A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

The pace of demolition: Keeping track

Written March 3rd, 2023 by Hasso Hering

In case you’re keeping track, this is how far the demolition of the former bank building at First and Broadalbin in downtown Albany had progressed by Friday afternoon.

The west wall of the building was pretty much gone when I went by on the bike.

It looks — to the layman anyway — like they built things strong back in 1912, when this structure was begun. So it will take a while to make the building disappear.

Has anyone expressed an interest in buying the site from the City of Albany and redeveloping it once the rubble has been cleared away? I’ve asked about this but have yet to hear back.

In the meantime, though, the city on Friday afternoon put out a statement about the demolition, including a rundown on what happens next.

The statement was attached to City Manager Peter Troedsson’s weekly report to the city council. It listed these steps:

• Once demolition is complete, the site will be finished with compacted gravel.
• In the short-term, the lot will be used by ParkWise (managed by the Albany Downtown Association) for
parking spaces temporarily displaced by the waterfront project.
• In Spring 2023, the site will be listed for sale.
• Staff will work with potential buyers/developers to meet council-directed priorities for the site.
• Council will review prospective buyer/developer interest with sealed bids and will select one.
• Prior to closing the sale, a development agreement with the buyer/developer will be in place to ensure
planned development meets council-directed priorities and the reason for purchasing the site: a
vertical residential development with first floor commercial.

So, the question whether anyone has expressed an interest so far has no answer yet.

The far bigger question: How realistic, in 2023, are the “council-directed priorities” of downtown apartments with commercial space below? (hh)

The building looked like this from First Avenue on Friday afternoon.

15 responses to “The pace of demolition: Keeping track”

  1. Cap B. says:

    How ugly it is going to be downtown on Albany’s First Street, which was the main downtown business and commerce street for 100 years at least! A parking lot stretching for two blocks doesn’t cut it!! And, Hasso, there is an obvious reason why the city has not answered your inquiry on whether they have been contacted by any possible buyers of the two-block lot…that is, they have not had any inquiries!

    Oh, and even though I said I would not go to Monteith Park ever again, I went to the Sr. Center today (I prefer the old name) to get AARP information on tax preparation. It is shocking and sad to drive into the front parking area at the Sr. Center. Monteith Park looks barren and awful without the big trees. Depressing! CARA has ruined the jewel that was Monteith Park.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      After the WF lot is developed (along with the St. Francis), it will enhance the downtown. Period. And left out of your comment was the fact that the Riverfront Center parking lot was full virtually all day long. (I can see it as I’m greeting folks at the front entrance of the Carousel.)Carousel.) You should have walked in and identified yourself. I guess that’s too hard for you to do…

      • Cap B. says:

        Ray, It has been over 20 years since CARA started saying the St. Francis will be restored. They had their chance 20 years ago when a developer wanted to redo it with affordable apartments, but they turned that down. CARA wanted a “boutique” hotel. Well, they are still wanting that, but it hasn’t happened.

        Don’t get cheeky and say I’m afraid to introduce myself. I don’t want to meet you; we all have heard plenty from you.

        Oh, the Sr. Center it was not full of people Friday, as you imply. The front room had AARP tax volunteers doing taxes with the taxpayers sitting by their sides handing them documents. The rest of the Sr. Center was empty except for one small table of 4 card players. Before the “remodel and renaming,” the whole main room every day had about 6 or 7 tables of 4 card players each. That never happens now.

        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          Yes, it has taken longer than I/we had hoped to get a formal contract to rehab the St. Francis. Inasmuch as we now do have a contract for it to be done, that’s now a moot issue.

          The Riverfront Center IS being used. That it is now being used in a different way than what you want is now “old history.”

          • Cap B. says:

            Ray, “old history,” huh? Ancient history, yes, but haven’t heard the term “old history.”
            History is history. Maybe old history is a definition, not only of me, but of you, too?

            Good luck with your St. Francis Hotel contract.

          • Ray Kopczynski says:

            Yes, being 74+. I resemble that remark. :-)

  2. CHEZZ says:

    Hasso, the first thing I noticed about the demo on the building was the very solid structure and the materials used on that first build. Probably would have even been earthquake proof on some of it.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      I seem to recall that not too long ago, it still had the old Civil Defense sign on it to use it as location to take shelter. (It was very faded to say the least.)

