PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Both the National Park Service and the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office have awarded Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability with grants to expand its LGBTQ+ Historic Sites Project. Now, PBPS is calling on Portlanders to help with the project by sharing their own knowledge of LGBTQ+ spaces in the city.
“The LGBTQ+ Historic Sites Project, a multi-year effort to preserve buildings and places in Portland with significance to the LGBTQ+ community, seeks stories about the intersections of LGBTQ+ life and Portland’s built environment,” the bureau said.
Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest does similar work by sharing the story of ‘sexual minorities’ across the region, but PBPS’ project will give a closer look at Portland’s history prior to 1997, in particular.
According to the bureau, staff researchers are using previous archives and research to finish historic property survey records, National Register of Historic Places nominations and a historic context statement.
But to supplement the research that’s already been done, the City of Portland has launched an online questionnaire that allows people to share their own stories of LGBTQ+ spaces.
Here are a few of the questions that can be found on the survey.
- What is the approximate time period of your memories of LGBTQ+ Portland?
- What place(s) are historically important to you and/or others who identify as LGBTQ+?
- Are these your personal memories or stories that have been shared with you?
The questionnaire is open through July. The city says the responses will be public record, but respondents have an option to remain anonymous.
According to PBPS, the survey will help them designate LGBTQ+ landmarks that could be listed as historic places. The bureau mentions Darcelle XV Showplace — formerly owned by Portland’s legendary drag star Darcelle, also known as Walter Cole, who died in March — which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2020.
“The news accounts and testimonials after his death on March 23, 2023, all tell the story of a man with a vision, who patiently and persistently created something magical, helping to activate and revitalize Old Town, while becoming one of the most beloved performers in the country and the oldest drag performer yet,” PBPS said. “Portland is rich with similar stories..”