Citizens accept DeMuro Award for restoring Oswego Iron Furnace

by: FRANK KUO - Susanna Kuo holds the DeMuro Award, a beautifully crafted piece of pottery that pays tribute to traditional artisan skills in REVIEW FILE PHOTO - The Oswego Iron Furnace was restored in 2010.The ceremony featured a keynote speech by Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, who emphasized the importance of preserving historic places to create livability and economic viability.

The beautifully restored Oswego Iron Furnace does that in Lake Oswego and now serves as an important educational and heritage tourism center.

“All of us involved in the project are thrilled to receive this honor,” Kuo said. “The furnace has received two national awards, but this is the first time it has been honored in Oregon so that makes it very special.”

The restoration of the Oswego Iron Furnace was fervently supported by the Furnace Restoration Task Force because it marked the recognition of the section of the area between Willamette River and Lake Oswego as the birthplace of industry in Oregon. At the beginning this goal seemed to be only a pipe dream.

“There were definitely times when all of us on the task force had doubts about whether it would be restored,” Kuo said. “We wondered how we could come up with a million dollars. The West Coast requirements for seismic stabilization made the project very expensive.”

This high cost was met when the city of Lake Oswego came up with a plan to finance the restoration with an increase in the hotel/motel tax.

The recognition of the Furnace Restoration Task Force comes at a time when public support of historical preservation projects is rising and more and more cities want to preserve their industrial heritage.

“The upcoming redevelopment for the former Blue Heron paper mill site in Oregon City presents an exciting opportunity for preserving some of that industrial heritage,” Kuo said.

Other Lake Oswego residents who attended the awards event were Jeanie McGuire, vice chairwoman of the Lake Oswego Historic Resources Advisory Board, and Paul Espe, associate planner for the city of Lake Oswego..

The DeMuro Award is named in honor of Art DeMuro, a pioneer in the redevelopment of important historic properties in Oregon history such as the White Stag Block.

For more information about restoring Oregon historical places, go to the website

Cliff Newell can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 105.

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