“Last Dance” For Historic Oatfield House

The historic  Phil Oatfield house, designated as the “John Oatfield House” by Clackamas County, is about to have its “last dance”.

Located at 14928 S.E. Oatfield Rd. in Oak Grove the recent owner has petitioned Clackamas County to demolish it.  Built in 1903 by Philip Oatfield, a son of pioneers Michael and Minerva Oatfield, the house has fallen into disrepair in recent years and the property has been purchased by a developer.

Clackamas County has posted this announcement on its website:

Public hearing on April 20 may determine future of historic landmark house

A Clackamas County land use hearing set for 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 20, may mark the end of the historic Oatfield House in the Oak Lodge community just south of Milwaukie.

The hearing on demolition of the property, as requested by the property owner, will be held in the auditorium of the county’s Development Services Building, 150 Beavercreek Road in Oregon City. The county has the authority to delay demolition, but not to prevent it.

The public is welcome to attend the public hearing and to testify.

The John R. Oatfield House, known also as the Phillip Oatfield House, was designated as a historic landmark in 1987. The property has been vacant for more than two years and is in very poor condition. According to county planners and building officials, the structure is deteriorating rapidly and poses a safety threat to the community.

County staff worked for several months with the Oak Lodge History Detectives and Restore Oregon to find an organization or person with the resources and interest to restore the house. The attempt was unsuccessful.

Linda Preisz, a Clackamas County planner and staff liaison to the county’s Historic Review Board, says, “Unfortunately without the stewardship of a caring owner, preserving a landmark becomes an overwhelming task. Unless a philanthropic individual or group steps forward to restore this house or move it to a new location, this historic treasure will be lost forever.”

The Oatfield House was built in 1903 by Phillip Oatfield, John Oatfield’s brother. The Colonial Revival-style house is located on a large lot with a barn, sheds, a chicken coop and a well structure. The property also has four giant sequoia trees, a monkey puzzle tree, and grapevines estimated to be at least 75 years old.

John and Phillip Oatfield were the sons of pioneer Michael Oatfield, who arrived in the area in 1861. Michael Oatfield assembled 600 acres of land for orchards and farming, which was later expanded by his sons. The brothers were instrumental in establishing the Oak Lodge Water District and rural telephone service. John Oatfield sat on the local school board for 25 years, and was also responsible for obtaining a 10-mile special road tax to improve Old River Road and build Oatfield Road (named after his family).

The property started to decline in the 1980s, the property owner died in 2011, and the family sold the property in 2014. Since then the home has been left vacant.

For more information, members of the media and public may contact Preisz at 503-742-4528.

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Rapidly rising property values, an increasing demand for housing, aging historic landmarks and inadequate preservation ordinances has led to the loss of many of our irreplaceable historic resources and seriously threatens our community heritage.

Testimony regarding this proposed demolition can be provided at the hearing, either orally or in writing – – or can be “submitted by email, fax, regular mail or hand delivery” up until April 11th to be considered by county staff in their issuance of a report.  County asks that the case file no. ZOOO9-17 be included in written testimony.

The Oak Lodge History Detectives (OLHD) would like to see this historic house saved, but unless someone comes forward to either purchase the property outright to restore it, or move the house, it will likely be demolished. OLHD urges the public to spread the word, and anyone interested in saving the house to please contact Linda Preisz (Clackamas County) at 503-742-4528 or email her at lindap@co.clackamas.or.us   Written testimony sent by U.S. Mail can be sent to

Linda Preisz
Senior Planner
Clackamas Co. Planning Division
150 Beavercreek Rd.
Oregon City, OR 97045

Once gone our historical resources are gone for good.  Please take a moment to consider the consequences.

Mike Schmeer
Chairman, Oak Lodge History Detectives

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OLHD April 2017 Meeting

THURSDAY APR. 13th
7:00 P.M.

OAK LODGE WATER DISTRICT OFFICES
14496 S.E. River Rd. @ Maple St.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

At Long Last

BRICKS & MORTAR
CHAPTER II

Find out how the History Detectives solved a local mystery!
Please join us for another great history oriented evening.

April 2017 meeting announcement for Oak Lodge History Detectives

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Clackamas County Historical Society Survey

Greetings:

The Clackamas County Historical Society is embarking on a public survey process to better find out WHY folks care about history and WHAT they care about with regards to history. CCHS would appreciate it if you would take some time to fill out this survey. You can find it at:

https://goo.gl/forms/oLnZyfEx7BbwbPY92

Sincerely,
Mike Schmeer
Chairman, Oak Lodge History Detectives

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Oatfield House Demolition Update

Greetings:

Many of you may be wondering about the results of the “hearing” on March 9th pertaining to the proposed demolition of the Phil Oatfield House.

The “hearing” was intended to give interested parties an opportunity to testify before the Clackamas County Historic Review Board, with a resulting up or down decision.

