Munjoy Hill


The Issue

In December of 2017 the Portland City Council voted to approve a six-month moratorium on demolitions in the R-6 district on Munjoy Hill.  The impetus for adoption was concern from some Munjoy Hill residents that the current residential development interest was resulting in an undue number of demolitions to existing structures and infill development that was sometimes out of scale and character with existing neighborhood fabric. In June 2018 the City Council approved an overlay district that includes changes to the dimensional standards, design review by the Historic Preservation Board for projects choosing to meet the alternative design standards, and demolition review standards for existing residences. The Council also urged the city to look at potential historic district protections for some areas on Munjoy Hill.

Consultants and city staff compiled documentation on more than 400 buildings that could be included in a local historic district. In late April 2019, the city presented a preliminary proposal on potential boundaries and is holding public meetings to answer questions about a potential historic district designation.

Our Position

“The Case For Munjoy Hill”, Landmarks Magazine, May 2019

Landmarks’ mission to preserve Greater Portland’s remarkable legacy of buildings, landscapes, and parks is achieved in part by identifying valuable historic resources that tell the story of our community. The historic dwellings that line the Eastern Prom are integral to the setting of the Eastern Promenade, which is a Historic Landscape District. In addition to these properties our own research has determined that two-thirds, or 500 of the approximately 750 buildings in the R-6 zone on Munjoy Hill retain their historic architectural integrity. These historic resources help define the streetscapes that make this neighborhood of Portland a desirable place to live, work, and recreate.

Historic District Designations Landmarks supports designation of a Munjoy Hill Local Historic District with boundaries focused on the Eastern Promenade and North Street. These resources tell the story of the Munjoy Hill neighborhood’s development over a broad period of time and retain significant levels of architectural integrity. Munjoy Hill's historic buildings are significant features of the neighborhood's streetscapes and help make the area a desirable and attractive place to live, work and play. We believe it is necessary to preserve the character defining buildings that reflect the neighborhood's development over a broad period of time and the role these buildings' residents played in the social and cultural history of the neighborhood, before more of the Hill's historic identity is lost.

Historic preservation is a key part of the City’s 2017 Comprehensive Plan, as is affordable housing and sustainable development. In many cases these historic buildings include existing affordable housing units. Retaining these units rather than replacing them with costly new condominiums is an important means to meeting affordable housing needs on Munjoy Hill. Also, the preservation or reuse of these buildings and their embodied energy helps to fulfill City Comprehensive Plan goals to adopt sustainable building and land use polices.

City of Portland’s Map of potential district boundaries.

City of Portland’s Map of potential district boundaries.


Quick Links

 A special thank you to the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization for inviting us to their quarterly  neighborhood meeting on March 22nd  to talk about the history of the neighborhood and answer questions about what historic districts are in Portland. Miss the Presentation? You can see the slideshow here. 

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