Profile picture of Chris Bell

Chris Bell

Co-Director Historic Preservation
City: Portland, Oregon

Chris Bell holds a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor of Arts from Williams College in Architectural Studies, where he focused on architectural history and design.

For over fifteen years, Chris has worked at the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), where he has worked in nearly every community in the state—first in the field evaluating historic resources relative to transportation projects, and now currently as the program lead. He has developed expertise in all aspects of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, and Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966.  Prior to ODOT Chris worked with Dave Pinyerd of Historic Preservation Northwest, helped develop adaptive reuse projects with a large commercial developer throughout New England, and spent a formative year in Finland studying architecture and architectural history.

Chris’ areas of interest in the field include:

  • Understanding Oregon’s past through the lens of immigrants and outsiders.
  • Evaluating the impacts and history of transportation systems on the development of Oregon.
  • Deepening our appreciation for, and understanding of, vernacular architecture and design in every form – from strip malls to sidewalks.
  • Utilizing the built environment as a reflection of our society’s change and bias over time. 
  • Working with the physical clues of the built environment to better understand the evolution of construction in materials, methods, and technology. 

Chris has served on countless thesis or terminal project committees since beginning as an Instructor in 2009.

Chris Bell developed the course Transportation & Preservation being ably taught by a former student and current colleague, Larissa Rudnicki. Currently Chris is teaching Sense of Place in Eugene, where he resides with his wife and two young boys.