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City stays out of house fight

Northwest neighbors’ petition probably won’t stop demolition


The city of Portland is staying out of the controversy of the Google Rose house — for now.

An executive with Google Ventures wants to demolish the 1892 home at 1627 N.W. 32nd Ave., in Willamette Heights and build a new one. Neighbors are up in arms trying to save the old house, and have gathered more than 2,500 signatures at a petition at Change.org.

Kevin Rose and his wife Darya, paid $1.3 million in cash for the imposing home in March, intending to remodel. They later discovered more extensive repairs would be needed and were last week granted permission to demolish it by Portland development officials.

On Monday City Commissioner Amanda Fritz told the Tribune by email that she could not intervene in the issue, because of city rules governing house demolitions. “If property owners comply with the rules, they are allowed to act as they choose with their property,” Fritz says. “Changing the rules for demolitions is being discussed as part of the comprehensive plan update process.”

On Monday, a neighbor’s offer to buy the house for $1.3 million was rejected, according KOIN 6 News.

Fritz was recently involved in a controversy that swirled around plans to demolish the 1902 Goldsmith home at Northwest 24th Avenue and Quimby Street. Eventually the developer, who wanted to build several dwellings on the large Northwest Portland lot, sold the home to a group of neighbors who plan to remodel it and sell it as a single-family home.

“Unless/until the rules are changed, the Bureau of Development Services will continue to implement the current standards,” Fritz says. “We are working to encourage developers to provide a courtesy notice to neighbors when homes are scheduled for demolitions, even if the notice is not required by the regulations.”

Reaction from the neighborhood has been fierce. Neighbor Bill Neeland, a retired computer engineer, said he did not think Rose and his family would be accepted into the neighborhood if they tore the house down. “It’s unusual,” says Neeland, a 43-year resident of the neighborhood. “We’d hope to have someone who understands the lifestyle up here and appreciates the house. But I understand he’s from Las Vegas, where a 10-year-old house is considered old.”