October 13th, 2010 WW Editorial Staff | Letters to the Editor
 

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wweek.com Readers Speak On… “Burning Down The House”

Nobody’s saying Dudley wasn’t entitled to a deduction. NOBODY. He just wasn’t entitled to such a huge deduction. In fact, it sounds like he overestimated the value of his donation (and the amount of his deduction) by about $341,000. He knew they were burning the house down. He knew his gift to the Fire Department wasn’t really worth $350,000 to the Fire Department. He took the deduction because he could get away with it. If you want a governor who favors rich people doing everything they can to get away with exploiting tax loopholes, by all means vote for Dudley. If you’d rather have a governor who DOESN’T have such an extensive history of exploiting tax loopholes, vote for Kitzhaber.…” —mymanao

“…Where in the heck does one buy a 4,500 sq. ft. house next to Lake Oswego Country Club on the golf course for $350K? Nowhere. Looks like Dudley underestimated the replacement value. People are so silly about these non-issues, especially when there are far more serious ethical issues associated with Kitzhaber.…” —Glass Houses

“There’s a difference between the value of the house, and the value of the land it resides on. The location of the land doesn’t/shouldn’t affect the value of the structure itself.” —Caped Crusader

“CapedCrusader and Glass Houses, you are both wrong. Glass Houses, the example you are citing relates to land value, not structure value. Dudley still had the land after the house was burned. The structure was all that was removed. Fair market value is the key word, but it would be fair market value of the structure.…

Caped Crusader, the location of the land does and should affect the value of the structure (if you are using fair market value and not replacement cost). The same structure could have a fair market value of zero in Lake Oswego but have a value of, say, $150,000 in Milwaukie. Take a standard ranch in Milwaukie and plop it down on a lakefront lot in Lake Oswego and you’ve taken a structure that has real market value and put its market value at zero or possibly even negative.

I don’t know the tax code, but from a fair market value standpoint, if a typical buyer of Dudley’s property would have torn the house down, it wouldn’t have a fair market value of $350,000. If he was making a decision based on his desires (and a lot of people with money do when it comes to housing), it is very possible he tore down a house that still had value to a typical buyer.” —Jake Chadwick

CLARIFICATION: In last week’s cover story, “We Were Marshall,” WW detailed the high school redesign’s effects on school boundaries in the Portland Public Schools district. Lincoln and Wilson high schools would stand to gain students only if PPS raised the caps on student transfers to those schools.

 
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