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Cedar Mill News
Volume 4, Issue 9


September 2006

Historic JQA Young House renovation plans proceed

The historic building on Cornell at 119th, built in 1869 by John Quincy Adams Young, the second owner of the original sawmill, was acquired by Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District (THPRD) in 2005. The Park District board set aside $100,000 for the initial work to be done on the house. An ad hoc committee of local residents, history buffs and even a Young descendant, met for a year to determine the best use for the structure and how to proceed with renovation.

Old apple and pear trees stand outside the kitchen on the house's west side. The park district is trying to grow new trees from cuttings.

The committee’s Management Plan was adopted by the THPRD board in March 2006. The Tualatin Hills Park Foundation, which does fundraising for district projects and properties, set up a Friends of JQAY House fund to collect the money needed to carry out the plans in April. $4000 has been raised so far, much of that in memory of Sue Conger, who passed away in May 2006 and was the guiding light behind the building’s preservation.

The Management Plan called for restoring the exterior of the house to its 1869 condition. The inside would be brought up to code with new wiring, heating and other needed improvements to allow the building to be used for community events, meetings and other public and private uses. Landscaping, including a pioneer vegetable garden, will tie the grounds of the house to the park that will result from the donation by Polygon Homes of Cedar Mill Falls and Cedar Mill Creek, which runs between the house and the new Timberland development.

Ron Willoughby, who recently retired as Executive Director of the Park District, was instrumental in moving plans forward for the JQAY House. The District is in the final stages of appointing a new executive, and fans of the JQAY House hope that the new person will also look favorably on this project.

District plans currently call for the hiring of an architectural consultant who will create a Master Plan to turn the Management Plan into reality. January 2007 is the target for putting the contract out to bid, according to Peggy Coats, THPRD Director of Business Services.”

Park Foundation Development Coordinator Susan Bender-Phelps has been working with the ad hoc committee since early spring. “I think that the preliminary fundraising goal of the committee is a good estimate,” she says. “$750,000 sounds like a lot but by the time all the structural work is done, all the landscaping and other improvements, my experience tells me this is just about what it could cost. And it would be nice to have some money left over for the interpretive exhibits and programs that we want to put on at the house.” Fundraising will begin in earnest once the final budget is available based on the architectural consultant’s recommendations and the resulting building plans.

Bender-Phelps recommends that the renovation be pursued in two phases. “Once the house is restored to its original footprint and silhouette, we can apply to the Historic Register. That could allow us to obtain funding from them and other organizations. That should be the goal of Phase One. Then we can focus on all the other work that needs to be done.”

The Friends of JQAY House group has not been formally convened, but that hasn’t stopped us from getting the word out. We put together a little booklet about the house that was distributed at the Washington County Historical Society’s Draft Horse Days and at the Cedar Mill Park Concert in August. If you’d like a copy, contact Virginia Bruce,


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Published monthly by Cedar Mill Advertising & Design
Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
12110 NW West Rd
Portland, OR 97229