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'It's an important piece of our history as a community': Pre's Rock up for historic status

Pre's Rock, the monument to Steve Prefontaine, is also up for landmark status. This area around Pre's Rock is already designated as a city park. City staff hopes to make the area up here safer for pedestrians so it's easier for people to visit. (SBG/Cameron Walker)

EUGENE, Ore. - The William Orr Heckart House at 11th and Ferry is more than a century old.

It was a boarding house during World War II.

Ty Connor has lived there for 15 years.

"There aren't very many houses left like this downtown, and it is beautiful," Connor said. "Numerous people, when I tell them I live in this building - 'Oh! I walk past there all the time, it's very beautiful'."

On Thursday morning, Connor is going to a meeting of Eugene's Historic Review Board.

The board will be voting on four new sites near the University of Oregon campus to become official city landmarks.

"It would be an honor for us as tenants to see it granted historical status," Connor said.

Once a building is on the list, the owner can get low-interest loans from the city to restore or maintain it.

Around the University neighborhood, you see a lot of more modern style of apartment buildings.

But every once in a while you'll also see architecture like this.

"It's a Norman Farmhouse style," said Erik Berg-Johansen, assistant planner with the City of Eugene. "That's the specific style of the architecture. It's a very rare style in Eugene. And we don't have very many examples of that architecture, so we're saying it's significant to save."

And it's not just houses: Pre's Rock, the monument to Steve Prefontaine, is also up for landmark status.

Berg-Johansen said the rock, and what it represents, are a big part of what makes Eugene - well, Eugene.

"It's an important piece of our history as a community," Berg-Johansen said, "and also, moving forward when we have the 2021 (IAAF World Track Championships) and other events coming up related to track."

This area around Pre's Rock is already designated as a city park.

City staff hopes to make the area up here safer for pedestrians so it's easier for people to visit.

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