Preserve, Reuse, and Pass Forward Oregon's Historic Resources...
Thanks to the generous support of the Oregon Cultural Trust scholarship fund, administered by the Historic Preservation League of Oregon, I was able to attend the National Trust for Historic Preservation's annual conference, this year held in Spokane, Washington.
As a second-year graduate student in the University of Oregon’s Historic Preservation program, I did need to recalibrate my study time in advance of the conference, and had to hustle somewhat upon my return from a week-long absence; my department encouraged everyone in the program to take advantage of the relative proximity of this year’s conference to Eugene, and were unhesitatingly accommodating in their support.
While the drive from Eugene to Portland is familiar, the journey upriver from Portland through the Columbia River Gorge was stunning. My time at the conference was bracketed by two fascinating full-day field trips to sites in the region that are clearly outside the traditional purview of historic preservationists - as was fitting for this year’s National Preservation Conference theme, “Beyond Boundaries”. The first day was spent exploring the Grand Coulee Dam, not two hours’ drive west of Spokane, and the last day was dedicated an extensive tour of the Hanford B Nuclear Reactor near Richland. Both of these tours were extraordinary not only for the destinations themselves, but the many knowledgeable guides whose running narratives introduced us to both the natural and cultural history of the countryside through which we traveled.
The remainder of my time was spent largely in and around Spokane proper, variously engaged in half-day excursions such as tours of rehabilitated brownfield sites and warehouse-to-loft conversions, and in attendance at a number of interesting education sessions, including Industrial Preservation: Northwest Perspectives, and the grounding yet inspiring presentation, When Demolition is the Only Option. Evenings were spent at any number of mixers, joking and telling stories and exchanging contact information with interesting people from across the States. The people of Spokane demonstrated themselves gracious hosts, and the city a proud and beautiful center of the Inland Empire. My thanks again go out to everyone who made my attendance at this conference possible.