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

Editor's Letter: Tortoise and the Hare

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015

The day after this issue goes to press, the city of Medford will host its annual business conference. The event features Minoli Ratnatunga, co-author of the Milken Institute’s annual “Best-Performing Cities” report. Preliminary data suggests that Medford is likely to retain its No. 1 ranking among best-performing small cities for having a higher concentration of high-tech firms than the national average. 


Read more...

The short list: 4 companies engaged in a battle of the paddles

The Latest
Thursday, December 04, 2014
pingpongthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Nothing says startup culture like a ping pong table in the office, lounge or lobby.


Read more...

Political theater

News
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
0107-orbizplansum14-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

The Oregon Business Plan Leadership Summit drew more than 1,000 people to the Oregon Convention Center yesterday.


Read more...

Leading with the right brain

News
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
120914-manderson-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

On the eve of the Portland Ad Federation's Rosey Awards, Matt Anderson, CEO of Struck, talks about the transition from creative director to CEO, the Portland talent pool and whether data is the new black in the creative services sector.


Read more...

Live, Work, Play: Amen Teter

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Catching up with Amen Teter, Portland-based global director of action sports for Octagon Olympics & Action sports talent agency.


Read more...

Corner Office: Timothy Mitchell

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

A look-in on the life of Norris & Stevens' president, plus an abridged Powerlist for the best commercial real estate firms.


Read more...

Old school: Paulsen's Pharmacy maintains old fashion ethos

The Latest
Thursday, December 18, 2014
121914-pharmacy-thumbBY MEGHAN NOLT

VIDEO: Under the radar — complete with a soda counter, the traditional Paulsen's Pharmacy looks to compete with big box retailers.


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