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As Alberta Street Gentrifies, One Man Holds On to His Properties

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address: 2812 NE Alberta Street

Year Built: 1907

area: 1,377

market price: $482,170

Owner: Gregory J. Martin

Time since empty: at least 20 years

Empty reason: Part of the collection.

Twenty-five years ago, it was hard to imagine Alberta Street being home to a French bakery (Petite Provence), an Australian coffee shop (Proud Mary) and a succulent interior shop (EcoVibe).

These days, it’s hard to understand how a huge warehouse inside a plush store on NE 28th Street can be so cluttered.

The Alberta-facing side is a Potemkin shell, built like an apartment complex. It is now covered in graffiti, but was built years ago to hide the wreckage inside. But in the outback where erratic tides seem to wash away wrecked cars, mattresses, lumber, and tons of trash, the junk was nowhere to be found.

A visit last week revealed that the floodwaters had flowed through a chain link fence and into an alleyway between a warehouse and a neighboring building that houses Oregon’s Black United Fund. A golden Toyota Avalon is moored next to it. Deep in the trash around the car was a late-model Ford F-250 Super Duty his pickup, with the passenger door open. My spine was bent backwards at an unnatural angle and my legs hung like a rag doll.

The story of this retrograde building is a sad one. Property records show it was owned by Gregory J. Martin, an electrician who decades ago had enough money to buy a number of properties in northeast Portland.

In addition to Alberta’s junk pile, he owns a derelict home on the 5100 block of Northeast 23rd Street, just north of Alberta. The once majestic Foursquare lies amidst decades of dry weeds, its white paint smeared into a gloomy gray. “Act now to prevent water outages,” it warns.

Martin owns at least three properties in the Mississippi area, all on the 600 block of North Beach Street between Kirby and Borthwick Avenues. They also appear abandoned and are falling into disrepair as the surrounding area is gentrified.

All properties have received nuisance complaints.

In his prime, Greg Martin was a hard worker, earning enough money to build a small empire in his Portland real estate. Says. Now he’s in his 70s and in poor health, the person says. “He doesn’t trust people.”

Martin lives near North Mississippi Avenue, the person says. Over the years, many potential buyers have courted him. He’s missing out on one of the biggest real estate booms in Oregon’s history, and in nearly every case he’s hesitant, says his persona. Both Mississippi and Alberta have become hipster havens, and prices have skyrocketed over the past two decades.

Additionally, Martin’s ex-wife, Rose, and daughter Arzena sued Martin in July to revoke the ownership of their home at 2507 NE 8 Avenue at the corner of Blasey Street. Rose and Alzena allege that Martin has not paid any taxes on his property since 1981, and that he has not paid all other expenses since 1988. A lien on the property, they stated in their complaint.

They want Arzena to declare himself the owner of the property and be set free by Martin. They are also seeking damages equal to his 50% of the cost of his property when he was a co-owner.

The Alberta property has had an ‘Available’ sign for months. Calls to the listing agent, Magellan Properties, were not returned. Perhaps the agent knows that the client is not very interested in selling.

every week, WW Investigate a mysterious vacant property in the city of Portland, explain why it’s empty, and see what’s coming next.Send address to [email protected].

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