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Reeves continues to sing the cabana blues with new fine

A Lake Oswego judge has fined developer Jerry Reeves $3,000 for building a cabana on Third Street six feet too high, contrary to city code and approved building plans.

The verdict, recently released, stems from a June trial in which Reeves was charged with intentionally violating city code. The verdict comes at a time when the city has stepped up sanctions for the home's owner, Michaeline Baratta, issuing several $100 citations against the local real estate agent for maintaining an illegal structure - her future home.

Reeves, owner of the J.C. Reeves Corporation, built the house on a cabana lot off Third Street for Baratta, a personal friend. The house was found to be five feet higher than allowed by city code during a survey in January.

The city approved plans to make the house compliant in May but those plans have not been implemented. The house still stands half constructed on Lakewood Bay.

Reeves and city officials have steadily sparred over issues related to the house, including its location over a city sewer line and the height violations.

Reeves did not participate in the trial in municipal court, calling it a 'kangaroo' proceeding geared to undermine a lawsuit he currently has pending in Clackamas County Circuit Court.

In that suit, Reeves charges the city with abusing its power, essentially just to hassle him. He alleges the city changed building codes midway through the project, has no real method for measuring the height of gabled homes, issued permits and then retracted them and has imposed unreasonable requirements to lift stop-work orders.

David Powell, city attorney for Lake Oswego, rejects those claims. He said the city would continue to take a punitive stance against Reeves and Baratta until the Third Street cabana is scaled down.

'I think, in all seriousness, the circuit court case has no merit anyway, but it obviously doesn't help Mr. Reeves that there's a municipal court decision that he's in violation of code,' Powell said.

Reeves said he will appeal the decision to the Oregon Court of Appeals and said he is moving forward with remodeling plans.

'I think it's a stupid fight,' he said, but added he sees no end in sight.

'I think we're going to go clear to a Clackamas County jury,' he said. 'They are not playing on a level playing field, for whatever reason, and we're going to get to the bottom of it.'