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One in all Portland’s Prime Actual Property Households Owns a Constructing That Comprises a Fentanyl Market

In his firm biography, Barry Menashe, founding father of one of many metropolis’s wealthiest property clans, says he has a “sixth sense” about Portland actual property. “Making lightning-fast choices comes very naturally.” And he’s “obsessed with protecting areas pin-straight.”

There’s nothing “pin-straight” a couple of constructing that Menashe owns at Southwest 4th Avenue and Washington Road. Washington Middle, because it’s known as, is perhaps among the many most blighted properties in downtown Portland.

As soon as the location of a KeyBank department, a bagel store, a bridal retailer, and a enterprise college, the advanced is vacant now, save for drug-addled denizens who’ve stepped in by means of a damaged window. The place tellers as soon as cashed checks and made change, loiterers now disguise from the sunshine. The protected is roofed in graffiti. A lifeless rat lay in state in the midst of the foyer.

Menashe Properties, which purchased Washington Middle for $9 million in 2014 by means of two restricted legal responsibility firms, owns workplace buildings everywhere in the Portland space and in Dallas, Denver and Seattle, the place tenants are more likely to be attorneys, accountants and designers. At Washington Middle, the Menashes’ occupants are drug sellers.

The present situation of the property has attracted Portland’s pop-up fentanyl market, beforehand positioned north of West Burnside Road, to a fundamental artery of town—one which guests see as they cross into downtown over the Morrison Bridge.

Different enterprise homeowners and metropolis officers are perplexed by how the Menashe household has let a property on the coronary heart of town disintegrate.

“It’s the skid row of Portland,” says an worker at a close-by enterprise who declined to be named for concern that drug gangs would possibly goal her. “I’ve to stroll by means of all these sellers day by day in any respect hours of the day and night time. My objective is to not die on this metropolis. Actually.”

One in all Portland’s Prime Actual Property Households Owns a Constructing That Comprises a Fentanyl Market

The Menashes owe tens of hundreds of {dollars} to the Downtown Portland Clear & Secure District, the chunk of downtown the place property homeowners pay additional for safety and cleansing providers, in line with an individual acquainted with the scenario.

Lauren Menashe, Barry’s daughter, agreed to reply questions by electronic mail. Her household’s agency deliberate to promote the constructing to a developer, however COVID-19 and Portland’s inclusionary zoning insurance policies scared off consumers, she says. Measure 110, which decriminalized the non-public possession of some exhausting medication, was “one other dagger.”

As for the Clear & Secure dues, Menashe says: “We will likely be very happy to pay when town is clear and crime is correctly attended to. We have now requested repeatedly to satisfy with Clear & Secure to debate their plans. We proceed to be unsuccessful in receiving a response.”

The Clear & Secure District says it’s prepared and keen.

“We all the time welcome the chance to satisfy with downtown stakeholders once they request a gathering,” says Clear & Secure govt director Mark Wells. Certainly, Wells contends that Clear & Secure supplied Metropolis Corridor and the Menashes a plan to safe the property final July, then held a daylong cleanup.

The contractual operator of the district, the Portland Enterprise Alliance, says downtown’s finest days are forward. “However to get there we should be trustworthy that our central metropolis has vital challenges,” says PBA president Andrew Hoan. “To get downtown again on observe, we’d like everybody with a stake to do their half to beat these challenges.”

Barry Menashe, 69, has had an extended, rocky relationship with town of Portland. He began his actual property profession whereas nonetheless a senior on the College of Oregon.

“I used to be promoting footwear and didn’t know what I used to be going to do once I graduated,” he mentioned in a 2006 interview with the Each day Journal of Commerce. “I used to be 21 years outdated, a senior on the College of Oregon, once I obtained my actual property license. I used to be very motivated, simply to win, and to earn money. Everyone began calling me as a result of I used to be just like the surprise boy.”

Menashe is given to bravado. Within the first two minutes of the DJC interview, he pulled out an album stuffed with newspaper clippings, reporter Kennedy Smith wrote.

“I used to be by no means an enormous mind at school,” Menashe advised Smith. “I obtained good grades, however I’m not enormously e book sensible. I’m very savvy to the road and what’s occurring round me. My quick pondering and fast-paced offers me the benefit over different individuals who can’t transfer quick.”

On the time of that interview, Menashe was a full-on mogul, plunking down tens of millions for buildings at excessive velocity. In 2010, although, he obtained in a pissing match with town and refused to pay past-due charges of $50,400 to Clear & Secure, telling The Oregonian that “downtown Portland isn’t clear or protected. I plant flowers, and other people simply steal my flowers.”

