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Preservation matters to all of us

I want to thank Kasey Holwerda for clarifying the role of the city's Historic Resources Advisory Board in her letter of Nov. 24, responding to the Nov.10 (story) on the school district regarding the listing of the Lake Grove Swim Park on the city's Landmark Designation List.

While preservation has in the past been a 'movement,' it is now recognized in every state, county, city, town and village as an accepted element in municipal planning. Elected officials, volunteers and residents in general understand the value of preserving historic structures and sites for everything from increased tourism on the economic side to an appreciation by the citizens of the beauty, charm, character and memories provided by old buildings and neighborhoods.

To quote Richard Moe, for many years president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, 'To begin with, we preserve them simply because they're good to look at. Older buildings are a feast for the unhurried eye, a welcome diversion from the glass-and-steel banality that casts a pall over too many communities.' Continuing, he says, 'Besides that, they work. Countless reuse projects have shown that old buildings can function in ways their original builders never dreamed of.'

According to Mr. Moe, 'Preserved buildings and neighborhoods attract tourists. Travel expert Arthur Frommer says, 'Tourism simply doesn't go to a city that has lost its soul.''

Again quoting Richard Moe, 'A final - and perhaps most important - reason for saving old buildings is illustrated in a statement by John Ruskin: 'Architecture is to be regarded by us with the most serious thought. We may live without her and worship without her, but we cannot remember without her.''

In a best-selling novel, Anne Rivers Siddons wrote: '… there should be, in every life, a place … where you could come and visit your past, and the past of your people, and know that whatever happened outside, here timelessness lived.'

A final quote from Mr. Moe: 'All of us need a place like that - a place where we can have our history close at hand, where we can see it, touch it, learn from it. Preservation helps that timelessness live in every community in America.'

To all our wonderful owners whose properties are on the city's landmark designation list, HRAB extends a heartfelt 'thank you' for your stewardship. I only wish my own home were historically significant enough to join you. What an honor that would be!

Jeannie McGuire, Lake Oswego, is the chair of the Historic Resources Advisory Board.