blog from PreservationDirectory.com -
Contributed By: Restore Oregon
Email The Author: jeannette@restoreoregon.org
Website: http://restoreoregon.org

PORTLAND, OR--September 14, 2021--Restore Oregon has selected eleven historic projects across Oregon to receive a 2021 DeMuro Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation, the state’s highest honor for the preservation, reuse, and revitalization of architectural and cultural sites.

Restore Oregon promotes inclusive historic preservation as a means of preserving our region’s cultural heritage, and as a tool for solving challenges such as insufficient affordable housing, stalled economic development, and negative impacts from climate change. The annual DeMuro Awards program recognizes significant achievements in the preservation of Oregon’s built environment by showcasing teams of architects, property owners, and community leaders who have honored Oregon’s historic architecture and cultural heritage. 

This year’s winners join nearly 100 projects that have been recognized with  DeMuro Awards since 2013. Winning projects are selected by a jury of top professionals in the fields of architecture, engineering, planning, and historic preservation who select projects that align with Restore Oregon's mission. “These DeMuro-award winning projects serve as inspiration for solving real-world challenges in every community in our state” said Nicole Possert, Restore Oregon Executive Director. “Our jury from across Oregon selected our 2021 winners based on each project’s positive impact upon its community, the ways in which each project might inspire others to save historic places, and the degree to which each project aligned with Restore Oregon’s mission to preserve, reuse, and pass forward the historic places that reflect Oregon’s diverse cultural heritage and make our communities inclusive, vibrant, and sustainable.” 

This year’s winning projects each highlight innovative approaches to preservation: two of the eleven projects created much-needed affordable/low-income housing units, an additional four projects reused industrial spaces in creative ways, and two other projects restored unoccupied buildings that now house thriving small businesses. 

Selected for extraordinary design, craftsmanship, creative problem-solving, and community impact, the 2021 DeMuro Award-winning projects are: 

The Rose Apartments (1910), Portland
Since 1988, the Rose Apartments has offered safe, affordable housing and access to resident services in the form of  single-room occupancy (SRO) permanent housing for women impacted by homelessness or other trauma. offered residents safe, affordable housing and access to resident services since 1988. The building's historically-sensitive update utilized multiple tax credits to complete a scope of work which included reconfiguring community gathering areas, increasing ADA accessibility, and completing a full seismic upgrade - all while restoring and highlighting historical features such as the main staircase, original Murphy bed alcoves, and cast iron radiators. 

Henry Building (1909), Portland
The renovation of Portland’s 112 year-old Henry Building -- on behalf of the nonprofit Central City Concern -- presented a variety of challenges. The project team was tasked with providing a cost-effective seismic design solution that both respected the historic character of the structure, while also adding affordable housing units. Thanks to a collaborative design approach and numerous tax credits, the Henry Building is now the tallest seismically-reinforced masonry building in Portland. Today, the rehabilitated National Register-listed building offers safe, beautiful and dignified spaces for 173 veterans and low-income residents.

For Mrs. Noble (1928), Portland
Lovingly named after one of Portland’s first female developers (Mary Noble), with hopes of inspiring further reinvestment and preservation in the Foster-Powell neighborhood, the For Mrs. Noble building has been given a new lease on life after over 90 years of neglect. Originally housing three commercial tenant spaces on the first floor, and offices plus one small apartment on the second, the restored building now houses over half a dozen small businesses and seeks to lease space to other local, emerging businesses that reflect the diversity of the neighborhood.

Caples House Museum (1870), Columbia City 
Situated in the heart of Columbia City, overlooking the Columbia River, is the Caples House Museum. This two-story Classical Revival house, once home to community physician Dr. Caples, has been in the care of the Oregon State Society Daughters of the American Revolution since the late 1950s. In desperate need of a stable foundation and front porch restoration, a group of volunteers raised funds and planned for the preservation and rehabilitation of the Caples House for over 10 years. The result is a beautifully-restored community museum and events center.

