In 2009, Tom Moyer abandoned work on a new 33-story office and condominium tower in the center of Portland's downtown retail district. The development mogul's company has left us with a gaping hole the size of a city block. We asked the candidates for mayor about it.
Rep. Jefferson Smith (D-East Portland):
This is a place where the market is likely to solve it. The market is likely to see the enormous opportunity there—right next to Nordstrom, right near parking, and right across from Director Park. I don't think we should set an expectation of spending a lot of public money on it.
What I'd be concerned about is buying high and selling low, or spending a bunch of public money when we likely will not need to. If there is an opportunity for the city to get a decent return on its investment, there might be the possibility for an investment opportunity or at least a loan opportunity.
Put on the pressure, help find the tenant, whatever it takes to turn that eyesore into a smart, green, new building in downtown Portland. Putting on the pressure to not leave it like that any longer—in other words, the carrot and the stick. The carrot is, I'll help find tenants. I'll call Columbia Sportswear and see if they're willing to come to downtown Portland for their downtown headquarters instead of being out there in that rented space in Beaverton. But also there are sticks available to the city in terms of code enforcement, to say, âCome on. This is an eyesore and a public nuisance.â