Portland's Historic Preservation Program
Our historic architecture is one of the major character defining features of Portland. It is an important part of what gives Portland a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining creative people and people who want to live in proximity to creative people.
After the demise of Union Station in 1961 for construction of a strip mall historic preservationists gathered to establish Greater Portland Landmarks. Although the city suffered a series of demolitions along the newly created Franklin and Spring Street arterials, Landmarks was able through grassroots efforts to save many of the city’s historic neighborhoods. Using National Register designations to mitigate the effects of federal transportation projects and educating homeowners on effective preservation techniques, Landmarks worked to encourage individuals to protect their historic homes and neighborhoods. At the same time, Landmarks urged the city to adopt protections for historic buildings.
In 1990 the City of Portland adopted a comprehensive historic preservation ordinance protecting historically and architecturally significant buildings, landscapes, and sites from demolition and provided review standards to ensure compatible changes. The Historic Preservation Program is overseen by a seven member citizen board that reviews and approves applications for exterior alterations, site improvements, and new construction affecting designated landmarks as well as buildings and sites within historic districts. The board also recommends the designation of additional landmarks, historic districts, and historic landscape districts to the Planning Board and City Council.
Greater Portland Landmarks awarded the members and staff of the Historic Preservation Committee/Board from 1990-2014 a Preservation Honor Award for their service in preserving Portland’s historic resources.
What You Can Do
- Support Landmarks' advocacy efforts and educational programs.
- Sign up for our mailing list to stay informed about our advocacy efforts, including meetings and public hearings at City Hall.