Jefferson Westside Historic Preservation Project
Jefferson Westside Neighbors (JWN) has formed a task force to explore the possibility of creating one or more historic districts within our boundaries. The task force has begun a fundraising drive as one of the initial steps for this project. Funds raised will be used for outreach and to pay historic preservation consultants to assist with the project. However, neighborhood volunteers will complete most of the work.
Saving our history
Since the 1960s, Eugene has witnessed the successive destruction of several historic neighborhoods, including the turn-of-the-century downtown, and more recently, the west University area. Many JWN residents are concerned that our livable, affordable, and beautiful neighborhood could suffer the same fate. As with the thriving Washburne Historic District in Springfield and the Blair Boulevard Commercial Historic District in the Whiteaker, designation as a historic district has the potential to preserve the fabric of the JWN by protecting it from rampant development.
What is a historic district?
To qualify for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, a historic district “possesses a significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of ... buildings...united historically or aesthetically by plan or physical development.” Criteria include buildings’ significance (historical, architectural, or cultural values); integrity of the buildings (design, workmanship, look and feel); and historic context (50+ years old).
Benefits of a historic district
Historic districts produce many positive outcomes, such as:
- Increased community participation and commitment to the neighborhood.
- Greater diversity in residents’ income levels, consistent with what we have in the JWN.
- Stabilized property values, more reinvestment, affordable housing, and job creation.
Misconceptions about historic districts
Several facts dispel common misconceptions about historic preservation and historic districts:
- Historic preservation means maintaining the neighborhood’s character, not keeping everything the way it is or was. Projects that need a building permit are reviewed by the planning department to ensure compatibility and overall fit with the neighborhood.
- Historic districts promote diversity because of built-in advantages: a mix of housing, good access to public transit, and built-in social infrastructure. That’s the JWN!
- Historic districts include a mix of housing. The JWN has a large share of the city’s affordable middle housing and historic rental properties.
We live in a historic neighborhood! A 1991 report about Eugene’s history included this assessment of Jefferson Westside: “Potentially significant [historic] resources are liberally distributed...from all periods of the neighborhood’s development.”
Asking for your help
Our next step in this exploratory effort is to retain the services of two experienced and respected historic preservation experts, Jonathan Pincus and Liz Carter, to guide our volunteer/unpaid research and to help us determine whether the JWN should apply for historic district status. Jonathan and Liz are longtime residents of the area who have worked closely with the Eugene Planning Department and other local, regional, and national clients. We estimate that an initial $3000 will enable us to hire expert help, mobilize volunteers, and conduct on-the-ground research, while keeping all JWN members informed of both our process and progress. Your ideas matter. Without neighborhood support, a historic district can’t become a reality.
Eugene Neighbors, Inc. (ENI) is an independent 501c3 that provides financial and educational services for its member Neighborhood Associations and other community-based organizations in Eugene. As one of its services, the organization offers its non-profit status for tax-deductible donations.
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Jefferson Westside Neighbors
Raised $1,635 from 4 donations
Eugene Neighbors Inc
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
Raised $271 from 4 donations