The Portland Historic Landmarks Commission voted to approve the landmark designation of Washington High School exactly one year ago on January 14, 2013. This designation was the first step in Venerable’s goal of rehabilitating the 1923 brick building. Landmark designation brings with it local incentives for historic preservation in addition to further regulation including historic design review and restrictions against demolition.
The designation document makes a strong case for Washington High School’s local significance, as the property helps tell the story of Portland’s changing education system during the first half of the 20th century. This period was marked by the need for expanded school facilities, growing concerns around health and safety (with a particular focus on fire prevention), and school designs that offered optimal learning environments as espoused by education experts at the time.
You can read more about the City’s decision to designate Washington High School here (PDF).