Understanding a Historic Downtown as a “New” Vernacular Form: Immigrant Influence in Woodburn, Oregon
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What does historic preservation mean in a historic downtown with a long-standing immigrant population? With 90% of the business owners in the historic downtown identifying as Latino, Woodburn, Oregon presents the convergence of historic preservation advocates and Latino business owners. Some stakeholders view historic preservation as maintenance to preserve what exists, while some view preservation as restoring a building to its build date aesthetics. This thesis addresses what the field of preservation and the stakeholders in Woodburn value and how that causes conflicts when dealing with preservation efforts. The main method employed for study in this thesis was collection of qualitative data through interviewing historic preservation advocates, city officials, and Latino business representatives. By understanding Woodburn as an example of a “new” vernacular form, the analysis explores how the community of Woodburn can negotiate its regional dynamics to create a local distinctiveness, which includes a many-layered historical narrative.