Menashe had a change of coronary heart in 2016. Shortly after Mayor Charlie Hales declared a housing emergency, Menashe donated a part of Washington Middle to make use of as a homeless shelter. Menashe had a private connection, The Oregonian reported on the time. Two of his 4 siblings suffered psychological sickness and hung out on the streets earlier than dying of their 50s.

Relations with town soured once more thereafter. In Could 2021, Menashe supplied Mayor Ted Wheeler $5 million to assist clear up town if a deal might be reached in three days, the Portland Enterprise Journal reported. Wheeler acknowledged the provide in a textual content and mentioned he’d “attain out,” the PBJ reported. When Menashe didn’t hear something for 5 days, he scrapped the donation.

His son, Jordan, moved to Dallas shortly after complaining to the Portland Enterprise Journal about seeing hypodermic needles and human excrement exterior Washington Middle. Barry Menashe has caught round Portland. He lives in Dunthorpe.

In the meantime, Washington Middle is festering. The chain-link fence that surrounds it’s in items, with sections flattened to the sidewalk. Trash is piled alongside the outside, the place individuals strung out on fentanyl stoop towards a low brick wall. Sellers promote capsules from an alcove on the south aspect.

David Baer, public info officer for the Portland Police Bureau’s Central Precinct Neighborhood Response Bike Squad, says the constructing is his group’s high precedence proper now.

“The fentanyl dealing in that space is rampant and, sadly, brings violence to the world,” Baer says in an electronic mail. “We have now taken a number of weapons off of us there and arrested one supplier for tried homicide after investigators recognized him as a taking pictures suspect.”

Baer warns individuals not to enter the outdated KeyBank. “It’s pretty hazardous within the constructing on account of in depth mould, human waste and a few newbie demolition,” he says.

Eric Zimmerman, an adviser to Mayor Wheeler on cleansing up downtown, says the world across the constructing is probably the most problematic within the central metropolis. “The nook of 4th and Washington is one thing we discuss on daily basis,” he says.

Zimmerman says issues are trying up, cooperationwise. “The homeowners are speaking to the mayor’s workplace, and we respect that,” he says.

Federal and native legal guidelines require property homeowners to take care of sidewalks that border their buildings. The Portland Enterprise Alliance requested attorneys at Miller Nash LLP to organize a memo for downtown property homeowners on their duties.

“The Individuals with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Metropolis of Portland Code require property homeowners to take sure actions to take care of abutting sidewalks,” the September memo mentioned. “This will embody eradicating refuse, tents, and different gadgets that hinder accessibility and create unsafe circumstances.”

The combat over Washington Middle is rising fiercer. The Portland Bureau of Improvement Companies visited on March 8 and 10, in line with metropolis information, and opened 4 circumstances for damaged home windows and for the piles of damaged glass, steel particles, uncooked meals and feces.

BDS gave the Menashes 15 days to adjust to metropolis code. Inspectors will return March 25, and if the mess persists, spokesman Ken Ray says, the company will notify the Menashes that it plans to rent a contractor to wash it up. BDS would place a lien on the property to cowl prices.

“The property proprietor in the end pays for that work,” Ray says.

Lauren Menashe says town is accountable.

“Lawlessness is the one phrase I can provide you with to explain this as soon as lovely and thriving space of downtown,” she says. “Regardless of our greatest efforts to take care of the location and any type of order or cleanliness, together with boarding up the property and damaged home windows day by day, hiring non-public safety, paying for fencing, weekly outreach to police and metropolis officers, it has confirmed unattainable to maintain any and all types of transients, felony exercise, vandalism and destruction away from this web site. Merely put, the situation of this property is a product of shortsighted laws and has been handcuffed by unmanageable circumstances.”

One caveat: “The police have been an distinctive useful resource to us. Sadly, their good work solely goes thus far,” Menashe provides. “If our county is unable or unwilling to prosecute, again on the streets the criminals go.”

And into the outdated KeyBank, too.

ADDRESSES: 444 SW fifth Ave., 401-419 SW Washington St., 423-437 SW 4th Ave.

YEARS BUILT: 1965, 1977, NA

SQUARE FOOTAGE: 37,970, 33,961, NA

MARKET VALUES: $2.5 million, $3.7 million, $1.26 million

OWNERS: Fifth Avenue LLC, Fourth Avenue LLC, Fourth Avenue LLC, respectively

HOW LONG IT’S BEEN EMPTY: KeyBank moved out in 2018.

WHY IT’S EMPTY: Tenants moved out as blight moved in.

Each week, WW examines one mysteriously vacant property within the metropolis of Portland, explains why it’s empty, and considers what would possibly arrive there subsequent. Ship addresses to


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