This picture goes way back, before the Loyalty Building was built. My Grandfather had a store on this corner from 1944 until 1966. The Loyalty Building (first called the Guardian Building) was the first acquisition for Melvin Mark when he arrived in Stumptown. He was sent here by an insurance carrier to work out the bankruptcy on the property, he ended up buying it. The Mark family have been one of Portland's best assets! Their reputation is flawless and they do so much for the arts and charity.
The Lake Oswego homebuilder fell victim to plummeting demand for new homes, which in turn spawned a series of lawsuits and foreclosures, including a $10.7 million judgment in Happy Valley against Buena Vista and its owner, Roger M. Pollock.
The company has been sued for defaulting on loans and for shoddy construction at a condominium it built in Southeast Portland. It also lost a series of semi-developed lots in Southwest Portland to foreclosure.
The Oregon Secretary of State’s office formally dissolved Buena Vista’s corporate registration on June 26, two months after it missed a deadline to submit its annual report and pay a $50 renewal fee, as required by state law. The company can renew its license by paying the fee and filing the report.
The company’s contractor’s license has also been suspended.
Buena Vista vacated its offices at the Oswego Business Suites, 311 B Ave., in March.
Attempts to reach Pollock and his attorney were unsuccessful.
Pollock launched Buena Vista late in 2002 with personal money. It was his second homebuilding venture. He’d sold RMP Properties D.R. Horton Homes Inc. in 1998 and launched Buena Vista as soon as a non-compete agreement expired.
Buena Vista catered to professionals with families and move-up buyers seeking new, large suburban homes. It was especially active in Happy Valley, which would end up being one of the hardest-hit markets in the Portland area when the residential meltdown came.
Buena Vista was an immediate success, posting $17.6 million in revenue in 2003, its first full year of operation. By 2006, revenue neared $150 million.
The company topped the Portland Business Journal’s 2005 list of Oregon’s fastest growing companies based on its staggering 12,899 percent increase in revenue between 2002 and 2004.
That same year, Builder Magazine recognized Buena Vista as the fastest-growing homebuilder in the U.S. and put Pollock on the cover of its September issue.
The company married its success with a commitment to philanthropy by forming Profit Partners to manage its charitable activities. In 2007, it donated $510,220 to Autism Treatment Center, a personal cause of the Pollock family.
Pollock also started work in 2006 on a new 21,000-square-foot corporate headquarters in downtown Lake Oswego. Shortly thereafter, the company’s financial fortunes reversed when the nation’s housing market collapsed.
By 2007, Buena Vista’s revenue dropped 42 percent to $86.65 million. Its headcount dropped more than half, to 17 workers.
Instead of moving to its new headquarters, Pollock put the building on the market, eventually leasing a portion of it to Legacy Health Services.
In late 2007 and early 2008, Pollock held two highly publicized home auctions at the Oregon Convention Center to clear out Buena Vista’s unsold inventory of 240 homes. Together, the auctions resulted in sales of 177 homes and 14 lots, and generated $75 million in revenue that the company earmarked to buy more land.
“The deals for build-ready lots are getting better and we will simply be in the best cash position of any builder in the market,” Pollock said in a March 11, 2008 press release following the second auction.
After the bubble
Buena Vista’s problems weren’t unique.
Renaissance Custom Homes, Legend Homes, Marnella Homes and Pacific Lifestyle, four of the city’s largest residential homebuilders, have each sought protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Marnella has exited bankruptcy and the remaining three are in the process of reorganizing.
Before there was TOYS R US, Stumptown kids had the Meier & Frank Toy Dept, and TOY LAND in Lloyd Center Mall. When Mom & Dad said "get in the car, were going to Lloyd's" the anticipation was high just thinking about getting a bag of Joe Browns Carmel Corn and stopping at Toy Land and assuming that Dad would fall for a few bucks to get a toy. Mom would be shopping at Meier & Frank, the boys would wander the mall. To end the evening, maybe a stop at Ireland's or even better The Hippopotamus. Wonderful times in Stumptown. Now you go to Lloyd Center and fear for your car to still be in the lot when you leave...or your life, not exactly in that order!
In 1927, Warner Brothers captured the imagination of the movie-going public with the release of the "Jazz Singer"...While not the first movie to employ sound, The Jazz Singer was the first film release to use synchronized sound for dialog and music. Its success was amazing and the future of making going to the movies was here. No theater could afford to not install this new state of the art sound system. The Helig located on Broadway & Taylor (later in years the Mayfair & Fox) quickly transformed themselves for the new innovation that was the talk of the town! The Helig sat 1,500 patrons and had months of countless sell outs. The Helig served Stumptown not only as a movie house (as they were called then) but also for live plays and opera. It is so sad that these palaces have been torn down and replaced by stores like Marios! How mournful is that?
My favorite restaurant of all time in Stumptown was Henry Ford's on Barbur Blvd. When it closed due to the property being sold for a condo development, the old haunt was dearly missed. The rumor circulating around town is that a new "Ford's" is going to open soon. Brian Ford ran a great show above Barbur Blvd serving the best pork chops with apple sauce, candied carrots, home made biscuits, and of course the famous signature ice cold crisp salad topped with Ford's secret dressing. The minute Brian Ford let's the location out of the bag, you will hear it first on the Stumptown Blog.