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The George McMath award will be presented to the Salem-based nonprofit, which strives to recognize African American pioneers in Oregon.

When Willie Richardson moved from South Carolina to Oregon in 1978, she came with her three sisters and their families. Though the five adults and six kids traveled in cars rather than in a covered wagon, as African Americans from the South moving West to reinvent their lives, they were akin to pioneers.

Forty years later, the Oregon Black Pioneers, a group Richardson has shepherded since 2004, is being honored with the 2017 George McMath Historic Preservation Award, presented annually by the UO Historic Preservation Program in the School of Architecture and Allied Arts.

The award will be presented at a luncheon beginning at 11:30 am Wednesday, May 17, at the White Stag Block, 70 NW Couch Street in Portland. Tickets, which cost $50, may be ordered online after March 16 at hp.uoregon.edu/mcmath. For information, call 541-346-3697.

The Oregon Black Pioneers board of directors (first row, left to right):
Suesann Abdelrasul, treasurer; Natalia Fernandez, collections (in red print dress); Janet Jacquier, internship recruitment development (seated, beige sweater); Zoe Morrison, chair of marketing; Willie Richardson, president; Gwen Carr, secretary. Back row (left to right): Tatianna Bryant, co-chair, virtual museum development; Jonathan Cain, chair, virtual museum development; Martha Rutherford, chair, board development; Kim Moreland, vice president.

Since 1993, the Oregon Black Pioneers has produced publications, exhibitions, conferences, and stage productions, delivered presentations in classrooms and boardrooms, recognized burial sites of black pioneers in Oregon, and published two books, Perseverance: A History of African Americans in Oregon’s Marion and Polk Counties, and African Americans of Portland.

The group was recently asked to help with the UO’s plans to create a Black Cultural Center.

In partnership with the State Historic Preservation Office, Oregon Black Pioneers has documented historic sites statewide that have been centers of African American population. The long-term goal is to prepare a National Register of Historic Places’ multiple property document for the whole state.

“We want to bring the story of African Americans in Oregon alive,” Richardson said, “and make sure that not just our children who look like us but everybody sees the value of and how we are part of the fabric of this state we all call home.”

Researching the history of blacks in Oregon is often sobering, Richardson said.  “As you delve into it you are really humbled by what the folks who cleared the pathway for you did, even against horrendous circumstances and obstacles placed in their way,” Richardson said. “You feel honored to tell their stories because it’s their stories and their lives that made it possible for us to be here in this state.”

“All Aboard: Railroading and Portland’s Black Community,” the group’s exhibition held at the Oregon Historical Society in 2013, focused on the African American community around Portland’s Union Station from the 1800s to 1940s. The exhibit was later displayed in Salem and Eugene.

Oregon Black Pioneers is now working to mount “Racing to Change: Oregon’s Civil Rights Years,” which will be on display at The Oregon History Museum starting in January 2018.

The prestigious McMath Award “will elevate us to another layer of outreach to other folks out there and hopefully some of them will want to become involved,” Richardson said.  “We are delighted that, for the first time, the McMath Award recognizes an organization rather than an individual,” noted James Buckley, director of the UO’s Historic Preservation Program. “It has required a true team effort for the Oregon Black Pioneers to locate and celebrate the many pieces of African American history in this state, and we are excited to highlight their many accomplishments.”

 

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issues in HP fieldtrip 2000

Historic Preservation students on a field trip to Bridal Veil Falls in 2000 for an “Issues in Historic Preservation” class. Instructor Sally Donovan, second from right.

Sally Donovan is the recipient of the 2016 George McMath Award for excellence in Historic Preservation.  Established by the University of Oregon in conjunction with Venerable, Inc. in 2009, the McMath Award celebrates a leader in the field who has made significant contributions to historic preservation in the state of Oregon.  The award is named for George McMath, FAIA, who is considered one of the fathers of the preservation movement in Portland.

While the 2014 McMath Award was given to Don Peting, long-time director of the University of Oregon’s Historic Preservation Program, Sally is the first graduate of the program to receive the honor.  After graduating in 1987, Sally occasionally dropped-in to teach classes, one of which was “Issues in Historic Preservation,” the occasion for the photo above.  In retrospect, that one-day field-trip came close to covering pretty much every issue in preservation, illustrating Sally’s breadth of interests and awareness of place.  There was restoration (Crown Point), adaptive reuse (McMenamin’s Edgefield), infill (downtown Troutdale), landscape (Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area), preservation by neglect and when to give up the fight (buildings of the Bridal Veil Falls Lumbering Company, demolished in 2001), and yep, a cemetery (Bridal Veil).  I’m sure there was more, now lost in the fog of memory and unrecorded due to the limitations of print film.  However, I would be remiss in neglecting to mention Bruce Howard, Sally’s husband and compadre (most likely the one behind the camera for the group shot), providing support and insightful commentary from his informed civilian perspective.

Congratulations on the McMath Award Sally and Bruce!  Your former students find you most deserving!

More on Sally Donovan from the UofO AAA Newsletter:  http://aaa.uoregon.edu/news/mcmath-award-recognizes-sally-donovan-exemplary-cultural-resources-work-habshaer-photography

The McMath Award luncheon will take place on May 11, 2016.  Tickets will be available beginning on April 1 and can be ordered online or by calling 541-346-3697.

 

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Don Peting in action during the 2013 SAH MDR Conference in Salem.

Don Peting in action during the 2013 SAH MDR Conference in Salem.

