Kissed by a rose from above?
  • Kissed by a rose from above?
This probably won't do much to soothe the offended sensibilities of Portland's architectural community, but ... the Daily Journal of Commerce revealed today that Portland's modernist Visitors Information Center has made the National Register of Historic Places—despite the addition of a large neon rose that many thought would doom the building's chances for recognition.

The giant rose was pushed by Commissioner Randy Leonard, part of his plan to renovate the Waterfront Park building and lease it to the Portland Rose Festival. It was a sore spot for architects who welcomed restoration of the iconic building but worried that erecting a large, garish sign would render all that good work moot.

So why did the cheeses who assemble the national register disagree? Apparently, it came down to placement. The sign is perched above the 1949 building, and thus is not part of it, the DJC reports. If the sign had been affixed to the structure, that could have changed things.

The building, designed by renowned local architect John Yeon, had fallen into disuse in recent years and seemed destined for the wrecking ball before Leonard stepped in. Ironically, Leonard supported the demolition of another modernist property: Memorial Coliseum.

“With the Coliseum listed last year and the Yeon center this year, we can only hope more mid-century buildings are recognized for their importance,” Val Ballestrem, of the Bosco-Milligan Foundation, told the DJC.