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Crane towering over Park Avenue West project taken down

by: Christopher Onstott A construction tower that hovered for months over the stalled Park Avenue West building in downtown Portland was taken down Friday. Financing problems have stopped work on TMT Development’s building.

One of the most visible signs of the economic downturn disappeared Friday afternoon when the 277-foot-high orange crane that has stood unused at the construction site for the Park Avenue West Tower behind Nordstrom on Southwest Park Avenue was taken down piece by piece and hauled away.

Portland's TMT Development intended the original Park Avenue West building to be among the grandest skyscrapers in downtown Portland. Later, those plans were scaled back and construction began on a 22-story building for retail and office space.

Eventually, financing dried up and there were disputes about tenants signing leases that would provide financing. At one time, negotiations began to lure the city's Portland Development Commission offices to the building, but the city chose to keep the PDC at its Old Town site.

Construction was halted on the Park Avenue West building in April 2009, but the orange construction crane, which towers perilously close to the air space over Nordstrom's downtown store, was left in place, waiting for construction to restart.

This summer, the investment firm that owns the Nordstrom building filed a nuisance and trespass complaint against TMT Development, which also owns the neighboring Fox Tower. The lawsuit focused on the crane.

Two weeks ago, TMT announced that the Park Avenue West project, which includes extensive foundation work and an elevator shaft, would be mothballed with hopes that construction will begin again in 2015.

On Monday, family members of longtime Portland developer Tom Moyer, who started TMT, filed a lawsuit seeking control of the company. Moyer's granddaughter, Vanessa Sturgeon, serves as the company's president.

The Tribune was unable to reach Sturgeon for comment about the lawsuit or the construction project.