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Tigard’s Northwest Demolition & Dismantling has been swinging the wrecking ball for more than 60 years.

They’ve leveled entire city blocks and Portland of Portland terminals on the Columbia River. They tore down PGE’s Trojan Nuclear Power Plant in 2006.

But now the Tigard demolition firm will be taking down one of Portland’s most iconic — and dilapidated — landmarks, Centennial Mills on the Willamette River.

Last week, the Portland Development Commission named Northwest Demolition as the construction manager and general contractor for demolition and salvage at Centennial Mills, the historic grain milling and processing facility in the Pearl District along the bank of the Willamette River.

The complex includes 12 largely ramshackle structures, as well as an outdoor paddock currently used by the Portland Police Bureau’s Mounted Patrol Unit.

Originally known as Crown Mills, the site opened 105 years ago and played a major role in Portland’s economic growth.

But the century-old mill is a shadow of its former self. After closing more than a decade ago, the facility has largely been left in disrepair.

The Portland Development Commission has owned Centennial Mills since 2000, with the hopes of enhancing the waterfront area.

Based on rapid deterioration of the facility and substantial risk of loss or damage should the buildings collapse, the commission declared an emergency, which enabled them to choose a firm based on several factors, rather than the traditional low-bid selection process, PDC said in a statement last week.

Northwest Demolition was one of six firms that fought for the contract.

“We were very pleased with the quality of the responses we received,” said PDC Executive Director Patrick Quinton. “We believe the combination of qualifications, cost, and previous experience with complex projects made Northwest Demolition the clear choice.”

The commission is working with Harsch Investment Properties to redevelop the property.

The company, headed by Jordan Schnitzer, has proposed a $115.7 million redevelopment of the site, calling for 120,000 square feet of multifamily homes to be built on the site, along with 80,000 square feet of office space and 24,000 square feet of retail stores.

Its flour and feed mill buildings will be preserved, but Harsch said that many of the structures at the Centennial Mills site are too run down to repair.

“The other buildings are literally collapsing into the water,” said PDC’s Bruce Wood.

The site will have several public amenities, as well, including a boat dock, a greenway path, a pedestrian bridge connecting the property to Fields Park in the Pearl District, plazas and an event center.

“This is a challenging project and I am confident our team can complete the selective demolition in a safe, efficient and cost-effective manner,” said Northwest Demolition & Dismantling Vice President Richard Wayper. “We’re very eager to get to work.”

Wayper said that plans are being made to minimize impacts to neighbors.

Just how much the demolition is going to cost isn’t clear. PDC is currently working to develop a guaranteed maximum price. That, and a timeline for the work, is expected in the next three months.

Contract Publishing

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