On a change.org petition, Astoria residents are up in arms, petitioning to save a downtown building from Portland's Bunk Sandwiches, expressing fears that Astoria be added "to the list of cities that used to be creative, affordable, community minded," citing Portland, San Francisco and Seattle.
Other concerns about the "Portlandization of Astoria" point to residents not wanting Astoria to be ruined "the way Portland has been ruined," not wanting Astoria to be "Portland's suburb," and wanting to "not 'keep it weird', let's keep it Astoria."
The only problem? Bunk was never buying the building.
On May 16, The Daily Astorian reported Bunk was trying to buy a downtown building called Odd Fellows, which currently houses two gift shops, a coffee shop and an arts center—something Bunk co-owner Tommy Habetz says isn't happening.
"I have no idea what's going on in Astoria. Neither Bunk nor myself nor Pizza Jerk are going into Astoria," Habetz told WW in an email. "I look at a lot of commercial real estate deals. Somehow this got blown way out of proportion."
The story has since been corrected.
The claim was based on potential buyer Tacee Webb's social media accounts, as well as a business application for "Oddfellows Astoria LLC," which was filed by Webb, but was filed under Bunk owner Tommy Habetz's name. Currently a brand consultant, Webb was co-founder of the Red Light Clothing Exchange in the '90s.
On her Facebook and Instagram, Webb wrote:
In response to a commenter who wrote: "What's your plan?", Webb responded:
Both Habetz and Webb say that the paper did not reach them before the original story ran.
"We strongly stand behind our reporter's work," Deputy Managing Editor Derrick DePledge told WW in an email.
He explained the initial story, which described Bunk as the potential buyer for the building, was based on an email from Webb to one of the building's tenants, which referred to Habetz as her partner, and that Habetz was listed on Webb's Oddfellows Astoria LLC.
DePledge says reporter Katie Frankowicz reached out to Habetz, who did not respond.
"After Webb called and insisted that Bunk has nothing to do with the Odd Fellows Building purchase," DePledge writes, "we agreed to update the story online around 11:30 a.m., about two hours after the initial post. That story is what appeared in our print edition. Webb has continued to characterize our story as inaccurate but she has not identified any errors."
Webb is still a potential buyer, but no deal has been closed. She says she's already received an enormous amount of backlash after the article and petition.
"I got an email from somebody calling himself 'the mortician' threatening me if I bought the building," she says.
Petition signers listed their reasons for disapproving of the plan, in language that might seem familiar to a lot of Portlanders.
Teresa Retzlaff of Astoria wrote:
Cindie Adams-Hiner of Boise wrote:
Patricia Reither of Astoria wrote:
Webb says her goals are simple. "I fell in love with Portland and bought a beautiful historic building and restored it," she says. "I wanted to do this again in Astoria."