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Oregon Historic Sites Database

address: historic name:Oak Hills Historic District
Beaverton vcty, Washington County current/other names:
assoc addresses:
block/lot/tax lot:
location descr: twnshp/rng/sect/qtr sect:
resource type:district height (stories): total elig resources:514 total inelig resources:124
elig evaluation: eligible/significant NR Status: Individually Listed
prim constr date:c. second date: date indiv listed:07/10/2013
primary orig use: Single Dwelling orig use comments:
second orig use: Multiple Dwelling
primary style: Ranch (Type) prim style comments:
secondary style: Contemporary sec style comments:
primary siding: siding comments:
secondary siding:
plan type: architect:Robert Rummer; Bud Oringdulph;
builder:Commonwealth Inc.; United Homes Corp.; Century 21 Homes
comments/notes:
Survey/Grouping Included In: Type of Grouping Date Listed Date Compiled
   Oak Hills Neighborhood RLS 2011 Survey & Inventory Project 2011
NR date listed: 07/10/2013
ILS survey date:
RLS survey date:
106 Project(s): None
Special Assess Project(s): None
Federal Tax Project(s): None
(Includes expanded description of the building/property, setting, significant landscape features, outbuildings and alterations)
The Oak Hills Historic District is a residential neighborhood, composed primarily of single-family, detached homes located in Beaverton, Oregon. It is roughly bounded to the north by NW West Union Road, to the east by NW 143rd Avenue, to the west by NW Bethany Boulevard, and to the south by NW Cornell Road. The section of the development that extends to NW Cornell Road is along NW 153rd Avenue, and the remainder of the development is bound roughly by NW Oak Hills Drive. The district encompasses approximately 240 acres and consists of a single, master-planned community surrounded by newer suburban subdivisions as well as a commercial nursery to the southeast. The community includes 627 single-family, detached homes, four townhouse clusters with a total of 24 units, an elementary school, a church, a former sewage plant building, a community recreation center, an entrance sign, and two parks. The district’s cohesively designed setting is characterized by a curvilinear road network, single-family residential clusters, townhouse blocks, as well as a centrally located park that includes passive open space, recreational fields, and pedestrian walkways. The individual houses feature a diversified but intentionally limited set of design schemes. A majority of the houses were constructed between 1965 and 1974. A cluster of five lots were subdivided and developed in 1978 and an additional cluster of 27 lots were developed between 1994 and 1995. The majority of lot sizes for individual homes are between 0.18 and 0.23 acres with an average of 0.21 acres, while the townhouses occupy either 0.04 or .05 of an acre. The average square footage of residences is approximately 2,459 square feet. Architectural styles within the development include several modest allusions to historic architectural revivals including Neo-French, Monterrey, Tudor, Cape Cod, and Colonial. These styles are used on house forms with a decidedly modern inspiration that include Contemporary, Ranch, Split-Level, and Split-Entry types. The most common alterations to the buildings in the district are the application of vinyl siding, roof material changes, garage-door replacements, minor additions, and the replacement of original windows. Changes to the overall development include the replacement of some streetlights, removal of the original sewage treatment ponds (but not the main plant building), and improvements to the recreation center that included enclosing a formerly open picnic pavilion to transform the space into a gymnasium. The scale and scope of these modifications, however, do not affect the district’s overall condition or its ability to convey its significance as it retains its integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association.
