By Steve Elder CNA Media Team
At a time when people are camping on sidewalks – and the mayor has declared Portland is in a housing crisis – there are potentially livable houses here that are near collapse from inattention.
There is at least one residential structure in Concordia that’s not even finished, but may become a teardown. Searching records, talking to city sources, neighbors and a title company turns up seemingly hundreds of clues and many loose threads.
The unfinished house is at the intersection of Emerson Street and 38th Avenue. It is ultramodern, looming high above the bungalows adjoining. Work started about four years ago, dragged on slower and slower, then stopped about three years ago. It’s just sitting there.
The structure is two conjoined units, each with an accessory dwelling unit. There are four empty electric meter boxes and two offstreet parking spots. The neighbors aren’t wild about the place.
Artist Curtis Phillips lives across the street, and he has cultivated a thick hedge to block his view of the structure. If it weren’t for him performing occasional maintenance, the situation might be worse.
Curtis is no stranger to the city Bureau of Developmental Services. “I’ve called many times. They seem to feel their hands are tied, and they can’t demand that the owner cleans and makes the place livable or tear it down.
“They seem to figure there’s nothing they can do for just trash complaints,” he added. “It would take doing something criminal for the city to get serious.”
Where’s the owner? A search of public records provides little clarification.
The listed owner is Julie Selby, whom none of the neighbors have met. A title company notary met Julie when, in May 2015, she made an $865,000 mortgage.
The neighbors have met a fellow who identifies himself as the building contractor, Robel Alemseghed. Robel told a neighbor he lives in a house he built for himself on 26th Avenue. Although the address he offered them appears lived in, nobody came to the door despite several visits. In the meantime, the neighbors wait. And wait.
“The neighborhood has changed,” Curtis said. “We bought this house 10 years ago, moved back East and returned in 2013 or 2014. We’ve been surprised by changes in the neighborhood. “There’s more traffic and there’s more so called development going on.
Steve Elder, East2@ ConcordiaPDX.org, is an inactive lawyer, a developer, activist and old grouch.