Readers respond: Historic building breaks are essential

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Letters to the editor

The Feb. 13 article “Oregon lawmakers plan to extend tax break that rewards owners of million-dollar historic homes” cited the house bought by Sean Keys as an example of an unnecessary tax break because he said he would have saved the house with or without the tax breaks. However, it is not that simple. We were members of a group of Northwest residents who banded together to save the house from demolition by buying it, beginning the rehabilitation, then selling it to Mr. Keys. We were thrilled that a caring couple like Mr. Keys and his wife were there to buy the property and make it their dream home. But we would not have been able to invest the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to save the house without the assurance that the special assessment tax break would be there for us and future owners. While the special assessment program is not perfect, and there are better options such as tax credits or grants for encouraging the preservation of historic resources, it is the only program available in Oregon and must be maintained until replaced by better incentives.

Rick Michaelson and Karen Karlsson, Portland



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