Northeast Portland residents are complaining about a builder who gives "aggressive development" a new—and Roguish—meaning.
Randall Palazzo is building eco-friendly "skinny houses" in the Concordia neighborhood. But don't ask him about the infill-maximizing homes. Neighbors say Palazzo regularly responds with profanity-laced diatribes and threats of lawsuits.
At a 90-minute Concordia Neighborhood Association meeting on March 7, several residents told similarly troubling tales of abuse and threatened lawsuits from Palazzo's lawyer following expletive-filled rants by Palazzo.
For example, Bob Turton says Palazzo employees left sidewalks covered with building debris, and continually trespassed despite his repeated complaints.
Turton says he called Palazzo to complain and was told basically to go "screw" himself. After Turton argued with Palazzo's workers, police arrested Turton on an accusation of menacing, based on workers' complaints that he brandished a gun. He denies the charge, and arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday, March 12.
Palazzo didn't return phone calls, but his company said in a statement that "Not everyone agrees with the City of Portland's stated desire for higher densities…. We strive to have excellent relationships with all of our neighbors, and in nearly all instances we do."
The Rogue Desk gets that, and it's gotta be a drag to hear complaints about skinny houses that are legal to build. But none of that justifies bullying neighbors.
"It's not illegal to be a jerk," Portland Police Officer Rick Deland told the Concordia residents at last week's meeting. But it is deserving of this week's Rogue.
CORRECTION, published Oct. 1, 2008: In WW's March 12, 2008, Rogue of the Week about Palazzo Custom Homes, LLC's and Randy Palazzo's homebuilding in Portland's Concordia neighborhood, WW reported that a neighbor complained Palazzo employees had trespassed on his property. Palazzo denies the allegation, and neither Palazzo Custom Homes, LLC nor its employees have been charged with or sued for trespass in connection with the project. WW also reported that Palazzo employees had left sidewalks covered with building debris and that Palazzo's workers complained to police about a neighbor, resulting in the neighbor's arrest. Palazzo had closed the sidewalks with permission from the City of Portland, and the person making a police report was an employee of a subcontractor, not an employee of Palazzo. WW regrets the errors.
Statement of Palazzo Custom Homes:
On March 12, 2008, Willamette Week published a "Rogue of the Week" article containing erroneous statements about Randy Palazzo, owner of Palazzo Custom Homes, and suggesting that Palazzo Custom Homes engaged in misconduct in the course of building a home in a Portland neighborhood. That is factually incorrect and needs to be addressed. Randy Palazzo has been serving the needs of Portland home buyers and worked in these same neighborhoods for 21 years. Neither he nor Palazzo Custom Homes could have experienced such community support or longevity if they engaged in the kinds of conduct reported in the article. The most surprising and disappointing part of the article was that the actions of others were attributed to representatives of Palazzo Custom Homes. Willamette Week failed to verify the reports of misconduct even though neutral sources, such as the police report, were available and contradict the reports. In reality, Palazzo Custom Homes is a builder with a conscience, sensitive both to the needs of our planet, and the needs of our neighborhoods. Palazzo Custom Homes has a spotless record with the Oregon Construction Contractors Board, and could not have attained that status if it engaged in the kinds of conduct alleged in the Willamette Week article. In reality, Palazzo Custom Homes works closely with the City of Portland on many projects, and is conscientious about the architectural compatibility of its homes with the overall character of the neighborhood. You can see examples of this on our Website at palazzocustomhomes.com/index.html. Palazzo Custom Homes builds homes using green construction practices, and all of its recent homes are certified by EarthAdvantage. Palazzo Custom Homes is a Trade Ally of Energy Trust of Oregon. We are proud that Palazzo Custom Homes has become the number one single family home builder in Portland according to the Construction Monitor. We believe this is because of our conscience, not in spite of it. Palazzo Homes renews its pledge to continue to work with the neighbors of our projects and with the city of Portland to ensure that our homes are of the highest quality, friendly to our planet, and friendly to the character of Portland's neighborhoods.