3 near-ruins have new owners – Hasso Hering


A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

3 near-ruins have new owners

Written February 17th, 2018 by Hasso Hering

The three boarded-up houses, photographed on Jan. 28, occupy one tax lot at Fourth Avenue and Calapooia Street.

Three derelict houses in Albany’s Monteith Historic District, declared unsafe to be lived in a few months ago, have new owners who are weighing whether to fix them up or replace them with something new.

The Signs of Victory Mission had used the three houses on the northeast corner of Calapooia Street and Fourth Avenue as “transitional housing.” Conditions were so bad, though, that last Nov. 2, the city shut the houses down and boarded them up.

On Feb. 8, Mark and Tina Siegner bought the single tax lot with the three houses from the mission for $85,000. Siegner owns Valley Homes Inc., an Albany construction company.

Mark Siegner told me Saturday they’re exploring their options for the property. Demolition or restoration? “Both are being discussed.” He told me he started 30 years ago by redoing a couple of houses in the Monteith District and has a fondness for this old part of town. So whether this project ends up as a restoration or new construction, “we’ll make it look good whatever it is.”

But first things first. The places will have to be cleaned up inside, and that will happen within a month or so.

The houses were built between 1890 and 1910, if you can believe entries on the Linn County tax records. Because of the historical preservation angle, there’s a possibility that the Albany Landmarks Advisory Commission has to approve whatever is done with the exterior.

Preservation may be the wrong term, though. In their present state of disrepair, it’s hard to disagree with Siegner when he says, “They are about as ugly as can be.”

Once again, as in a similar recent case, on the northeast riverfront, tax records on this property suggest that the value of some classes of Albany property is wildly exaggerated for tax purposes.

The land in this case has a real market value of $59,330, according to the county assessor. But the so-called “improvements” are valued on the tax roll at $205,380, yielding, together with the land, a tax bill of nearly $5,000. Taxes on the property are fully paid.

The structures’ actual value, though, is probably less than zero, especially if they cannot economically be restored and must be torn down. Siegner says he’ll be speaking with the county tax people about that. (hh)

9 responses to “3 near-ruins have new owners”

  1. Dave Sullivan says:

    I wish the Siegner’s the best of luck dealing with City inspectors, the Landmark Advisory Commission and County Assessors. I’ve carefully renovated several historic properties in Albany, and the paperwork demands, code enforcement, and wacky assessments were collectively so onerous that I’ve moved to working in Polk County instead.

  2. Katherine says:

    Even if they have an ugly look to them that does not necessary mean they are not salvageable.
    I bought my 1910 farmhouse and it was listed as “structure has no value”. It had structural integrity and it has been renovated and has made a great home for me and my family. So let’s trust this builder’s expertise and not judge a book by its cover.

  3. Dick Olsen says:

    After living here a year, in 1970 we found that our house had been declared unrepairable and should be removed. I ran for City Council and got that changed. I’ve lived here ever since and most people think it;s a pretty nice house.

  4. hj.anony1 says:

    Dilapidation to restoration or new from the ground-up will be encouraging to see. I like to say you cannot stop progress. Money & resources help.

    Good luck!

  5. Michael Dee says:

    The real story is the thirty six people that were evicted were not offered any alternative. Little old ladies ended up in tents by the park. The city was responsible and should have housed those people, not boot them out into the coldest part of winter. It’s unconscionable. City money should have been used for motel rooms or rent in other housing during that harsh time to replace the shelter those people had. It was not their fault the buildings were in disrepair.

    • Andrew kirk says:

      Exactly. I was one of those tenants that was evicted. It was horrible as i was at work when it happened. Now im in a shelter and lost my job because of it.

  6. centrist says:

    Good point.
    My short-timer impression of the mission is that they don’t have much, but share what they have.
    It’s apparent that these buildings aren’t 5star attractions. Likely not 1star either, but better than no cover.
    What prompted the inspection and roust?

  7. Mackenzie says:

    These structures were poorly built and cheaply made to begin with. Not to mention butt ugly. How about tearing them down, and put some houses in, with a modern take on Albany’s historic homes? Albany has enough ticky-tacky boxes.

  8. Gothic Albany says:

    Yes the houses are in need of repair, but they should be restored, not removed. They still retain much of their historic integrity.


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