PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In 1924, designer R.F. Wassell designed and built 31 English-style cottages to create a quaint little village on Portland’s Peacock Lane.
Those homes were all built on 50-foot lots, much bigger than the standard used for homes today. One resident, who lived on Peacock Lane for 65 years, recently died and his wife sold the property.
“She believed she was selling it to a family,” said neighbor Becky Patterson.
What Patterson and other neighbors of Peacock Lane — famous for its Christmas decorations — are at odds with the new owner of the house and the developer who wants to split the lot and build another house.
By splitting the lot, the new home “is going to be one of the largest on this street,” Patterson said, “a big monstrosity on the smallest lot.”
Vic Remmers of Everett Custom Homes wants to buy part of the lot at 522 SE Peacock Lane to build the house. He’s met with residents “a handful of times,” Patterson said.
“He was willing to work with us. He’s given us 2 home plans since then. Neither of them are very good,” she told KOIN 6 News. “They’re grossly out of style and out of scale. He’s looking at a 2700-square foot home. Most of the houses here are under 2000 (square feet).”
So the neighbors are working together on several options, including trying to get Peacock Lane on the National Register of Historic Places.
“It’s an expensive, lengthy process,” Patterson said.
All the residents who lived in the houses over the past 92 years need to be identified, a researcher will need an inventory and photograph of the interiors and exteriors and check to see what has been altered over the years.
That information will then be reviewed by the state, who will determine whether the effort can continue.
The state, however, “almost automatically turns that over to the Department of the Interior, and then you end up with a federal designation,” she said. “It’s just another layer of protection. It won’t stop this from happening in the future, but it will definitely slow it down from happening.”
The effort will cost between $10,000 and $15,000, she said. They hope to have the state able to review the plan by the middle of September.
Patterson said the neighbors have hired a consultant and have “a month-and-a-half to scramble and pull all the historic info on all of our homes.”
KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.