Once again the Oregon SHPO has struggled and failed to work in concert with the National Park Service to get their job of counting done properly. The drip of failed legal filings and the use of bogus trusts by a few of those opposed to the nomination has further complicated their work.
This is the third time that SHPO has submitted the nomination and the third time that NPS returned the nomination for failure to follow federal guidelines, state law or both in counting owners and objectors.
For the latest count, the SHPO hired an independent auditor apparently failing to coordinate instructions for the consultant with what the NPS would find an acceptable process for a legitimate count. The Oregon court decision to reject not only the 5000 trusts but all “trusts” was the basis that SHPO decided to adopt. It should have been apparent to the SHPO that to not count any trusts was inconsistent with Federal CFRs and with Oregon law despite the judge’s ruling.
Absent the 5,000 trusts there never have been sufficient objections and the gap has widened over the last 3 years. Despite SHPO inconsistencies, the NPS has sufficient information from the numbers submitted using various criteria and authority to make the call.
Instead of recounting with the available guidance and latest rescissions and objections, SHPO has proposed a rule making process to begin at the end of 2019 and extending “well into 2020”.
No amount of politicized “rule making” will improve the fact that SHPO has failed to provide due diligence in verifying the legitimacy of trusts or to verify the applicable Federal and State laws under which they operate.
Rod Merrick, Board President
Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association