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

Celestial Eats

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER AND EILEEN GARVIN

A power lunch at Solstice Wood Fire Cafe & Bar.


Read more...

Energy Stream

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Oregon already ranks as the nation’s second largest generator of hydroelectric power. (Washington is No. 1). Now an elegant new installation in Portland is putting an unconventional, sharing economy twist on this age-old water-energy pairing. The new system, launched this winter, uses the flow of water inside city water pipes to spin four turbines that produce electricity for Portland General Electric customers. 


Read more...

Oregon businesses face destruction from future earthquake

The Latest
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
htctthumb1BY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An earthquake would completely destroy many Oregon businesses, highlighting the urgent need for the private and public sectors to collaborate on shoring up disaster preparedness, said panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast summit today.


Read more...

5 questions for inDinero CEO Jessica Mah

The Latest
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
jessicathumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

inDinero, a business that manages back-office accounting for startups and smaller companies, recently announced it would relocate its headquarters from San Francisco to Portland. We talked to CEO Jessica Mah about what drew her to Portland and how she plans to disrupt the traditional CPA model.


Read more...

Eco Zoned

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Travelers have always come to Oregon for its natural beauty. But will the increasing popularity of agritourism, European-style hiking getaways and forest resorts relax Oregon's notoriously strict land-use laws?


Read more...

Efficiency Boost

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

How conservation stimulates the local economy.


Read more...

Credit Unions Perspective

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Gene Pelham, CEO of Rogue Credit Union.


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