Art DeMuro, a Portland developer and historic preservationist who served as consultant to the Fort Vancouver National Trust on its purchase of the historic Academy building, died Saturday after a battle with cancer.
DeMuro and his firm, Portland-based Venerable Properties, served as consultants in the Fort Vancouver trust’s due diligence for the Academy purchase, said Mike True, the trust’s chief operations officer. While the due diligence work is nearly completed, Venerable Properties’ staff will continue to consult with the trust on a vision for the Academy’s future, True said.
“Art gave specific instruction to his staff to please carry on this project,” True said. “That was one of his wishes.”
True described DeMuro, who was 57, as “an incredibly inspirational guy, and one who had the true passion for historic preservation.”
DeMuro began work on the Academy project in June, and his health problems were not known to the trust’s staff until very recently. “It was just an incredible shock to all of us,” said Elson Strahan, the Fort Vancouver National Trust’s president and chief executive officer.
DeMuro came to Portland in 1991 with formal training as a history teacher and experience with a family real estate business in Phoenix, The Oregonian reported. Venerable, the company he founded, developed the former White Stag building near Portland’s Burnside Bridge into the University of Oregon’s Portland center, among other Portland projects.
Earlier this year, DeMuro donated $2.8 million to the University of Oregon’s historic preservation program, The Oregonian reported.
He also served for 10 years on the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission.