PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — The City of Portland admits they got it wrong and will change the way they rid themselves of surplus properties.
This week, the two bureaus Commissioner Nick Fish oversees — the Water Bureau and the Bureau of Environmental Services — announced new plans including informing neighborhood and business associations of any property for sale as well as more public advertising.
About 18 months ago, the residents in the Multnomah Neighborhood Association said they were “blindsided” when the city decided to sell property in their area without adequate public notice. They said there was only an anonymous posting on craigslist.
The city, the association said, could have gotten much more money for the land. The sale was for only $140,000.
Neighbors filed, then dropped, a lawsuit against the city over the sale.
“It was indicative of an overall much larger problem,” said former Multnomah Neighborhood Association president Moses Ross. “Transparency was the big issue. This kind of blindsided the neighborhood and those neighbors.”
Fish told KOIN 6 News the city had to go through with the sale because they already had a binding contract.
“We don’t always get it right and when we fall short, the expectation the public should have is we’ll keep working on it until we get it right,” Fish said.
He said they looked very closely at deal after it was complete “because I agree with many of the complaints.”
The bureaus each launched a website advertising surplus properties that may soon be for sale.
There are 24 surplus properties all over the city right now, from the Buddington Tank property in Southwest Portland to the St. Johns Tank in North Portland to Terminal One in Northwest Portland.
“If we’re able to, through our example, get that problem resolved for other people in the city, well, then, by God it’s served it’s purpose, and we’ve done what we’ve needed to do,” Ross said.
Fish said he hopes all city bureaus adopt the new policies.