Lien times hit construction

| Print |  Email
Saturday, November 01, 2008

SeymourCourt Sophia’s View on Seymour Court: an ambitious project hit by construction liens.

STATEWIDE The steep hillside overlooking the Willamette River is a Portland residential community without residents. On one side of Seymour Court, all of the newly built homes are either for sale or for rent. On the other side of the street, seven townhouses and eight condominiums stand not quite finished, an ambitious project swamped by construction liens.

It’s an increasingly common scene in once-hot real estate markets from Eugene to Portland to Bend. Construction liens have doubled in Multnomah County and tripled in Washington County, and while other major metro counties throughout Oregon do not track those pleas for payment specifically, the anecdotal evidence suggests that the love affair between banks, developers, builders, suppliers and subcontractors is officially over.

“It’s not good when you don’t get your money,” says Mike Reed, a project manager for Pagh Custom Woodworking in Sandy. “Nobody likes to work for free.”

Pagh is one of a dozen or so subcontractors to file liens over the restoration of Block 90 of Portland’s Pearl District. The four-person shop is owed $47,120 and Reed is worried that the company may end up eating it. The point of a construction lien is to give debtors an incentive to pay the bills in order to complete the project. But in the case of Block 90, work was already finished by the time Pagh, Cascade Plumbing, Herinck Painting and other subcontractors filed their liens.

Even if a lien halts a project, there is no guarantee the money will follow. Milwaukie-based Trinity Carpet Brokers learned that the hard way, going bankrupt earlier this year after performing $1 million of unpaid work for Renaissance Homes. Renaissance has followed Trinity into bankruptcy, along with Legend Homes, formerly one of the largest homebuilders in Oregon.

Smaller subcontractors and suppliers hoping to avoid similar fates are growing increasingly aggressive in filing liens. Wilsonville Concrete Products recently filed six in a single day. “It’s our only way to protect our interests,” says general manager George Adams.

Canby-based Roth Heating and Cooling has filed “so many I can’t keep track,” says owner Kory MacGregor, who has had to lay off 60 employees over the past year.

And then there is the granddaddy of all Oregon construction liens: the $15.8 million owed to Hoffman Construction by the developers of Portland’s 194-condo Waterfront Pearl. Hoffman vice president Bart Eberwein says it is by far the largest lien the company has filed. If the bill is not paid, Hoffman could end up owning the entire development. “We try to avoid situations like this,” says Eberwein, “because the whole thing just trickles down and people get hurt.”

Hoffman is also ensnared in another high-profile project being torpedoed by liens, The Nines hotel above Macy’s in downtown Portland. Two subcontractors filed liens for a combined $6.5 million just days after invitations went out to the high-priced hotel’s grand opening in late October.                                           

BEN JACKLET


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

More Articles

Money Troubles

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015
BY DAN COOK

The state’s angel investing fund gets hammered in Salem.


Read more...

10 Innovators in Rural Health

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Telemedicine, new partnerships and real estate diversification make health care more accessible in rural Oregon.


Read more...

Light Reading

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Ask any college student: Textbook prices have skyrocketed out of control. Online education startup Lumen Learning aims to bring them down to earth.


Read more...

Preserving the Legacy

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

A New York floral and gift business takes on the iconic Harry & David brand.


Read more...

The Cover Story

Linda Baker
Thursday, August 27, 2015
01-cover-0915-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

How do you put a baby on the cover of a business magazine without it looking too cutesy?


Read more...

Downtime with Jill Nelson

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Live, Work, Play wit the CEO of Ruby Receptionists.


Read more...

Business partnerships: taming the three-headed monster

Contributed Blogs
Monday, July 06, 2015
070615-businessmarriagefail-thumbBY KATHERINE HEEKIN | OB GUEST COLUMNIST

Picking a business partner is not much different than choosing a spouse or life partner, and the business break-up can be as heart-wrenching and costly as divorce.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS