The City has posted the apartment building located at 592 Washington Avenue against occupancy. Some of the violations include blocked exits, unsafe wiring, excessive storage (fire load) inside and outside, cockroach infestation, and illegal units. The building is currently being used beyond its permitted legal use.
Following an evaluation of the property with officials from the City’s Inspections Division and Fire Prevention Bureau, it was revealed that the structure fails to comply with several aspects of City, State, and Life Safety (Fire) codes.
The residential dwelling units are unfit for human habitation and have now been ordered to remain vacant until the violations are corrected with and according to the proper building permits. City inspectors delivered the posting notice on Friday, July 17th, along with staff from Social Services to assist the tenants. There was a family of eight living on the first floor and the owner and owner’s son living on the second.
“It’s certainly not our goal to displace residents, but when the violations are serious enough to warrant it, we must take action because their safety is what matters most,” said Jon Jennings, Portland City Manager. “Following the Council’s recent approval to create the new Housing Safety Office, which enacts the Task Force’s recommendations, staff has been developing a risk-based prioritization tool for inspections and public information. While this work is not yet complete, we do know that this property would score high, underscoring its importance.”
Tenants may not return until further notice from the City. A re-inspection of the property will occur on July 24th to verify that the building is secure and vacant.
The City’s Corporation Counsel’s Office intends to pursue legal action against the property owner, including injunctive relief and civil penalties.