A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

On Pacific, from Wendy’s to weeds

Written July 3rd, 2016 by Hasso Hering
Nobody has been tending the landscaping at the former Wendy's for a long time.

Nobody has been tending the landscaping at the former Wendy’s for a long time.

What used to be Wendy’s restaurant on Albany’s Pacific Boulevard has been closed for a year and a half, and the property has turned into a showcase of landscaping neglect.

The fast-food restaurant closed in January 2015, along with Wendy’s in Corvallis, Eugene and The Dalles. Press reports at the time cited a dispute between the company, based in Dublin, Ohio, and the Eugene-based franchise operator as a reason for the closures. If anyone is planning to reopen the Albany restaurant, or use the property for something else, I don’t know about it. When I checked with the city planning department in May, no one had filed for any land-use permits.

Linn County tax records say the property, at 1560 Pacific Blvd. S.E., is owned by a limited liability company whose agent has a mailing address in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. The property is listed on the tax rolls as having a real market value of $1.6 million, of which $245,000 accounts for the land and the rest, more than $1.3 million, for the “improvements.”

Property taxes were assessed on a maximum assessed value of $560,570. Last fall the tax bill amounted to $10,919 and was paid in full.

My question: If you’re going to pay almost eleven thousand dollars a year in property taxes without blinking an eye, why not budget a few hundred bucks and hire a guy to water the lawn and take care of the shrubs until either the franchise problems are resolved or a new tenant can be found to operate the place?

It can’t be a shortage of money, I would think. Rancho Santa Fe is a community in San Diego County. MapQuest describes the place as “one of the most exclusive and affluent communities in Southern California. … At $245,631, it is one of the highest income communities in the United States with at least 1,000 households.”

Albany has an ordinance about keeping vegetation cut so it doesn’t become a fire hazard. But enforcement happens only once a hazard is determined to exist. And if you’re in the real estate business in the ritziest part of Southern California, it’s possible that unless somebody tells you about it, you don’t know about the appearance of an investment far away, on the main drag of an Oregon town. (hh)

9 responses to “On Pacific, from Wendy’s to weeds”

  1. Carrie Pool says:

    Maybe take a few good pics and send, along with a printed copy of your editorial, to the mailing address listed on the property tax statement. Nothing ventured nothing gained. Who knows, it could be just what the lawn doctor ordered.

  2. Tony White says:

    This is very common among absentee landlords. Whether it is a slum in Harlem, NY, or an abandoned Wendy’s franchise in Oregon, if the owner doesn’t have a significant current vested interest in the property, they are quite willing to ignore it. What’s $11,000 to a million- or billionaire? I’m a big advocate of the free enterprise system, but believe that there are responsibilities both legal and ethical that go along with the land. Albany should begin assessing penalties for this neglect.

  3. hj.anony1 says:

    Yes. Classic out of sight, out of mind. The taxes are probably paid by some accounting outfit so owner doesn’t even give that much of a thought.

    Weeds so high that I almost missed your bike, HH. One might think you framed that shot on purpose.

    I really like first commenter’s idea.

  4. Jim Clausen says:

    Then again, the city could just declare it a wetland and never have to do anything with it…

  5. Rhea Graham says:

    I inquired about the property several months back and learned that the rent is $10,000 per month and that there is no way they would consider a Cannabis business in it.

  6. Jim Engel says:

    IF, our City Council had some fortitude & some real community zeal they could come up with a meaningful measure. When a lot gets to the stage as the former Wendy’s -vacant building & weed choked lot – a City crew comes in to clean it up & puts a lien against the property. Done deal! Make it for both commercial & house lots…JE

  7. Richard Vannice says:

    It isn’t just lots owned by absentee owners. There are plenty of areas with tall grass and noxious weeds (i.e. blackberries) that are, for whatever reason, not cut back. They have to be declared a “Fire Hazard” as defined by the National Fire Code to even be addressed by the City. Check Albany Municipal Code 7,84.170


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