Battle Between Developer and Contractor Over Stalled Projects on North Williams Heats Up

Among other things, Seabold Construction denies it pocketed money meant for subcontractors.

The unfinished Zeal building at 3155 N Williams Ave. and Fargo building, just north of it. (Anthony Effinger)

Last month, the developer of two apartment buildings on North Williams Avenue filed a lawsuit blaming its general contractor for stalled construction that has left the buildings in half-finished limbo. Yesterday, the contractor fired back.

Two entities controlled by Vibrant Cities, a Seattle-based contractor, sued Seabold Construction on Jan. 23, alleging that Seabold stopped work on the projects, shut its doors, and stole money from Vibrant Cities that should have gone to subcontractors.

After a WW story on the dispute, Seabold President Kevin Owens called to rebut Vibrant Cities’ claims.

“Seabold Construction absolutely did not steal any funds,” Owens said. “All funds received were paid to the appropriate creditors of Seabold Construction. Any suggestion to the contrary is false and defamatory.”

Owens confirmed that Seabold is shutting down, and he laid the blame, in part, on Vibrant Cities, which didn’t pay Seabold during delays on the project that were out of Seabold’s control, according to Owens.

“Vibrant Cities refused to pay,” Owens said. “Seabold Construction terminated the contract due to Vibrant Cities’ breach of contract.”

The other factor in Seabold’s decision to close: The “unexpected passing” of company founder Harry Seabold, Owens’ father in law. Seabold died in January 2023 at the age of 69, leaving his his daughter, Hailey, and Owens, his stepson, in charge.

“Hailey and I have nothing to do with Seabold Construction closing its doors,” Owens said. “Due to the unexpected passing of my father in law, and because Seabold Construction wasn’t getting paid for work that was being done, Seabold could no longer afford to cover the extra expenses on its own.”

Owens says he and his wife own just 10% of Seabold Construction. The estate of Harry Seabold owns the rest.

Vibrant Cities chief executive James Wong says his firm paid Seabold throughout the construction delays on the Zeal building at 3155 N. Williams Ave. and the Fargo building, just north of it.

“There were delays, but nothing out of the ordinary,” Wong said. “And every month, they were paid.”

Liens have piled up amid the dispute. Miller’s Sons Contracting LLC of Battle Ground, Wash., filed a lien in Multnomah County for $499,446 for unpaid labor ($400,000), materials ($90,000), equipment ($5,000), and overhead ($4,446). The lien names Solterra Strata LLC—one of the Vibrant Cities entities—as the owner, and Seabold Construction as the “party by whom lien claimant was employed or to whom lien claimant furnished labor, materials, equipment or services.”

MSI Mechanical Systems Inc. of Hillsboro, Ore., filed a lien for $215,252.

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