The Madeleine (1912), Portland 
Over the course of 109 years, the original sanctuary of The Madeleine’s Old Church had fallen into disrepair. Reviving it as a sacred space for prayer, learning, and community events came with the challenge of bringing this early 20th century building up to code while also preserving and restoring its historic character. The design team worked to integrate and conceal modern systems like high efficiency heating and cooling, and significant structural upgrades, so that the most exceptional aspects of this project would be elements that go unseen today. Trim and stained-glass windows were refurbished, and the accent wall from the 1930s that had been previously painted over was recreated, complete with gold leaf detailing. Daily Mass is now celebrated in the stunning refurbished sanctuary that once again serves as an essential part of The Madeleine Parish community.

Premier Gear (1923), Portland 
This ambitious adaptive reuse project took a disjointed warehouse building and morphed the structure into a unified and creative office space. Launched in 1923, Premier Gear created machine parts including gears that raise various bridges along the Willamette River. Rapid expansion of Premier Gear over the course of 50 years led to the business stitching together five separate structures to create their warehouse. The design team reimagined the building to create new office spaces while maintaining the structure’s historic industrial integrity.

Living Room Realty Headquarters (1962), Portland
Constructed in 1962 as the Postal Employees Credit Union, this International Style building housed the Credit Union for over 30 years before becoming a juvenile corrections facility. Sold to Living Room Realty in 2018, the new owners envisioned restoring the building back to its former 1960s design. Razor wire and other remnants of the corrections facility were removed, and historic features like curved glulam beams and color-blocked stained glass were restored. Aiming for a harmonious balance between historic and new, the design team drew inspiration from the structure’s historic stained glass and infused those colors into bathrooms and hallway doors.

Jim Fisher Volvo (1911, 1952), Portland
Operating continuously for 110 years as an auto dealership and repair shop, the Jim Fisher Volvo building stands as the last remnant of “auto row” on West Burnside in Portland. A 1952 remodel truly makes this building stand out: the addition of green Vitrolite glass was added to two sides of the four story building to modernize the facade. This use of Vitrolite is the largest known installation in Oregon and possibly the United States. The historic quantity of Vitrolite on the building proved to be a challenge for the preservation team, and thoughtful design was needed to repair squares of the Vitrolite with back-painted glass.

Gray-Belle Building (1907), Salem
This project in the heart of Salem’s historic downtown boasts a lengthy history as a food establishment. Hosting a myriad of eateries since 1907, the Grey-Belle building was recently renovated after sitting vacant since 2015. The building’s story has come full circle, as it is now home to Salem’s first food hall, supporting seven local small businesses downstairs, with five newly-restored historic apartments on the second floor. Artifacts found during the archaeology portion of the renovation are on display in the food hall and speak to the history of this National Register-listed building.

Pole House 5 (1971), Otis
Tucked away on the central Oregon Coast, overlooking the ocean, lies a cluster of seven treehouse-like wood-framed cabins, one of which is Pole House 5. This ambitious renovation project preserved this unique home after decades of water intrusion and natural degradation. The structure, which hovers multiple feet off of the forest floor, is perched on several poles and is part of a carefully planned ensemble of homes. The design team focused most of their restoration efforts on the home’s original carpentry and encountered challenges such as adding insulation without disrupting existing proportions or sight lines. The end result is a beautifully preserved retreat.

Carlton Office Building (1916), Carlton
Built in 1916 as Carlton’s first auto repair garage, this building has housed various businesses in downtown Carlton, including a logging company, a glove company, and a winery production facility. Now revamped as office space, the project team took care to showcase the historic character of this unreinforced masonry building, particularly highlighting the heavy timber bow trusses that dominate the ceiling, allowing for an open interior footprint. This renovation project has inspired other improvements in downtown Carlton and has generated new economic opportunities for the area.


Posted: September 15, 2021
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