More on the Portland Christo Building
Our post of yesterday about the shrink-wrapped, abandoned apartment building at I-205 and Woodstock -- in whose current plight the City of Portland has played a major hand -- drew a couple of fascinating responses. One comes from a neighborhood activist in Lents, who writes:
I'm kind of at wit's end with PDC. Their contract management skills are nonexistent; they don't have any capacity to recruit new business to East Portland, and when you ask them to do so they say it's not their job.
With the Christo building, two years ago they helped the new owner -- who has a pretty good track record -- get some of the hundreds of thousands of dollars in city fines stuck to the property waived. The owner still had to reimburse the city for relocating its prior tenants (with the prior owner bankrupt, the taxpayers had to pay for relocation from the not-up-to-code building). Nobody has answers on what's going on with the building. PDC doesn't know. The owner hasn't returned calls. And so it just sits there.
Right up the street, a storefront improvement project to rip the siding off of one of our only retail spots -- four pads, two available -- is now six months old, and three months behind schedule. Did the PDC include any penalties for late construction, or incentives for early completion? Nope. The project gets done when it gets done.
Three buildings in the town center are to be demolished this summer. It's starting to feel like Lower Albina.
Meanwhile, the PDC is happily jumping on the bandwagon of the Foster-Powell area, which they cherry-stemmed into the urban renewal area a few years back and is starting to take off. I would suggest the most likely scenario is they dump cash into the Foster corridor west of 82nd, see it start to look like Alberta or Mississippi, and claim success -- even though the market is already driving the renaissance without their help. To our east, the fine folks in Powellhurst-Gilbert are seeing no benefit from urban renewal, which sucks for Lents, because people east of the river have a tendency to only shop west of where they live. A growing Foster-Powell doesn't help us. A healthy 122nd Avenue corridor does.
Another reader writes to invite us to revisit the owner the Woodstock property: It's a company called Woodstock Crossing, LLC. We've previously tied the property to developer David Emami, and it turns out that the registered agent for the LLC is his wife, Diana Emami, at the same residential address in West Linn as David. As the reader points out, Diana is a member of the state real estate board. "The members are all appointed by the governor," writes the reader. "I guess when you have friends in high places, you can be allowed to keep a huge building (which you bought for pennies on the dollar) shrink-wrapped for two years, contributing to blight in a neighborhood."