It turns out that the county came to realize that, under some new rules, they were reviewing it incorrectly – that it was being reviewed as a Type II application when it should have been reviewed as a Type III application.  A Type III application must go before a Hearings Officer, as opposed to being reviewed solely by the Historic Review Board.   So the March 9th meeting became more of a gathering for a discussion — no decision was made. So it’s Back To The Drawing Board.

An actual HEARING before a Hearings Officer has been scheduled for 9:30 a.m.  April 20, 2017.  So mark your calendars!

Mike Schmeer
Chairman, Oak Lodge History Detectives

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Oatfield House Demolition Hearing

PHIL OATFIELD HOUSE HEARING
THURSDAY MARCH 9th
Clackamas County Development Services Bldg.
Room 118
150 Beavercreek Rd.
Oregon City
7:00 P.M.

This is a final reminder that the hearing regarding the proposed demolition of the Phil Oatfield House, at 14928 S.E. Oatfield Rd., will be Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m.

This hearing exactly coincides with our Oak Lodge History Detectives meeting. If you would like to still attend our OLHD meeting you may send in written testimony prior to the hearing to:

Linda Preisz
Senior Planner
lindap@co.clackamas.or.us

Your testimony should cite ZOOO9-17 “Demolition of Oatfield House” in your subject line and testimony. Mailed testimony using the U.S. Postal Service may not arrive in time.

OLHD appreciates your interest.

Mike Schmeer
Chairman, OLHD

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William Finley Photo Collection

Greetings:

Recently the Oregon Historical Society and Oregon State University combined efforts and produced a several hundred image collection of images from the Finley family. They call it “Reuniting Finley and Bohlman“. For historians interested in Jennings Lodge this is a treasure trove of Jennings Lodge history ca. 1908-1910.

Photograph of William L. Finley holding desert sparrows (1910)

William L. Finley holding desert sparrows (1910)

Photograph of H. T. Bohlman and William Finley photographing an eagle’s nest (1904)

Photograph of H. T. Bohlman and William Finley photographing an eagle’s nest (1904)

Included among these photos are images of William (Bill) Jennings fishing, Thomas Spooner (“Mr. Spooner”, husband of Ella S. Jennings) and Irene Finley, two images of the Jennings family home on the bank of the Willamette River, Wm. Finley’s FIRST house perched on a narrow flat area above the river (and just below the current Finley house) in the adjacent property to the Jennings house, a Willamette River steamboat, several images of the Willamette River shoreline in the vicinity of Hull Ave., one image (at least) of the west end of Jennings Ave., Finley and Bill Jennings harvesting hay, views of the Finley property looking east from the house, “Spring Branch” (the spring fed creek that provided their water) William Finley himself — as well as hundreds of wildlife, flora and fauna images.

Mr. Jennings fishing (1908-09-26)

Mr. Jennings fishing (1908-09-26)

Photograph, view of a boat on the Willamette River in front of the Finley house, taken from study window (Dec. 1907)

View of a boat on the Willamette River in front of the Finley house, taken from study window (Dec. 1907)

These images were scanned at such a high resolution that you can zoom in a great deal and observe the detail — leaving one to feel that he is actually there in 1909. They give us a spectacular snapshot into life along the Willamette in 1909. As far as I’ve seen these images are in the “public domain”, and can be downloaded.

Finley house, snow scene (1909-01-09)

Finley house, snow scene (1909-01-09)

Bill Jennings loading hay (1909-07-29)

Bill Jennings loading hay (1909-07-29)

Some of these photos demonstrate, when coupled with other documents, that the Spooners occupied the Jennings family house (Martha Jennings’) for a time after her death in 1900. The images show the fence and gate between the Jennings house and the Finley’s property immediately north of the Jennings house . Most of these were taken in the winter of 1909. Two photos of the Jennings house, when zoomed in, show how the Jennings house (at the west end of Hull, along the river bank) looked in 1909.

Don’t miss out — set aside some time and browse through this spectacular collection of history. Do a search on “Jennings”, or “house”, or “Spooner”, or “Willamette” and take a walk back to the early 1900’s.

https://oregondigital.org/sets/finley-bohlman

Enjoy,
Mike Schmeer
Chairman, Oak Lodge History Detectives

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OLHD March 2017 Meeting

THURSDAY MARCH 9th
7:00 P.M.

Weather Permitting!

OAK LODGE WATER SERVICES OFFICES
14496 SE River Rd. @ Maple St.

Greetings:

With a little bit of luck Old Man Winter will not interrupt our meeting in March!

At our last meeting we spent a fair amount of time discussing At Risk Historic Houses and the things that can lead to their ultimate demolition.

We will be continuing that discussion at our March meeting, focusing on things that OLHD might realistically do to promote interest and pride in our community’s historic homes, with the ultimate goal of encouraging stewardship in these houses – preserving them into the future.

Our guest speaker for the evening will be Joyce Allmon, Willamette View Manor director of Communications and Community Relations, speaking about the History of Willamette View Manor.

