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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wyden selling his Portland condo

Our post of yesterday, taking another cheap shot at Sen. Ron Wyden, has led to an interesting discovery: He's apparently listed his condo on Portland's Washington Park for sale. At a time when some of us are questioning whether he really lives in Oregon any more, that's a development worth watching. Where is he going to claim residence next?

Our latest ruminations started when we read this feature in the Wall Street Journal, in which Wyden's wife, New York City bookstore magnate Nancy Bass Wyden, shows off her prowess using books as decor items. It's odd that she treats books as part of the furniture -- make up your own joke about her spouse here.

But anyway, with a wife and two toddlers ensconced in a very lived-in-looking apartment in Manhattan, we continue to wonder how Wyden, who spends most of his time in Washington, D.C., can still be claiming an Oregon residence. We checked the state's voting records, and they show the senator as living in a third-floor condo in this building, right next to Washington Park in southwest Portland.

Checking a little further on that address, it turns out that the unit is a two-bedroom, 1,070-square-foot number that sold (apparently to Wyden and his then-spouse) in 1997 for $125,000. And Googling just a bit further, we find that it's currently on the market -- has been for a few weeks now.

Here's a version of the real estate listing, and don't miss out on the virtual tour here. The place looks completely unlived-in, and certainly without that Bass touch. Heck, one of the few books on the shelves is actually placed upside down! But there are a lot of men's clothes in one of the closets -- the only sign of life in the place, really. No sign of two-year-old twins, that's for darn sure.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see whether the senator continues to vote from this address. Or where his next Oregon address might be. Meanwhile, we continue to ruminate on the Oregon voter registration law, which we discussed last week in connection with questions raised about the residence of the state university chancellor:

An elections official may consider, but is not limited to considering, the following factors in determining residency of a person for voter registration purposes:

(a) Where the person receives personal mail;

(b) Where the person is licensed to drive;

(c) Where the person registers motor vehicles for personal use;

(d) Where any immediate family members of the person reside;

(e) The address from which the person pays for utility services; and

(f) The address from which the person files any federal or state income tax returns.

Wyden clearly flunks (d), rather notoriously. How he might score on the other five factors is open to discussion. For example, Multnomah County sends the property tax bills on the Park Place condo to 312 A St. NE, Washington D.C. 20002-5938. That's the yellow building in this Google street view -- a residence that Wyden apparently also purchased in 1997, for around $1 million.

The state income tax returns would be interesting information indeed. Is Ms. Bass paying Oregon income tax on her worldwide income? That would be surprising. For state tax purposes, the two of them could be declaring separate domiciles -- he in Oregon, she in New York -- not unheard of, but not commonplace, either.

Finally, a retraction: The other pot shot we've been taking at Wyden for a while now -- that he isn't a Democrat any more -- needs to be withdrawn. He's a Democrat like President Obama is a Democrat -- champions of corporate America under a fake progressive banner. With friends like these two, the little guy doesn't need enemies.

Comments (19)

You sure that's Ronnie's condo? I don't see any polished old books.

Maybe this means this is his last term? Then again, after watching him and Wu, Oregon voters are a pretty low collective IQ bunch.

Add Sam, Randy and the developer weasels moving into Beaverton and Lake Osweego to Steve's list. Its Ok cause its for the children.

Go by streetcar!

I don't think this is a cheap shot. Between working in DC and spending time with his family in NYC, he obviously can't spend any real time in Oregon - certainly not the kind of time most would think makes one a resident.

The water cooler kids at BlueOregon will surely remind you that Wyden slaps on his blue jeans and visits EVERY SINGLE COUNTY in Oregon once an election cycle.

Then it's back home to New York and DC to work on bills even his own party won't endorse.


A recent study by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality shows that benzene contributes almost a quarter of the cancer risk in Portland. Air monitoring equipment in Eugene shows that average ambient benzene levels are 10 times the benchmark level believed to spur cancer in humans over a lifetime of exposure, as established by National Air Toxics Assessment. The DEQ estimates that Portland residents may be exposed to as much as forty times over (40X) safety levels of benzene in ambient air.
Furthermore, benzene is one of the volatile organic compounds that play a significant part in the formation of ground-level ozone, a corrosive air pollutant that damages plants and increases the severity of climate change.
Gasoline refueling is a large source of ambient benzene concentration in Oregon’s air. This is due, in part, to the fact that gasoline in the Northwest region has double the benzene content of gasoline sold in other parts of the country, and three times the amount allowed in California. The national average for benzene content is 0.97 percent to 0.62 percent by volume; however the EPA allows gasoline sold in the Northwest to contain 2.06 percent by volume.
While other states require benzene vapor controls at gas stations, Oregon has not developed such a policy. As a result Oregonians are exposed to excessive amounts of benzene from refueling activities and car exhaust.
While some may feel this new ban may intrude on their rights, many may not know they are simply wasting their money and further contributing to the detriment of their local air quality. Many thanks to the Oregon Toxics Alliance for their work in providing public education and support for this ban.

