As the temperature drops and the prospect of snow grows, Portlanders don’t just get giddy about seeing that powdery white, they start to look forward to their time-honored holiday traditions. Yes they love their Zoo Lights, The Grotto, the Festival of Lights, the Christmas Bazaar, and the Providence Festival of Trees. However, one of the oldest and most beloved traditions for locals in the Portland area involves walking down to a small street in Portland’s SE neighborhood off of Belmont Street; Peacock Lane.
Peacock lane has been a holiday tradition since the 1920’s when the homes were first built by well-known developer at the time, R.F. Wassell. He designed and built each home in the 4-block neighborhood to resemble an English Tudor style, something that was revolutionary in its day. While the homes are no longer selling for between $3,000 and $9,000, it still remains an iconic part of Portlanders’ holiday tradition.
That being said, it was no surprise that the residents of Peacock lane felt threatened earlier this year when builder Everett Custom Homes bought one of the historic homes. ECH bought the home with the intention of splitting the lot and building a second home on the site. This news caused quite a little uproar in the Rose City. We saw both sides take familiar positions, but most strongly heard were the neighbors who felt the home ECH was going to build did not properly match the fit and finish of the well known street and, therefore, threatened the integrity of their wintry tradition.
Fast forward to June where the neighborhood banded together to start a gofundme.com campaign in an attempt to raise the $15,000 needed to start the process that would have the entire street listed as a Historic District, a process which is both lengthy and expensive. If granted, this designation wouldn’t make it impossible to build new homes on the street either, but it would ensure that any new homes that were built matched a very specific criteria that mirrored the current finish of the neighborhood.
A recent check shows the gofundme.com campaign sitting at about $3,600 of the $15,000 needed; more or less where it’s stood since October. Though it is unclear where we currently are in the struggle for the development or preservation of the lot in Peacock lane it is clear that the neighborhood has achieved step one of the multi-step process for getting the Historic District designation. They have currently completed a reconnaissance survey that documents any changes that have been made to the houses since they were first built.
The next steps include preparing a formal nomination, getting feedback from a state advisory committee, and finally submitting the nomination to the National Parks Service. For now, at least, Peacock Lane remains unchanged. Whether you’re for or against infill development, it at least seems clear that new homes or not, Portlanders will keep this beloved tradition.
As for us we’ll see you out there walking those twinkling streets, Happy Holiday’s from all of us at Allied to you!