For at least 20 years, the northeast corner of Southwest 3rd Avenue and Oak Street has been a yawning pit in the heart of Portland. With construction at its height, you would think it would have been developed by now. Why is this? Is it a Superfund site? —Wannabe Parking Mogul
Oh, you mean the Hellmouth, transdimensional gateway to the realm of the Elder Gods, where reason itself is devoured by the Old Ones and living souls beg for death? The site so damned that it actually belched a partial summary of Donald Trump Jr.'s closed-door testimony at my feet yesterday? (Cue flashback glissando.)
"Trump Jr. said he 'couldn't recall' whether Satan, Prince of Darkness, was present at the meeting. 'I took so many meetings that summer—it's hard to say whether a 12-foot winged demon covered in burning sulfur was at this one or not.'
"Trump added that he was also 'drawing a blank' as to whether he left the meeting in a dump truck filled with hundred-dollar bills." (Cue return-to-present glissando.)
Scary stuff! Still, even the pit of the shoggoths is no match for the mighty ax of gentrification. Who would sit, dithering, on such a potentially profitable piece of real estate for so long?
As reported in 2013 by WW, the dither-sitter was the Portland Development Commission, which bought it in 2002 for $1.2 million, hoping to steer its development in a convivial direction.
In 2005, the PDC offered the land—for free!—to developer Trammell Crow Co. to build a condo tower. Unfortunately, in all the excitement, the PDC demolished an underground parking garage belonging to the building next door, on the assurance that the new owners would rebuild it.
TCC pulled out of the deal, leaving the property "encumbered," which meant whoever bought the place would have obligations to a third party—specifically, that new garage.
But good news! Since we last reported on this story, the property sold, in 2016, to Japanese hotelier Toyoko Inn for $1 million. That's less than the appraised value of $2.4 million, but the Japanese will use the extra cash to build that legally mandated parking garage. Don't forget to leave a space for Cthulhu or Trump Jr. or both.
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