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HASSO HERING

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Well, that was quick: Three old houses razed

Written June 27th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

Mark Siegner this morning, looking relieved after the demolition of three houses at Fourth and Calapooia.

The three old houses that occupied Albany city government since 2017 are gone. After the city council cleared the way Wednesday night, homebuilders Mark and Tina Siegner took out a demolition permit this morning and got the structures razed.

By mid-day all that was left on the northeast corner of Fourth Avenue and Calapooia Street were three piles of moldy debris.

The Siegners’ plans for the property are not complete. They’re thinking of something with space for professional offices on the ground floor and housing above.

The property is in Albany’s Monteith Historic District, so whatever new construction is proposed will go through a review by the Landmarks Advisory Commission. It remains to be seen how this works out in view of the strong opposition by some members of that board to the demolition.

After the houses came down today, some nearby homeowners and business people came by to thank them, the Siegners told me. For the last 30 or 40 years, the houses had become increasingly blighted eyesores. In 2017 the city of Albany declared them unsafe to inhabit and boarded them up. The Siegners bought the property, all one tax lot, from the Signs of Victory Mission in February 2018.

Their application for urban renewal funds to help restore the structures was turned down, and Landmarks rejected their request for demolition, staying it for a year instead. The city council then reversed the Landmarks denial. This reversal was appealed to the Land Use Board of Appeals, which remanded the case to the council for adequate findings.

The council voted 4-1 to adopt findings Wednesday night. And the demolition this morning was the result. (hh)


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14 responses to “Well, that was quick: Three old houses razed”

  1. Ron Green says:

    Affordable, albeit substandard, housing is gone. Very unlikely that affordable housing can replace it.

  2. David Abarr says:

    I’m sure as Siegner stood there with his cocky grin on his face he’d tell you, his advocate only people that thanked him came by. After all he needs to sleep at night right?

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      I hope his “cocky grin” keeps you awake at night while he sleeps soundly.

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      Given Abarr is a member of the Landmarks Advisory Commission, should the Council declare Abarr biased and not allow him to take part in any discussion or vote on this property?

      Kellum said less on this blog and was censured by LUBA.

      Doesn’t fairness demand that Abarr be muzzled too?

  3. Ted says:

    After waiting and fighting that long to legally do what they wanted with their property they certainly took the right action. Take them down before somebody throws another roadblock in their way to get rid of blighted property like this. I hate it when people rub their hands together and moan and groan about “historic” buildings like this being demolished. If you’re so interested in saving them get together with your friends, raise the money (keep tax dollars out of it), buy them and remodel them for some worthwhile use. If your not willing to do that, then move along with your life and let the owners get on with theirs.

  4. Ray Kopczynski says:

    The speed in which it happened (this morning) boggles the mind – considering the owners don’t have any concrete plans… Of course, that has been the owners plans from the beginning… But why the rush to destroy? I don’t perceive any attempt to salvage old windows or lumber or anything else. The irony is palpable…

    • “Rush to destroy”? Those places were destroyed a long time ago while the council, Landmarks, Friends of Historic Albany, and everybody else supposedly interested in historic preservation watched and did nothing, or paid no attention at all. The only rush here was a rush to get something done before somebody found another way to prolong an already overlong process,

  5. Melissa says:

    Those houses could have been restored. I’ve seen places in much worse shape be rebuilt. It’s a sad day.

    • Keith says:

      The article says their request for urban renewal funds to help restore the houses was denied. Maybe someone felt they didn’t need urban renewal funds assistance…I don’t know, but the implication is that they were at least open to restoration a year ago.

  6. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    “The property is in Albany’s Monteith Historic District, so whatever new construction is proposed will go through a review by the Landmarks Advisory Commission.”

    And the commission is staffed by fair, unbiased, objective appointees like David Abarr.

    See his claims about the Siegners here along with Hasso’s plea for “proof” –
    https://hh-today.com/findings-back-demolition-of-three-houses/

    Abarr’s response to Hasso? Apparently crickets

    Any guesses how the review will go with the LAC? Stay tuned, the buildings may be down but the real fun is about to begin….

  7. There have been a few more comments, but I’m not posting them because they contained potentially libelous assertions, and one resorted to a vulgarity. The comments on this story are closed.

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