Learning from Past Mistakes

Sometimes, I’ll admit, I think we Oregonians come across as a a little desperate for history. Remember the neon stag sign debate? People passionately argued for preservation of the words on the Made in Oregon sign because the advertisement was part of our heritage. Never mind that the sign had previously read “White Stag” for an Oregon clothing company. And before that, “White Satin” for a sugar refinery.

But I get it.  Some extraordinary Oregon buildings have been mindlessly destroyed in the name of progress, and no one wants to see that happen again. It’s heart breaking.

The Architectural Heritage Center in Portland does preventative work to avoid further heart ache.  The nonprofit hosts workshops, exhibits and programs “to help people appreciate, restore and maintain historical homes, buildings and neighborhoods.”  The center also has a collection of architectural artifacts on display.  Seeing the massive carved figure that once decorated a Portland building is a bit like eyeing the dodo bird in a museum glass case. It’s a shame it’s there. But I’m grateful for the reminder of past mistakes.