Blight allowed to Fester II (Jan. 2024)

Since the North Peninsula Review reported on three blighted properties affecting North Portland’s main street, N. Lombard, there have been updates (Blight allowed to fester, October edition, NorthPeninsulaReview.com). 

7740 N. Lombard, the former Dollar Tree Store in the St. Johns neighborhood. 

Blight II, 7740 N. Lombard, the fence is now secured
Former Dollar Tree store, 7740 N. Lombard. The fence is now secured.

It is still covered with large graffiti up to the second story. However, the surrounding chain link fence has been reinforced and no longer has a gap, so there is no easy access. 

The side of the building facing Lombard has additional graffiti over the earlier version. Some effort has been made to cover a small portion with paint.

The owner of the property, Mark New of N&N Real Estate Services, said a recent bid for the site by a developer of affordable apartments fell through. “I worked with them for 6 to 8 months but lost patience,” he said. “They couldn’t get funding. Affordable housing projects don’t pencil out without outside funding.” He added that, “The State, the City, County and Metro all have funding for affordable projects, but they can’t figure out how to give it to people. Just look at the application. It’s complicated and requires consultants.” 

When asked how he intends to address the blighted building that is affecting the community, New said the solution is for the site to be developed. “There has been developer attention,” he noted, but currently “interest rates are too high.” 

7220 N. Lombard, former Multnomah County Parole Office, now MEIC-Charlton Inc., St. Johns neighborhood.

Blight II, 7220 N. Lombard, plywood covers a broken window
Former County Parole Office, 7220 N. Lombard, plywood covers a broken window

The ancient piles of shrub prunings have been removed from the parking lot. One of the two algae-streaked vehicles parked there indefinitely has been washed. The other remains coated with algae from long exposure. Both are parked in exactly the same spots. Construction material is still visible in the lot, including large pipes.

A lower window on the building facing Lombard has been replaced with plywood, possibly indicating another attempted break-in. The front door and windows are now covered in graffiti. 

Blight II, 7220 N. Lombard graffiti covers the front door
Former County Parole Office, 7220 N. Lombard. Graffiti now covers the front door

The North Peninsula Review contacted the owner in Arizona to find out if there is a plan for the building, but did not receive a response by press time.

2630 N. Lombard, former Tom’s Pizza and Sports Bar, in the Arbor Lodge neighborhood.

2630 N. Lombard, taken Nov. 19 just after demolition
Former Tom’s Pizza, 2630 N. Lombard, taken Nov. 19 just after demolition

The graffiti-engulfed building was finally demolished in mid-November after a large excavator stood on site for an extended period of time following a July demolition permit. Since the tear down, the large heap of rubble has appeared untouched. When the City’s Commercial Inspection office was contacted to find out why, the supervising inspector, Russ Tomka, said the permit-tee is given six months to remove the debris. The owner has until May 2024 to take action. After that time, if there still has been no activity, the City may take action and bill the owner. However, if water run-off or debris from the site goes off-site, that is a violation and can be reported to their office. 

On December 27th the North Peninsula Review contacted the property owner, in Arizona to ask about the plan for the site. The owner said the contractor who demolished the building is removing the debris slowly by the pick-up truck load. She noted the goal is to remove all the rubble and sell the property. She added that it is currently on the market. 

The City of Portland Commercial Inspection supervisor said that if the owner is removing debris at any rate, the city will extend the 6-month deadline.

Two days after this newspaper contacted the owner the excavator had returned to the property and a large portion of debris had been removed. 

Blight II, 2630 N. Lombard, photo taken on Nov. 29
Former Tom’s Pizza, 2630 N. Lombard. Photo taken on Nov. 29.

If you like this story subscribe by clicking on the Subscribe on the Homepage