A lawyer representing opponents of the sale of Water Bureau property in Southwest Portland is challenging the legality of the contract with Renaissance Homes.

Kristian Roggendorf sent a nine-page letter to Commissioner Nick Fish on Dec. 31 arguing that the sale violates state law, the City Charter, and the ordinance approved by the City Council that authorized it.

Roggendorf is demanding that the sales contract be voided, and says that her clients — which include residents living near the property and others — may sue the city if it is not.

"There simply is no valid contract in existence here, and the City must not go through with the sale," Roggendorf says in the letter.

Roggendorf gives the city until Jan. 17 to respond. The sale is scheduled to be completed by Jan. 31.

Fish, who is in charge of the water bureau, has been arguing that the city cannot break the contract with Renaissance Homes without opening itself up to legal liability. Ironically, Fish was absent when the council authorized the sale in June 2010 or when the contract was signed October 2012. Mayor Charlie Hales assigned him the bureau in early 2103.

The 0.72-acre parcel that holds the decommissioned Freeman Water Tank is located at 8711 S.W. 42nd Ave. It is adjacent to several homes and a natural area owned by the city and Metro.

Roggendorf cites several reasons why the contact is not legal in his letter. Among other things, she says the property was not adequately advertised and the sales price of $140,000 is well below its appraised value of $240,000 and actual value, based on recent property sales in Southwest Portland.

Contract Publishing

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