A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

East of Lyon: A remarkable comeback

Written January 16th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

Here’s one of the houses that look impressive in the part of central Albany east of Lyon Street.

On an evening stroll through central Albany east of Lyon Street, I took a few photos of houses that impressed me as restored, repainted, fixed up, or just showing signs that the owner or somebody has been taking good care of them.

Here are some of the shots.

Until about 20 years ago, give or take a few years, the area east of Lyon, part of it in the Hackleman Historic District, used to give the impression of general neglect or decline. As I hope these examples show, that has changed.

Some of these houses obviously have been recently fixed up, by their owners in most cases. Others just show signs that somebody cares for the property and wants it to look good.

Some of the places are grand, others much more modest in size. Pride of ownership makes a big difference in even the smallest old house.

Lots of the structures in the area are very old, some having been built more than a century ago. But the owners of the ones that drew my attention are proving that these houses are well worth the effort to make sure they can serve a useful purpose — decent housing, mainly  — for another hundred years or more.

If you don’t live in the area, take a stroll and look around. I think you’ll see that this sector of Albany is coming back. (hh)

14 responses to “East of Lyon: A remarkable comeback”

  1. S. Whittle says:

    Given the bully boys at the Albany Landmark Commission on Sacrosanct Architecture, it is no wonder these folks are remodeling.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      And if any of it IS because of the existing rules used by Landmarks, BRAVO! Albany is much better for the results…

    • Hasso Hering says:

      The Landmarks Commission has no authority to require historic properties to be properly maintained. Owners can, and sometimes do, let their properties run down to become ruins and eyesores, as we’ve seen. From these pictures alone, and certainly from walking by and taking a look, it’s obvious the houses shown here look good because their owners care and do whatever they can without anybody “bullying” them.

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        However, Landmarks can require any repairs to be in compliance with rules they are governed by…

  2. Jeannette says:

    And we would very much welcome these homes on our historic home tours! If interested please contact the Albany Visitors Association

  3. Lundy says:

    Over my last dozen or so years at the Democrat-Herald, I made a lot of trips from the DH to the Pepper Tree Sausage House on Salem Avenue and regularly noticed what you reported on today: that a lot of the places in that part of town stood out as really well cared for.

  4. Anne Catlin says:

    Hasso, thanks for the article with pictures and for visiting the neighborhood. The Catlins live in the Hackleman District (in a house with a detached ADU) and have certainly seen an increase in caring property owners and improved homes.

  5. Dick Olsen says:

    Thank you Hasso for appreciating the improvements in housing east of Lyon St. If these houses needed exterior modifications the Landmarks Commission would have approved them. Landmarks also turns down and advises against unfortunate rebuilding and demolition ideas that will degrade the property and in turn degrade the Historic District. The Landmarks Commission is made up of people who know what they are talking about (architecture, historic construction, history of Albany ,etc.) . The rebirth of our downtown neighborhoods is due in large part to the good advice and consent of our Landmarks Commission.
    I also want to thank the home-owners who have restored these homes.

  6. Jason says:

    Yes our government masters always making rules to control the poor masses because they are so much smarter than us. Gotta love it. More and more freedoms taken away at every level.

  7. James Engel says:

    Now if the CARA board would step up to bring the streets in these housing areas up to par…… then the area would have a 1st class look.

  8. Jl says:

    Pride of ownership shows! Such fun to see these homes taken care of.

  9. centrist says:

    I came of age in a 1910 craftsman 4-square. All of the structural timber was full-dimension clear. (Just picture a 40 ft 12×12)
    Oak flooring on the main level had many pieces over 20 ft.
    This 12yo scraped seemingly miles of near- black varnish and reattached the sash weights on the doublehung windows.
    Dad recognized a wall-covering as lincresta. We made sure to preserve that.
    Long story short, Mom felt dishonest in accepting 150k for the house when she sold it.
    I stilltrack it occasionally because it’s HOME. Last sale was well north of 500k (it’s in a target PDX neighborhood)
    So, while I am impressed by hand-sawn corners and square plaster corners, I’m OK with my insulated ranch in North Albany. (Well, after pulling the woodwork paint [often in sheets with thumb an fingers], fixing the open splices left by allegedly licensed electricians)


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