An empty building is like a missing tooth or a blank page in a photo album. The story is in what isn’t there.
They are untapped potential, lost wealth and wobbly story arcs.
last month, WW The demolition of the vacant downtown senior housing facility called Taft Home and the Quality Pie Building, which has been vacant for 30 years at the corner of Northwest 23rd and Northrup Streets.
We then asked our readers to nominate a haunted building that haunts their neighborhood.
They came forward by the dozen.
Doug Decker, a neighborhood historian who writes the Alameda Old House History blog, says it’s natural for people to be curious.
“I think all our old buildings are time travelers and they all have a story,” says Decker. “When you see what was seen in better times, you can’t help but wonder what happened.”
Vacant homes and storefronts make no sense in Portland, where residential and commercial real estate prices have continued to rise for decades, especially as thousands of citizens burn in the heat of the summer. .
It’s true that during the turmoil caused by the pandemic, wooden storefronts have become commonplace. However, Portland’s residential rental vacancy rate is one of the lowest in the country. Home prices have risen faster than all but five of the 40 largest US cities in the past two decades. And despite the current glut of office space, vacancy rates show that we’re still better off than many cities.
Therefore, a property that has been vacant for a long time is a mystery.
This is especially true when the empty building is owned by a nonprofit that exists only to put a roof over people’s heads. This is the case if he is one of the properties you are about to come across, or in a trendy part of town with retail outlets. Like any other, it’s always a premium.
In my research, I found many explanations, legal squabbles, family dysfunction, incompetence, laziness, and perhaps the most annoying factor, uncaring bureaucracy.
Rob Brewster, where Seattle-based Interurban Development is restoring older buildings around the Northwest (Pine Street Market and Under Armor’s West Coast headquarters are two examples in Portland) is one of the most prominent ghost buildings. and the former Gordon’s Fireplace shop on NE 33rd Street and Broadway. .
Brewster is angered by the time it will take for his company to get the city’s permit to convert Gordon’s into two floors of retail and residential.
“Portland is by far the worst city in which we do business in terms of permits,” says Brewster. “There is no housing emergency here. There is a political crisis.”
Others are more hopeful of the lonely spaces that dot the city.
“You can find them everywhere,” says Decker. “You look at them and think, ‘If they’ve stood around longer, they might still have a future.’