Sponsored by Lane Powell

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

Photos from the 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon awards celebration

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015
IMG 9975cneditPHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Images from the 2015 celebration of Oregon's great workplaces.


Read more...

On the Brink

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY APRIL STREETER | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Leslie Carlson channels the big idea.


Read more...

LEED for weed

Linda Baker
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
012815-potcarbon-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

What is the impact of the legal pot industry on carbon emissions?


Read more...

ZoomCare rolls out new on-demand health clinics

News
Monday, March 02, 2015
zoomcarethumbBY KIM MOORE |  OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Portland-based healthcare provider ZoomCare said it plans to “remake American healthcare” by expanding its on-demand urgent care model to emergency, surgery, dental and primary care, among others.


Read more...

The Carbon Calculus

February 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Carbon pricing is gaining momentum in Oregon, sparking concern for energy-intensive businesses — but also opportunity to expand a homespun green economy.


Read more...

The Human Factor

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY BRIAN LIBBY

Matt French opens up South Waterfront.


Read more...

5 companies react to lower fuel prices

The Latest
Thursday, January 15, 2015
thumb-shutterstock 233787049BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Consumers love the savings they get from low oil prices, but how has business been affected?


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