Address: 3659 SE Powell Blvd.
Year built: Unknown
Square footage: 0.97 acres
Market value: $2.9 million
Owners: Merrill & Langberg LLC
How long it’s been empty: About a year
Long the site of a humble used-car lot, Pat Twyman’s Car Center, the ruler-shaped property that stretches almost an entire block along Southeast Powell Boulevard, now lies vacant. (It sits between a Starbucks drive-thru and a former Dunkin’ Donuts that WW examined last month.) Like other properties that have fallen into dereliction, it’s dotted with trash, patchy moss, and sometimes a homeless person seeking refuge.
For decades, Pat Twyman sold cars to buyers with bad credit. Twyman appears to have been a stickler for keeping the bright blue building and massive parking lot around it neat. A complaint filed with the city in 2010 by a neighbor beefed that someone at Twyman’s would pressure wash and whack weeds on Sundays, sometimes as early as 8 am.
But Pat Twyman’s Car Center closed its doors in spring 2022 without explanation.
Two owners of the property, Charles Merrill and Raymond Langberg, are perhaps best known for another retail building they owned until recently: the Quality Pie building on Northwest 23rd Avenue, a valuable lot in the heart of the Alphabet District whose lack of tenants befuddled developers for 30 years.
As WW wrote last year, the owners, who could not be reached at the time and live in separate states, forewent millions of dollars in rent for decades. The 73-year-old Langberg lives in Seattle; his cousin, 76-year old Merrill, lives in Portland.
Langberg, when reached by phone, said the auto dealer went out of business. “For quite a long time, he was there,” Langberg says. “The problem right now is keeping the homeless people out of the building.” (The structure was recently demolished, leaving a shallow hole filled with puddles.)
What Langberg did not mention is that Merrill & Langberg LLC sued Twyman last fall, alleging he failed to pay more than $247,000 in rent between 2021 and 2022. Twyman failed to appear in court, according to filings, and the court issued a default judgment against him.
Twyman, now in his late 80s, appears to have moved to Vancouver, Wash. He could not be reached for comment.
The property is now up for sale. The asking price is $4.2 million.
Every week, WW examines one mysteriously vacant property in the city of Portland, explains why it’s empty, and considers what might arrive there next. Send addresses to firstname.lastname@example.org.