Kevin Cavenaugh: designer, curator and bean counter in one

| Print |  Email
Articles - February 2014
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
0214 DOWNTIME2
 Kevin Cavenaugh, owner of Guerrilla Development
// Photo by Jason Kaplan

BY EMMA HALL

Kevin Cavenaugh, owner of Guerrilla Development, graduated from architecture school but isn’t a licensed architect. He doesn’t like to call himself a developer, though, a profession often viewed as “just above krill on the food chain.” Specializing in boutique urban infill developments, Cavenaugh is known for his mixed-use projects on Portland’s East and West sides, including Box & One, Burnside Rocket and the Ocean. “For me, projects aren’t just an asset or commodity,” he says. “It has to be a design experiment for me to consider it successful, and I have to be a designer, curator and bean counter all at the same time.” He lives in Portland with his wife, Beth, and three children, Jack, 16, Grace, 14, and Lily Jane, 9.

Design dreams “Every project I do has to be different, and I have to keep learning. It would be easy for me to do the Rocket or Box again, maybe better and make a bit more money. But that would be formulaic, and there would be no professional growth. Right now I still bolt up at one or two in the morning and have to sketch something out in the pad beside my bed before I can fall back asleep.”

Starting over “On January 1, 2013, Beth rolled over in bed and said, ‘let’s move today!’ We left all our furniture except for our dining room table and favorite chair. Moving didn’t mean moving; it meant shopping. We went to the mattress store across the street, and I spent way too much money and time putting together IKEA furniture. We had an estate sale at the old house — weird when you’re still alive, but a fun way to take your accumulation and jettison it.”

Business lunch “Today I had the daunting task of trying shawarma at a restaurant that will probably be a tenant at my new project. We had to do a taste test to make sure we were happy with it. Lunch culminated in a handshake. When I go home and Beth asks how my day was, I can’t complain about my job. I get to go around, taste awesome food and do handshake deals with honest people.”

Living simply “I like to say we’re a ‘skill-free family’; none of us has sports or hobbies, really. We’re together a lot, and in winter we hibernate — we eat family dinner, maybe play a Scrabble game, do homework, roll into bed. It’s our first year of living in a loft in the back of my Ocean project on Sandy Boulevard. When I first moved to Portland 20 years ago, Sandy was hookers and cocaine. Now the cool factor is very high, which the kids like.”

Citizen investor “Crowdfunding is exciting as hell. I can go online and see another $20,000 pledged in my project from people all over the country that I don’t know. The whole democratization of real estate finance is just fascinating. The idea that someone like my wife, a hospice nurse, can invest $100 just as easily as someone of a much wealthier profile — that will change the market.”

 

More Articles

Downtime with Debra Ringold

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Dean of the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University


Read more...

Stemming the tide of money in politics

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
 jeff-lang-2012-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

Jeff Lang and his wife Rae used to dole out campaign checks like candy.  “We were like alcoholics,” Lang says. ”We couldn’t just give a little.”


Read more...

Department of Self-Promotion

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 17, 2015

061715-awards1Oregon Business wins journalism awards.


Read more...

Loose Talk

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

When gossip crosses the line.


Read more...

5 things to know about veterans in the workforce

The Latest
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
070215-vetsthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

There are more than 10 million former military members working in the United States.


Read more...

Marijuana law ushers in new business age

The Latest
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
062315panelthumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

Oregon’s new marijuana law is expected to lead to a bevy of new business opportunities for the state. And not just for growers. Law firms, HR consultants, energy efficiency companies and many others are expected to benefit from the decriminalization of pot, according to panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast meeting on Tuesday.


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