(Chronological, descriptive history of the property from its construction through at least the historic period - preferably to the present)
The Oak Hills Historic District, located in Beaverton, Washington County, Oregon is significant locally under National Register Criteria A and C as an excellent example of a 1960s master-planned community. Oak Hills is significant under Criterion A due to its ties to larger societal and design response to ”ticky tacky” suburban development. With its “village” design concept that joined single and multi-family residences, as well as religious, educational, and recreational facilities into a cohesive whole, Oak Hills sought to address many of the negative environmental and social externalities of post-World War II housing developments. The Oak Hills community also reflects the impacts that homeowners associations (HOAs) and their implementation of Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs) had upon the long-term governance of developments across the United States. As an early example of a HOA-governed development, Oak Hills set an important precedent that was replicated elsewhere in the Portland area after 1966. The development is also significant under Criterion C as a Planned Unit Development (PUD) that retains its character-defining circulation patterns, open space, landscape features, cluster development, aesthetic and recreational amenities, and its overall architectural composition and development pattern. The development represents one of the most complete, mixed-use, planned communities in the greater metropolitan Portland area that also successfully integrated owner-occupied townhouses with detached single-family residences. Furthermore, the development’s architectural eclecticism and its limited traffic access and hierarchical circulation pattern reflected the intentions of developers as well as the aesthetic desires of suburbanites during the period. The period of significance begins in 1965 with the construction of the first houses and ends in 1974 when the construction of most residences was effectively completed. An early example of a Home Owners Association (HOA)-governed, master-planned community, Oak Hills is significant under National Register Criterion A. Originally designed and constructed beginning in 1965, the Oak Hills development was the second HOA-governed community in the state of Oregon. Differentiated from earlier efforts to restrict residential properties, the developers implemented Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs) to effectively control the appearance of Oak Hills over the long term. Driven in large part by the efforts of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to insure residential property mortgages, HOA communities were developed as a way of reducing risk within sometimes volatile real estate markets. Following the first meeting of the Oak Hills HOA in 1966, the organization provided early leadership in self-governance by purchasing property within the development for open space, contesting a rezoning within the development for additional townhomes, and enforcing the CC&Rs through litigation. As one of only about 500 HOAs in the United States at the time, the Oak Hills HOA represents an early form of private community oversight that would grow to become one of the most significant trends in private residential governance. Created as a reaction to the banalities of post-World War II development, Oak Hills has endured with minimal change. The stability of the community is conveyed by the extended residency of large numbers of families. Between 1973 and 2003, for instance, at least 80 families maintained residency within the development. Oak Hills is also significant under National Register Criterion C as an excellent example of a master-planned community that set an important precedent for other communities in the Portland metropolitan in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The coherent and harmonious combination of clustering residential lots, open space integration, circulation patterns that balanced the needs of pedestrians and cars alike, and the architectural eclecticism are emblematic of mid-1960s land use planning and architectural design. The development also reveals the first integration of FHA-approved townhouses into a mixed-use development in the state of Oregon. Townhouses would subsequently become an important building type in the Portland area in the late 1960s and 1970s. Tightly controlled by the original development team, the available house types and styles for Oak Hills and their application on the loop roads and cul-de-sacs of the development reveal how the concepts behind a planned unit subdivision could be implemented as a cohesive whole. The provision of open space, a pedestrian-oriented circulation network, and the amenities of the recreational center all illustrate how the Oak Hills developers actively pursued a public increasingly intolerant of sprawl and its associated negative social and environmental impacts. For these reasons, Oak Hills is significant under National Register Criterion C as a historic district and is significant at the local level.
Title Records Census Records Property Tax Records Local Histories
Sanborn Maps Biographical Sources SHPO Files Interviews
Obituaries Newspapers State Archives Historic Photographs
City Directories Building Permits State Library
Local Library: University Library:
Historical Society:Oregon Historical Society Other Respository:Multnomah County Library
Bibliography:
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Np: Self-published, nd. Spaan, Howard and Margaret. “History of Oak Hills: As Told by Pastor Spann and Margaret.” Videotaped interview, 2011. Sternlieb, George, et al. “Planned Unit Development Legislation: A Summary of Necessary Consideration.” Urban Law Annual; Journal of Urban and Contemporary Law, 7 (1974). The Press (Advertiser). “Oak Hills Dwellings Slated for Opening.” March 30, 1967. The Press. “Oak Hills Name Chosen for New School.” Nd. United Homes Corporation. Welcome to Oak Hills Town Houses. Promotional booklet. Nd. _____. Promotional booklet of house types and plans for residences in Oak Hills (color). Nd. _____. Promotional booklet of house types and plans for residences in Oak Hills (monochrome). Nd. Untermann, Richard K. Principles and Practices of Grading, Drainage, and Road Alignment: An Ecologic Approach. Reston, VA: Reston Publishing Company, 1978, 201-202. Urban Land Insitute. New Approaches to Residential Land Development: A Study of Concepts and Innovations. 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