Eastmoreland home saved…for now

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Neighbors in Eastmoreland trying to protect a home from being demolished, were successful in preventing the home from being demolished Thursday.

KOIN 6 News has obtained a copy of an official Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association (ENA) letter that claims the developer of 3620 Southeast Rural Street has “circumvented the ENA’s 120-day delay for demolition.”

Randy Sebastian, the president of Renaissance Homes, the company that owns the property and home, said the will agree to meet with the neighborhood association to discuss the future of the house within a week, and the would not demolish the house today.

The letter states blocking the bulldozers’ access may be the only way to prevent “this violation of public trust.”

According to a permit request filed with the city, the work to be completed on the property includes a new two single-family residence with a finished basement.

Rod Merrick, who is the land-use chair for ENA, said about a month ago, the city issued notification that there had been a permit submitted for demolition.

The plans, according to Merrick, called for splitting of the current lot and sought to build two new properties.

ENA requested that the notification process be extended to 120 days so the city, neighbors and developer could talk and work out a mutual agreement.

Merrick said ENA is contesting the lot splitting permit.

According to Merrick, there is a “loop hole” that developers are able to use to end the 120 day delay period.

Under the original permit request, two homes were to be built on the property.

This week, the developer, Merrick said, refiled the permit and indicated that only one home would be built on the existing lot.

“We don’t want to see a house torn down if there’s a way of saving it,” Merrick said.

ENA is concerned that once demolition occurs, the developer may re-submit plans again and move forward with the original plans for building two homes, Merrick said.

Sebastian said those are his exact plans.

“We are going to tear the house down. We own the property. We’ve had the property for the last few month and we have permit to go forward,” Sebastian said. “And eventually we will build another house on that property.”

There are no historical designations to the current home, Merrick said.

ENA is also seeking that the city close the loop hole for developers, and they want to prevent the builders from changing plans once demolition has started.

Two Portland Police officers sat within a block of the property. The officers said they were there to make sure that the developer was allowed access to the property.

Police said if there were vehicles blocking the property’s driveway, the owners would be asked to move, and if they refused, the vehicles would be towed.

“We don’t expect there to be any problems,” one of the officers said. “This is a nice neighborhood.”

According to ENA, the developer and others have found “a work-around for the delay.”

A spokesperson with the city’s Bureau of Development Services was not immediately available Thursday to explain the reported “work-around.”

The 1,050 square-foot, single-family home had a market value of $323,180 in 2013, according to city records.

The home was built in 1949, and is currently owned by Renaissance Custom Home LLC out of Lake Oswego, records show.

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