Marion Dean Ross Chapter member Don Peting is the 2014 recipient of the George McMath Award for excellence in historic preservation.  Past recipients of the award include William J. Hawkins (2013), Hal S. Ayotte (2012), Elisabeth Walton Potter (2011), Cathy Galbraith (2010), and James Hamrick (2009).

Established by the University of Oregon in conjunction with Venerable, Inc. in 2009, the McMath Award celebrates a leader in the field who has made significant contributions to historic preservation in the state of Oregon.  The award is named for George McMath, FAIA, who is considered one of the fathers of the preservation movement in Portland.

In 1998 I was looking for a change in scenery and decided to attend that year’s Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School, run by Don Peting, at Fort Stevens.  Don turned out to be one of the most interesting people I’d met, with an astounding depth and breadth of knowledge, bottomless curiosity, an ability to explain complex technologies to even the most lunk-headed former liberal arts majors, and patience.  On top of everything else, he was more fun than a barrel of monkeys.  A year later I was enrolled in the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Oregon.  In other words, I may be slightly biased when I say that Don Peting is the preeminent preservation educator in the West.

Don arrived at the University of Oregon in 1963, with a freshly minted Master’s Degree in Architecture from Cal Berkeley.  With the exception of a few sabbaticals, one of which lead to his receiving the Rome Prize, he continued teaching full-time (in actuality more like double-time) until his retirement in 2002.  He was instrumental, together with Marian Card Donnelly, Philip Dole, and Michael Schellenbarger, in getting the U of O’s Historic Preservation Program off the ground in 1980.  In 1995, under Don’s direction, the HP Program was expanded with a summer field school.  While this allowed students enrolled in the program to gain extended hands-on experience, it also served to introduce professionals working in related fields as well as interested amateurs to historic preservation practices.  In the course of 19 field schools, with the 20th in the works, projects have ranged throughout the Pacific Northwest, meaning Don and his disciples have crawled over and under structures in Oregon, California, Washington and Idaho.  Like the Preservation Program itself, the field school is interdisciplinary and cooperates with multiple local, state, and federal agencies.  As a result of this, end of session group photos tend to be a who’s who of preservation practice, often with the students of one year subsequently reappearing as instructors.  This is also an illustration of how hard it is to resist the siren song of Don, because you know that whatever happens, you will learn something new and you will have a good time.

The McMath Awards Luncheon will take place on Wednesday, May 14 2014 from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at the White Stag Block in Portland.  Tickets are available through the University of Oregon Ticket Office.
At present, tickets for the event are SOLD OUT.   For information about possible openings contact Crissy Lindsey (clindsey@uoregon.edu) or Liz Jacoby (ejacoby@uoregon.edu)

Resources:

Gerdes, Marti.  ”Don Peting to Receive McMath Award.”  News from A&AA, March 2014.  Available online at http://hp.uoregon.edu/news/don-peting-receive-2014-mcmath-award

More on the 2014 Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School at Fisher Bottoms in Eastern Idaho at http://hp.uoregon.edu/pnwfs.

 

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Bill Hawkins leads a tour of the Skidmore District's cast-iron storefronts during the 2009 MDR/SAH conference in Portland.

Bill Hawkins leads a tour of the Skidmore District’s cast-iron storefronts during the 2009 MDR/SAH conference in Portland.

Marion Dean Ross Chapter member William J. Hawkins is the recipient of the George McMath Award for excellence in historic preservation.  Past recipients of the award include Hal S. Ayotte (2012), Elisabeth Walton Potter (2011), Cathy Galbraith (2010), and James Hamrick (2009).

Established by the University of Oregon in conjunction with Venerable, Inc. in 2009, the McMath Award celebrates a leader in the field who has made significant contributions to historic preservation in the state of Oregon.  The award is named for George McMath, FAIA, who is considered one of the fathers of the preservation movement in Portland.  Bill Hawkins credits part of his own shift from being a typical, modern architect influenced by Louis Kahn to becoming an active preserver of the historic built environment to George McMath, with whom he was in partnership from 1964-1994.  Working as Allen, McMath & Hawkins from the late 1960s until 1985 and as McMath & Hawkins until 1994, the firm’s name appears on countless preservation projects throughout Oregon, from the restoration of Philomath College, to Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse, to Officer’s Row at Fort Vancouver, Washington.  However, among all the firm’s projects it is one type of resource that stands out: the cast-iron storefront.  In the realm of cast-iron architecture, Bill Hawkins’ work comes closest to being a Gesamtkunstwerk, combining innovative practice with advocacy, art, research and literature.

The list of cast-iron buildings in Portland that benefited from Bill Hawkins expertise is long, from the Bishops House to the Blagen Block, to the Poppleton Building and beyond.  Most of these are now contained within the Skidmore and Yamhill Historic Districts, both of which were created thanks to the advocacy of the Portland Friends of Cast-Iron Architecture, established by Bill in 1973.  Talking about the New Market Theater, Bill said that “[i]t was pure fun to draw that beautiful façade,” (1) and his pleasure is evident in the drawings that crop up throughout his book, The Grand Era of Cast-Iron Architecture in Portland.  The inspiration of that book provided me with a blueprint for my own Master’s thesis and made countless others aware of the treasures of the city.  When I was photographing cast iron in the Yamhill District, at least one person came up to me and said:  “You know, there’s a totally awesome book about these buildings.”

The McMath Awards Luncheon will take place on Wednesday, May 15 2013 from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at the White Stag Block in Portland.  Tickets are available through the University of Oregon Ticket Office.

Sources:
Gerdes, Marti.  “Preservation award honors Hawkins.”  News from A&AA, March 2013.  Available online at http://aaa.uoregon.edu/node/2234

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