ADDRESS: 2810 NE Glisan St.
YEAR TORN DOWN: 2014
MARKET VALUE: $708,250
OWNER: G28 Investments LLC
HOW LONG IT’S BEEN EMPTY: Since sometime in 2022
WHY IT’S EMPTY: Scout Beer went out of business.
The pandemic left scars on Portland.
There’s a 0.11-acre one at the corner of Northeast 28th Avenue and Glisan Street. It’s a mostly empty lot with a few graffiti-covered food carts. A rickety wooden structure shelters a few shabby picnic tables. The only cuisine being prepared last Saturday were three pieces of corn on the cob abandoned in a microwave oven under a sheet of plastic in a makeshift outdoor kitchen.
The site still has electricity, a valuable resource on the street. A man sat beneath a tree with his backpack, charging his tablet and fretting the season’s first big rainstorm.
A decade ago, the property was home to Lucky’s Bar & Grill, a true dive that advertised 16-ounce cans of PBR for $2.50. It was torn down in April 2014, just before a pair of developers bought it for $665,000. The site sat vacant until brewer Joe St. Martin and moneyman Sean Oeding saw potential for a food cart pod. The pair ran Scout Beer in various locations, including a small taproom on Southeast 10th Avenue that served, among other things, a sour beer “dry-hopped” with SweeTarts.
St. Martin and Oeding leased the property and planned to open their pod on Glisan in the spring of 2020. Scout Beer would anchor it, providing beer and other drinks to go with food from some 10 carts. The site needed electricity, a new sewer line, and a grease trap.
But COVID-19 struck right then, snarling supply chains and delaying permitting, Oeding tells WW. From the beginning, the project seemed cursed.
“Weird stuff would happen,” Oeding says. He and St. Martin contacted the city to find out where the connector to the sewer was and started excavating. “The connector was not where it was supposed to be,” Oeding says. “We spent three days digging around.”
Tim Willis, a cook at Le Pigeon, put down a deposit for a spot at the pod and waited. And waited. Fortunately, he had a spot on Killingsworth and could watch the (lack of) progress from there. Others moved in and learned that power wouldn’t come on for two or three months, he says. Willis and others bailed and asked for their deposits back.
“It took a little bit, but we got the money back,” Willis says.
St. Martin and Oeding finally opened in October 2021, a bad time of year to debut an outdoor attraction in the Pacific Northwest. They put up a big party tent like the ones used at outdoor weddings. It blew over in a storm in February 2022. That’s when they built the wooden structure, burning precious cash they planned to use to make the site more inviting.
“When people walked by, no one said, ‘Oh, that looks cool, let’s check it out,’” Oeding says.
The pod limped along for a year or so before fizzling. Oeding says he’s chastened. “We recognize that we are not the people to manage this lot,” he says. “We took a risk. We’re done after this.”
Oeding says he’s working with the owners of the lot to find a new manager for the pod. The land is owned by an LLC controlled by Rich Hannah and Jim MacCallum. Hannah is a corporate marketing guy who did stints at Intel, Nike and Adidas before getting into real estate.
“We are obviously disappointed with what has occurred and where we are,” Hannah and MacCallum say in an email. “We are committed to working with Scout, or a successor, to make the vision that was presented to us in 2019 a reality. We are actively working with Scout and other parties to allow this to happen as quickly as possible.”
St. Martin and Oeding are going to be fine, by the way. St. Martin returned to a career in corporate public relations, joining Edelman in May 2022 as a senior vice president. Oeding kept his day job throughout the beer journey at SS&C Advent, a San Francisco company that makes software for hedge funds and other investment companies.
McKean Banzer-Lausberg is co-owner of Migration Brewing, which has a pub with outdoor seating two doors down. He hopes the property sees a similar recovery.
“We have a vested interest,” he says. “That corner is an eyesore.”
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 email@example.com.