After buying for $1, city flips property for $205,000

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The city of West Linn bought a property at 1698 Dodge Way for just $1 dollar back in 2011. After revamping the property, the city recently sold it for $205,000.In an uncertain real estate climate, most property owners consider themselves lucky if they break even on a sale. Losses are common, profits rare.

Yet when the city of West Linn bought a property at 1698 Dodge Way from the Department of Housing and Urban Development back in May 2011, the decision carried little risk — the property cost the city just $1.

Almost three years later, after investing several thousand dollars and staff resources into revamping the home, the city closed a sale on the property for $205,000. After closing costs, the total profit for the city came in at $197,249, according to City Manager Chris Jordan.

“It was a good surprise,” Parks and Recreation Director Ken Worcester said. “When we originally bought the house a few years ago, we thought it might bring $150,000 or so, but the market started turning.”

The city is required to use the funds for community development, and the city council voted Dec. 30 to direct the money to parks and recreation for the West Linn Adult Community Center expansion project.

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The West Linn Adult Community Center is host to many activities, including the West Linn Share Singers. The building is currently busting at the seams and is in need of more space.

The $586,000 community center project would add about 3,100 square feet of multi-use space for both classrooms and storage. Between the Dodge Way sale profits, $175,000 from the Community Development Block Grant Fund and funds raised by the Friends of the Adult Community Center group, Worcester said the project is close to being fully funded.”We’re within probably about $50,000,” Worcester said, “depending on what kind of soft costs we want to include in the project.”

Planning for the expansion began about three years ago, Worcester said, once it became clear that the community center would outgrow its original size.

“One thing we learned is you can probably never have enough storage, especially when there’s potential for multiple users,” Worcester said. “Everyone wants a locker or closet space if they use the space. ... it makes it more attractive.”

As the project nears its funding goal, Worcester said the city will soon begin to refine its design plans and start the land use approval process.

“We’re ready to get going,” Worcester said.

The community center project was among those that missed the cut for funding on West Linn’s latest biennial budget approved in 2013, which emphasized a more-with-less approach akin to shifting from a luxe Nordstrom atmosphere to the streamlined basics of Costco. As part of the budget cuts, the program coordinator position at the community center was also shifted from full to part time.

To learn more about the adult community center, visit

By Patrick Malee
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