Three local design and historic review experts share insights at prominent national conference

News Article
View of the Golden West hotel from across the street
The sold-out National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) annual conference, held in Portland Oct. 11 to 15, featured sessions highlighting innovative building designs and successes in cultural preservation.

More than 1,200 architects and other design professionals from across the United States converged on the Hilton Portland Downtown last week to network and learn more about pioneering projects and practices that contribute to the health of urban communities.

Included among the more than 180 speakers at the event were three current or recent members of the Design Commission and Historic Landmarks Commission who have contributed many years of expertise and leadership on urban design and enhancing historical and architectural heritage.

Ernestina Fuenmayer served on the Historic Landmarks Commission from 2018 to 2022 and is a project manager with Salazar Architect, Inc. She began her architectural career in her native Venezuela and worked in Boston before coming to Oregon to earn a Master’s Degree in historic preservation from the University of Oregon. Prior to joining the Historic Landmarks Commission, she wrote the successful nomination for the inclusion of Southeast Peacock Lane on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017. At the NOMA conference she served on a panel discussing the design approach to La Plaza Esperanza, a welcoming space dedicated to celebrating Latino/x culture and heritage in Gresham.

Kimberly Moreland serves as the current vice chair of the Historic Landmarks Commission and is the president of Moreland Resource Consulting, where she applies more than 30 years of public sector urban, historic preservation, community development, and urban planning experience to help community builders fulfill their missions. In addition to her service on the Historic Landmarks Commission, she serves as the President of Oregon Black Pioneers and is on the board of the Architectural Heritage Center. Moreland has led several successful nominations of properties to the National Register of Historic Places, including Dean’s Beauty Salon and Barber Shop, Mt. Olivet Baptist Church in North Portland and the Golden West Hotel. At the conference, she led a presentation, along with artist and photographer Intisar Abioto, on “The Future of Black Preservation, Art, and Justice in Oregon,” that explored the Black preservation movement in Oregon.

Chandra Robinson currently serves as the vice chair of the Design Commission and is a principal of Lever Architecture, where she recently completed a LEED Platinum campus for Meyer Memorial Trust and is currently working with communities on transformative designs for affordable housing, museums, and libraries. She has more than 14 years of experience as a leader in equity-centered sustainable design. She recently brought the renovation of the Albina Library through the Historic Resource Review process, which became the Historic Landmark Commission’s 2022 Project of the Year. At the NOMA Conference she led a tour of the new Meyer Memorial Trust headquarters in North Portland and participated in a discussion and tour of the history of, and community vision for, the Albina District.