1970 newspaper advert for Willamette Methodist Hospital

Update on Oatfield House Demolition Hearing:  March 9th is also the date for the hearing pertaining to the proposed demolition of the Phil Oatfield House.  And as luck would have it, the hearing will be at the EXACT SAME TIME as our OLHD meeting!  The hearing will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the Clackamas County Development Services Building, Room 118,  150 Beavercreek Rd.. in Oregon City. (map)

You now have a choice:  Attend the hearing in person and testify if you wish , OR you can attend the OLHD meeting and provide WRITTEN testimony to the demolition hearing by emailing Linda Preisz at  lindap@co.clackamas.or.us prior to March 9th, citing ZOOO9-17, Demolition of Oatfield House.

You can also write Linda Preisz at Linda Preisz, Senior Planner, Clackamas Co. Planning Division, 150 Beavercreek Rd., Oregon City, OR 97045.

Join us on March 9th for what promises to be an informative and interesting evening.

Mike Schmeer
Chairman, Oak Lodge History Detectives

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Update on Oatfield House Demolition Hearing

The date for the hearing pertaining to the proposed demolition of the Phil Oatfield House is March 9th. And as luck would have it, the hearing will be at the EXACT SAME TIME as our March 2017 OLHD meeting!

The hearing will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the Clackamas County Development Services Building, Room 118,  150 Beavercreek Rd.. in Oregon City. (map)

You now have a choice:  Attend the hearing in person and testify if you wish , OR you can attend the OLHD meeting and provide WRITTEN testimony to the demolition hearing by emailing Linda Preisz at  lindap@co.clackamas.or.us prior to March 9th, citing ZOOO9-17, Demolition of Oatfield House.

You can also write Linda Preisz at Linda Preisz, Senior Planner, Clackamas Co. Planning Division, 150 Beavercreek Rd., Oregon City, OR 97045.

Mike Schmeer
Chairman, Oak Lodge History Detectives

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OLHD February 2017 Meeting

THURSDAY FEB. 9th
7:00 P.M.

Weather Permitting !

OAK LODGE WATER DISTRICT OFFICES
14496 S.E. River Rd. @ Maple St.

Greetings!

They say “Try, try again”. And so we shall attempt to dodge Old Man Winter’s wrath this month and hold our first meeting in several months – cancelled previously due to unusually wintry weather.

The proposed demolition of the Philip T. Oatfield house has highlighted weaknesses in Clackamas County’s Historic Protection ordinance, sometimes rendering protection of some Historic Landmarks impotent. The State of Oregon’s Land Conservation and Development Commission (very) recently adopted changes to its rule guiding protection of historic resources pertaining to the National Register of Historic Places. According to Peggy Moretti of Restore Oregon:

“these revised rules present a modest yet meaningful baseline of protection for our irreplaceable historic resources – something which has been sorely lacking.”

OLHD will be discussing these issues at our meeting, and considering how we might best move forward with proposing to Clackamas County more meaningful tools that would help to preserve historic resources in our community.

As OLHD voted some time back to support the effort to preserve Concord School we will be updated on the status of The Concord Partnership’s final concepts for the re-purposing this building and its grounds.

And for our evening’s program we will be hearing from OLHD member Mary Bailey presenting on the history of the “Portland Open Air Sanatorium“.

Join us February 9th for what promises to be an informative and interesting evening.

Mike Schmeer
Chairman, Oak Lodge History Detectives

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Oatfield House update – Jan. 27, 2017

Greetings:

For those interested here is an update on the status of the proposed demolition of the 1903 Phil Oatfield house at 14928 S.E. Oatfield Rd.

To the best of our knowledge no one has come forward to try and move this house to a new location. Unless someone should the process for approval of demolition will move forward to a public hearing. A demolition application was submitted to neighbors within 300 feet, and the Oak Grove Community Council (OGCC) on Jan. 9th.  OGCC is in the process of reviewing the application with respect to the County’s approval criteria (ZDO 707.07) :

http://www.clackamas.us/planning/documents/zdo/ZDO707.pdf

Information from Clackamas County Planning and Zoning is that a hearing has been scheduled for March 9th, to be conducted by a hearings officer.  A ruling would be issued approximately two weeks later.  If approved, a demolition permit may then be issued.

OLHD urges anyone interested in salvaging any of the architectural features in this house to contact Paul Matveev at 808-866-4454 and arrange access to the house. Mr. Matveev has indicated a willingness to setting up opportunities for salvaging items.  Architectural features that we know of within the house are:  Douglas Fir flooring, original mantle, window casings, doors and door casings, door knobs, front porch turned pillars, stove, bathroom fixtures and more.  Please spread the word.  Otherwise these pieces of history will be lost forever.

For information related to the County process for considering this application please contact Linda Preisz at 503-742-4528.

Mike Schmeer
Chairman, Oak Lodge History Detectives

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