A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

House repairs lead to lengthy hearing

Written June 3rd, 2020 by Hasso Hering

The house at 739 Sixth Ave. S.E., the subject of a lengthy hearing before the Landmarks Commission Wednesday night.

If you want to punish someone in Albany, you can sentence them to watch a hearing before the city’s Landmarks Commission. That’s my impression as I am following the proceedings before this board on Wednesday night, now going into its fourth hour just after 9 p.m.

The seven-member board, meeting remotely on GoToMeeting and by phone, was wrestling with an application to use substitute materials on a 120-year-old house near the railroad tracks, at 739 Sixth Ave. S.E.

A Corvallis real estate company bought the place, intending to flip it, but then decided to keep it as a rental, according to the testimony. They started making repairs but, about half way through the work, were served with an order to stop. The applicant said they had not realized the place was on the outskirts of the Hackleman Historic District and they needed a historic review permit to proceed.

In debating the application, the commission was hoping to restore some historic looks to the place, which had apparently undergone several alterations over the years without city reviews or permits of any kind.

For hours, then, the board members considered whether this or that item could be restored, or whether a modern material should be allowed even though the originals were removed long ago and replaced without permission.

The applicant had proposed to use a certain kind of siding on the partially enclosed porch, but the commission wanted it restored as an open porch in keeping with the Queen Anne style. That apparently will require an additional permit for exterior alterations, and a new plan to be submitted to the city for historic review.

In the end, it appeared the board approved the application, but with so many conditions that this observer couldn’t tell whether the action actually allowed the repair job to resume. There were conditions about the porch, the type of windows, window trim, and the kind of siding to be used on the bottom of the exterior walls.

Commission members complained that there’s no systematic way of notifying buyers that what they’re buying is in a historic district. These applicants said they didn’t know and never thought about it based on the looks of this place and its neighborhood, right next to the tracks.

The hearing concluded just before 9:30. And then the board spent more time talking about ways of notifying buyers of the requirements in historic districts, maybe involving real estate agents and the titling process.

Chair Kerry McQuillin tried to reassure the board’s new members. “It isn’t always this hard,” she said. (hh)



12 responses to “House repairs lead to lengthy hearing”

  1. Ginnyj says:

    It isn’t always this hard? Almost everything that has to do with the City of Albany is difficult!

  2. Albany YIMBY says:

    Let’s be honest, that house was already bland and hideous when it was built. This fake historicist criterium of the commission is laughable. Houses need to be built and repaired with the best techniques and aesthetics of the time. Preserving an long begone era in every common non-remarkable building is only hindering Albany’s future and appeal for residents and businesses. Let’s preserve what has historical value and let people use modern materials and architecture for the rest.

    Some houses that would look much better:




  3. James Engel says:

    Absolutely a dictatorial nonsense review to comply & a complete waste of time. This whole City Council & Historic Committee needs an Historic Review of it’s own actions. It’s an old freeking house my gawd so what difference does it make?

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      You’re right-
      Why in the world would anyone ever want to volunteer for any of these positions…

      • Bill Kapaun says:

        ” Ray Kopczynski says: June 4, 2020 at 12:46 pm

        You’re right-
        Why in the world would anyone ever want to volunteer for any of these positions…”


        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          Must be a masochistic sense of “ego” considering all the arrows being directed towards them…

  4. Jill E Morgan says:

    OMG, Blackberry vines were taking over this house before it was bought….just be thankful it is being taken care of before it fell down!

  5. Steve Anderson says:

    While I really would have liked to purchase a historical craftsman home in the Monteith district this is the reason why my wife and I have given up on ever purchasing any home there. So we just purchased a home outside these two districts.

    Lengthy permit procedures plus fees, certified and approved materials, and extreme design restrictions that seem to be always changing. It’s because these restrictions I have known several other local folks that were once willing to move into these neighborhoods to look elsewhere.

  6. centrist says:

    “…without permission…”
    First, how many changes happened to this little bungalow before the historical committee came to be. So, they want it “restored” to something it may not have been for many years.
    Wonder what the ROI will be to fund what the committee permits. Could end up a walkoff

  7. hj.anony1 says:

    I sentence YOU hasso and punish you to that what you write & publish. that is all

  8. Tim Siddiqui says:

    There are those who acquire an old house or an antique, or a classic car to restore for the love of it.
    Most all other properties have to pan out.


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