Bridging the Gap Between Traditional Historic Preservation Practices and the Lived Experiences of Black Communities in Oregon

The Albina Preservation Initiative Focuses on Researching, Celebrating, and Educating Oregonians about Black History and Preservation in Oregon

In effort to tell an inclusive story of Oregon's past, Restore Oregon, Oregon’s only statewide nonprofit historic preservation organization is launching the Albina Preservation Initiative—a collaborative program dedicated to researching, celebrating and educating people about Black history and preservation in Oregon.

Decades of exclusion have led to an egregious lack of recognition and preservation of Oregon’s physical and cultural heritage. Both are vital ingredients to building a successful, dynamic society, particularly among Oregon's Black residents. Partnering with the University of Oregon (UO) Just Futures Institute, Oregon Black Pioneers, Moreland Resource Consulting, Clatsop Community College Historic Preservation Program, and the Architectural Heritage Center,  The Albina Preservation Initiative is a step forward in making preservation work better for Black communities and will be a transformative shift for Oregon. “This three part project helps to document and share Black preservation methods and stories with the public, create a safe space for difficult discussions regarding Oregon’s racist past, and establish a path forward for inclusive preservation statewide.” said Nicole Possert, executive director for Restore Oregon.

The Albina Preservation Initiative includes three major components: 

  1. Urban Racial Justice Field School: Hosted by Clatsop Community College’s (CCC) Historic Preservation & Restoration Program, the demonstration site is the historic Mayo House in Northeast Portland.  Albina community members and CCC students will learn hands-on preservation techniques focused on wood window repair, energy efficiency upgrades for existing windows, and general wood repair for historic materials. “Our Historic Preservation program at Clatsop Community College is proud to partner with Restore Oregon to help give new life to the Mayo House." said Ryan Prochaska, Program Manager/Faculty Instructor of Historic Preservation at Clatsop Community College. Scheduled for June 24-29, a limited number of scholarships are available for Albina residents, making it free for attendees. Learn more and sign up on our website.
  2. Tools and Resources Focused on Oregon’s Black Community: The Albina Preservation Initiative will develop tools and conduct research focused on Oregon's black community, including:
    • Preservation Research of Places in Albina: Includes deep-dive research into historically and culturally significant resources in Albina by consultant Kimberly Moreland of Moreland Resource Consulting. This research will be presented at the Future of Oregon’s Black Preservation Movement Symposium (see below).
    • A StoryMap to deliver untold histories and stories via a digital exhibit hosted by Oregon Black Pioneers. “It is critical that we document and preserve the historic places within Portland's historically-Black neighborhoods.” said Zachary Stocks, Oregon Black Pioneers executive director. “Albina in particular has seen some of the most dramatic transformations in the city over the past fifty years, as displacement and demolition have erased evidence of the Black community that once called the area home. By recognizing the homes and social hubs of Black Albina which still remain, we can ensure that the neighborhood's African American heritage is not forgotten.”
    • A workshop series covering “How to Research your House History.” Using the latest online sources, local archives, and libraries, Architectural Heritage Center’s educator and historian, Val Ballestrem, will teach attendees about some of the steps necessary to uncover the history of a house or Portland area building. This two-part event series is free to Albina community members. Date: Saturday, August 12, 10 am - 3 pm; details at
  3. Sharing & Celebration: Restore Oregon and the Just Futures Institute will co-host the Future of Oregon’s Black Preservation Movement symposium in early 2024 to share the work of the Albina Preservation Initiative, celebrate Black historic preservation, build relationships, facilitate dialogue, discover and preserve Black stories and places, recognize culturally-defined preservation efforts, and deepen partnerships.


“Oregon has a dark history of racial discrimination,” said John Arroyo, professor of planning, public policy and management and director of the Just Futures Institute. “The Albina Preservation Initiative, under leadership from Restore Oregon and our educational and community-based partners will further expand cultural heritage in Oregon to co-create deep and meaningful equity work that will envision–and realize–what a just future looks like for the Pacific Northwest.”


Unknown numbers of historic places and homes have been demolished or lost to neglect due to poor public policy, misallocation of resources and intentional discrimination. To bridge the gap between traditional historic preservation practices and the lived experiences of BIPOC communities, Restore Oregon will work with Oregon Black Pioneers and Moreland Resource Consulting to publish data, create access, develop tools, and amplify their voices. “This project is important because it advances Black historic preservation, identifies Black historic resources vulnerable to redevelopment, and it helps to reverse the damages of displacement and gentrification in Portland’s historic Black community,” said Kim Moreland of Moreland Research Consulting.  


For more information regarding The Albina Preservation Project, please visit