University of Oregon

Historic Preservation Program

2014 Donald Peting

Donald Peting honored with 2014 George McMath Historic Preservation Award

Donald Peting, the 2014 George McMath Award for Historic Preservation honors his leadership and teaching of historic preservation.
Donald Peting, the 2014 George McMath Award for Historic Preservation honors his leadership and teaching of historic preservation.

Award-winning preservation educator and architect, Donald Peting has influenced the breadth and scope of the University of Oregon’s Historic Preservation Program and is the founding director of the Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School.  He is being honored with the 2014 George McMath Historic Preservation Award, the sixth annual award, at a luncheon in Portland on May 14, 2014. Online ticket sales begin March 12, 2014.

Peting works as a preservation architect on significant Northwest buildings. A scholar of historic structures and building technology, he has studied and consulted on sites as nearby as UO’s Deady Hall, and the Thompson’s Flouring Mills in Shedd, Oregon and far away as stone buildings in Oira, Italy.  Joining the UO faculty in 1963, he taught structures and design studio in the Department of Architecture. When in architectural practice with Bill Gilland, former dean of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts, he was involved with the restoration of Heceta Lightkeepers' House, just north of Florence, Oregon. His research on wind– and water­–powered mills has taken him to numerous sites in Europe and across the United States. This work was the focus of his Rome Prize at the American Academy in Rome in 1977-78.

He became involved in historic buildings at the urging of the late Professor Philip Dole who needed a faculty member colleague with expertise in building structures and preservation technology. It was a successful partnership and the Historic Preservation Program was launched in 1980. Peting was one of the founders of the UO’s program, along with Philip Dole and Marian Donnelly, and directed the program from 1992 until 2002, after the directorships held by Dole and the late Professor Michael Shellenbarger. He also was the founding director of the Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School (PNWFS) beginning in 1995. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the PNWFS.

Group photo of participants in the first Preservation Field School in 1995. The on-site field school was held at the Malheur Field Station in Harney County, eastern Oregon and worked on the Pete French Round Barn, built in 1884. This unique barn is listed on the National Register and is constructed of juniper, yellow pine, and lava rock
Group photo of participants in the first Preservation Field School in 1995. The on-site field school was held at the Malheur Field Station in Harney County, eastern Oregon and worked on the Pete French Round Barn, built in 1884. This unique barn is listed on the National Register and is constructed of juniper, yellow pine, and lava rock

Chosen for the 2014 McMath Award, committee member George Kramer said, “While others may have started the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Oregon, and nurtured it through its beginnings, any accounting of those individuals that have sustained the program over its entire lifespan would have to begin with Don Peting.  As a strong advocate for the program, a steadfast, almost self-less, supporter of its goals and its students, Don has always been there, teaching architecture and structure to non-architects, crawling through attics and basements on field trips, and providing wise counsel.  The McMath Award is well-deserved recognition of his many contributions to the field of historic preservation in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.”

The first PNW Field School was offered in 1995 at the Peter French Round Barn (1884) in Harney County, Oregon.  Each year the summer intensive workshop is offered in a different location in to address the four very dissimilar climatic conditions of the Pacific Northwest, and, therefore, weathering circumstances and historic building typologies experienced in the region.  He and his research associates have worked on three lighthouses, several military forts (the oldest dating from the Civil War), Native American sites, Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) park structures, and many archaeologically rich sites. The participants in the PNWFS apply their skills to projects in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.

Donald Peting points to rafter construction during the 2013 Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School restoration at the Comstock Barn, built in 1939, at Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve, near Coupeville, Washington.
Donald Peting points to rafter construction during the 2013 Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School restoration at the Comstock Barn, built in 1939, at Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, near Coupeville, Washington.

Jay Raskin, architect, and member of the McMath Award committee, added, “Living many years in rural Oregon, I am especially appreciative of the Preservation Field School, whose programs were often in rural areas of the Northwest.  Besides the actual restoration that was accomplished it helped raise awareness of these many historic resources both in their communities and in the Northwest.”

Along with the George McMath Award, Peting has been recognized by Preservation Education Award from the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation in 2006 and the James Marston Fitch Lifetime Achievement Award for Historic Preservation, an honor presented to him by the National Council for Preservation Education in 2005.

When he’s not working on buildings, Don enjoys boating. He has owned and sailed a number of boats in Canadian waters, in the San Juan and Gulf Islands in Washington, and as far north as Glacier Bay, Alaska, as well as on extended trips on the Columbia River. As a young man growing up in Chicago, Don sailed and fished with his parents and family on Lake Michigan, around the Great Lakes, and on the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. He continues to enjoy boating and being near the water.

Donald Peting taught architectural design and structures at the University of Oregon from 1963 until his retirement in 2002.  He directed the Historic Preservation Program for ten years from 1992 to 2002.
Donald Peting taught architectural design and structures at the University of Oregon from 1963 until his retirement in 2002.  He directed the Historic Preservation Program for ten years from 1992 to 2002.

A graduate from University of Illinois and the University of California, Berkeley, Associate Professor Emeritus Donald Peting officially retired from the UO in 2002 after serving as director of the Historic Preservation Program for over ten years. He was appointed to the State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation and has served since 2010. Peting continues to teach and mentor students, architects, and craftspeople as part of the Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School.  He has established two funds at the UO Foundation to support architecture and historic preservation students.  The Betty Peting Traveling Fellowship was established in 2007 in loving memory of his wife and the Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School Director’s Scholarship provides tuition support for historic preservation students to attend the field school.

The McMath Award is well-deserved recognition of his many contributions to the field of historic preservation in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest and his leadership and dedication to education and research at the University of Oregon.