On 3/3/10, the Council voted 4-1 in favor of allowing the demolition of the Kiernan Building (current location known as the Dirty Duck) in Old Town Chinatown, despite its listing as a contributing structure in the Historic District there. This is the first time a Demolition Review has come to Council in a new process, and I am glad there was policy-level review of the issues. I am disappointed the advice of the Historic Landmarks Commission was overturned by the majority of the Council.
Here are my comments in dissent:
- I truly appreciate the service that is provided by the Blanchet House. I want them to be successful in their plans for expansion, and I thank them for the service they provide to the citizens of Portland.
- I am concerned about Historic Resources. They don’t come back once they are destroyed. This Historic District has a dwindling stock of contributing buildings to maintain what has become a part of the Portland Character, a part of its downtown fabric. Review of this site therefore requires consideration of the impact that demolition of the subject site would have on the greater historic district as a whole. This is even more important for this site as it is on the edge of the district and at the corner of the block and so anchors the entry into that district.
- I found the arguments in the Historic Landmarks Commission report and the Bureau of Development Services staff report to be persuasive. I might have been more inclined to support the demolition if I could have seen a concerted effort to construct a building that would have replaced the historic features of the Kiernan Building and contribute further to the Historic District. That does not appear to be the case. I am glad the design comes back to Council in the future.
- However, for these reasons I cannot support demolition of this structure, andI vote no.