  3. Mark Simons says:

    Good morning, I confess , after reading the initial article about the “Project.” I stewed for a bit. Part of my disappointment coupled with some memories of
    the last 24 years and several “River Rythm” events. It seemed like just avoiding that part of town would be the softer gentler way to digest the shock. However at the end of the day “Avoidance” ends up with me being the proverbial “Kid who was dumb enough to go to the front of a big dam and stick my finger in the hole so it wouldn’t leak . (At some point there will be more leaks and the dam will break and I’ll be washed away.lol@me) I’d still be holding the bag. I then read “Hasso’s” follow up article which gave me an out and to “Jump the sinking ship I was on” and reassess. I was coping at that point. Jump ahead to the present. I need to change course all together and come to terms (kicking and screaming if need be) with the fact once again it’s not all about me . We will survive. Long term plans have to start somewhere too. With all that is going on that is unsettling
    Creating more hard feeling’s doesn’t contribute to the solution . So I was forced to once again fall back on “Acceptance” which is the key . The fact that the downtown bank project adds to the insult to Injury syndrome leaves me frustrated and hopeful all at once. There are many other factors I have omitted here . Very important factors “Like I’m not in commercial real estate or a member on the “City Council.” If I were you might see me pacing back and forth between the two projects looking a bit disheveled.Thanks, as usual Hasso Herring for giving me cover. I appreciated remarks from previous author.

  4. Hartman says:

    Hering writes, quoting Troedsson: “In the short-term, the lot will be used by ParkWise (managed by the Albany Downtown Association) for parking spaces temporarily displaced by the waterfront project.”

    The question then, will that dude who rides around all day downtown on that glorified scooter be issuing parking violations on the new lot being created by the Wrecking Ball activity? If so, will the monies generated by this person’s trigger-happy Ticket Giving be handed over to the City coffers…or to the Albany Downtown Association? We do so enjoy the Ticketeer’s efforts to keep Albany from being overrun by scofflaws.

    • Anony Mouse says:

      Please read AMC, Chapter 13.21, Regulations for Motor Vehicle Parking.

      It’s a 5,000 word salad of obfustocracy.

      If you get confused, ask Ray K or Woods. They speak the language.

  5. Bill Kapaun says:

    The obvious solution is to fill it with tiny houses for the homeless. It’s close to parole & drug rehab (no excuse for a missed appointment) with food stamps/welfare and both bus routes within 2-3 blocks.

    That makes up for the “upstairs apartments” which are “sorely missed” and result in “more activity” for the downtown merchants. How could your further CARA’s goals in a better manner? The idiots that caused this mess would become instant hero’s!

  6. L says:

    Such a shame, a wonderful old building gone. I hope they dont put in some ugly parking deck!

  7. Jo Rae Perkins says:

    Just how much did the city, aka tax payers, pay for the Wells Fargo building and demolition? Looks like more wasteful spending… thus why the city council instituted a service fee on our water/sewer bills!

    • Steven Reynolds says:

      You have some influence in state politics, I respectfully ask that you present all sides of the argument. The idea was to make sure that parking was preserved because of all the other upgrades being done downtown. I guess you can make the argument that CARA overspent but the board wouldn’t know that unless they were outbid, county would have to disclose their maximum bid. If it had been bought by the county, it would turn into yet another exempt from paying for services asset, at least this way there should be some revenue that is produces eventually.

      Our biggest issue we have right now is lack of enforcing the law, I see the city manager and police chief almost paralyzed in doing their jobs, the damage committed by criminals to our parks and other public facilities is depressing, that has to stop. The city services fees is directly a result of inflation and money supply policy out of D.C. both sides one upping each other, doing everything to buy votes in order to keep political power, going on since “Democracy” was created in Athens. City is just reacting; we can’t force people to work for us and we need a certain level of skill sets to do the job of running the city. We can go through the city budget line item by line item and cut programs but residents like their services (so far). It’s easier to ask for more money than to cut, less push back, at least it has been in the past. Previously Counselor Kellum laid it out on the table, maybe we should just supply the essentials and see what we have left over, past councils have recognized the storm clouds on the horizon.

      You want a project? We need to work on the infrastructure and property tax time bombs we’re sitting on. At some point, political winds are going to change, current Salem leadership is trying to buy votes and pay off their supporters with promises using consistently dwindling resources taken from those that are trying their hardest to stay afloat, that never ends well. Why don’t you think more aligning with a Governor McCall type philosophy? I think you would have a much more receptive Oregon voter.


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