BEND, OR -- A request for Troy Field to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places recently cleared a big hurdle, but the fight to preserve the downtown Bend greenspace isn’t over. Bend-La Pine Schools owns the vacant lot and tried to sell it to a Portland hotel developer last year, in an effort to raise money for district projects. After a public outcry, City Councilors failed to approve a zoning change and the sale fell through. It’s now off the market.
Kelly Cannon-Miller, with the Deschutes Historical Museum, says the field has been a community gathering space since 1904. She tells KBND News says the dust up over a potential sale has happened before. "In the late 70s, the whole area: Reid School, the Amateur Athletic Club building that’s now Boys and Girls, the entire high school and all of the property in front if it, and Troy Field, all was listed for sale as one gigantic chunk. And the community responded much the same way then." The original Bend High - which now houses Bend-La Pine Schools admin offices - and other buildings in the parcel eventually received Historic designation. But Troy Field was left off because it didn’t share quite the same history.
Now, says Cannon-Miller, "Friends of Troy Field is a group that is working actively, although quietly, but actively to try and find a resolution for the fate and future of Troy Field. And, it’s out of that group that the National Register nomination was written and forwarded to the state. It cleared the state Historic Preservation Office and has been forwarded to the national office for review." That review could take several months, and she says it's a difficult proces.
If the National Park Service grants the designation, she says it would not prevent future sale or development of the site. "It forces the process to go through a review that includes its heritage – its historic use. How has this piece been used over time and do we need to think about it a little bit harder before we just sell it and build, you know, ‘X, Y or Z.’" That process is reviewed by the state's Historic Landmarks Commission.