Didn't think his twins would live here!

Remember calling OR Congress at the time, thinking they would do some kind of emergency attention to this matter, Wyden stepped in and said he would do something and as I recall, it was reported that changes would be made in FIVE YEARS! I was set back then, thoroughly disgusted with him and thought his children won't live here. Do not recall the dates or know the latest info on this, are the five years nearly up and what has been done?

What is wrong with the Democratic Party here that they let these "corporate ones" go along for corporations and no accountability to matters, even serious ones like the benzene in our air, that affects the Oregon people who live here?

As stated above and I repeat: The DEQ estimates that Portland residents may be exposed to as much as forty times over (40X) safety levels of benzene in ambient air.

Should we thank Mr. Wyden for his prompt attention to this matter?

The water cooler kids at BlueOregon will surely remind you that Wyden slaps on his blue jeans and visits EVERY SINGLE COUNTY in Oregon once an election cycle.

Did the water cooler kids at BlueOregon, and environmental groups think FIVE YEARS was an adequate solution to the benzene in our air?

Do the bicycle folks moving into our "green" and "sustainable" area know about the benzene in our air?

Do all those retired ones moving into condos in the Pearl know about the benzene in our air?

Do all those who promote more and more density to the point of choking within the UGB even care about the benzene in our air?

Unbelievable what "leaders" can get away with here for the simple reason that everyone is on the same team. No one "who matters" will every challenge him on this.

And no one listens to critics in Oregon because they're just dismissed as "conservatives."

This is just wrong. Great investigative work, Jack.

Wyden's been a corporate hack "representing" Oregon for too long. Like 99.9% of politicians he's out of touch with his constituents, regardless of where his domicile may be.

Run for office in New York, "Mr. Senator." They can keep you.

Wyden = Rick Santorum.

Santorum's residency questioned

Former Pa. Congressman Reacts To Santorum's Residency Claims

Notable quote:

Santorum's staff said that....he fulfills his Senate race pledge to visit every Pennsylvania county every year.

How precious.

*Keep Portland Gullible* Go by magic carpet!

I want some everlasting lemons like those in the virtual tour. But keep the easy-listening guitar riffs. yipe.

This condo unit was my past clients domicile back in the early 90s. They too did a lot of traveling, but it was their home, and not like how Wyden is using it-a hotel room to feign residency. Sleeping in the bed 11 nights a year doesn't make for Oregon residency.

When he sells it he'll probably get one of those taxpayer subsidized units in the to-be-built "Affordable Housing" building on Block 49 in SoWhat so he can be near his constituents at the Mirabella and the John Ross.

Mr Bog - One other thing, where does Wyden file his tax returns? Was curious.

Could he be selling because the condo had a tax abatement that's finished?

The benzene in the air!

it looks completely un-lived in because they staged the condo to sell. that's what they do these days and have been doing it for years and years.

clean the kitchen? check.
fresh fruit out? check.
personal photos to a minimum? check.

notice how some of the books and they tray on the table are at a 45 degree angle? that's how you can tell it's staged. many times realtors will put a shawl on the shoulder of a chair or ottoman at a 45 degree angle. come into the 21 century jack, the condo is staged to sell. no conspiracies.

Clear every last personal item out of the bathroom? Not check. Clear every last countertop appliance out of the kitchen (except a phone)? Not check.

Except for the jam-packed closet (left for legal reasons, probably), this unit is a vacant hotel suite.

Geoff, the conspiracy here isn't the staging of his condo, it is the staging of his domicile and residency.

There is a reason why each state gets two senators. I'm not sure why you aren't pissed Oregon traded one of theirs away to New York.

No barbeque on the balcony. Check. No one living there. Check. No time to do so with a job in D.C. and young kids and spouse in NYC. Check. Ron's a good guy and probably wants to spend more time with his young family. Understandable. But at some point it becomes inconsistent with representing his constituency in Oregon. He should do the right thing and move on with his family life on the East Coast, and let someone more committed to being a part of Oregon take the reins of his Senate seat. He could still be a great lobbyist for Oregon interests in DC.

As stated above and I repeat: The DEQ estimates that Portland residents may be exposed to as much as forty times over (40X) safety levels of benzene in ambient air.

Is this just another topic that is taboo around here?
Unbelievable that this should be "accepted" by our green and sustainable city!!
Yet, unfortunately, is believable with the hypocrites we have in office.

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