Eminent Domain and the Sellwood Bridge

Right hand Riverpark townhouse under deconstruction to make way for the new Sellwood BridgeLet’s start with a disclaimer: this is not legal advice.  If you have an eminent domain question or issue, contact an attorney.

Eminent domain in its simplest form is the government’s right to take private property with just compensation regardless of whether the owner wants to sell or not.  If the government can’t reach an agreement with the owner to voluntarily sell they may proceed with what is essentially a compensated eviction.  If the property is a business, there may also be monetary consideration for that.  ExpertLaw has a more thorough definition of eminent domain.

We don’t know the exact circumstances of how the transaction was completed, but we do know that the southern most townhouse of the Riverpark Condominiums is a victim of the Sellwood Bridge Project:

The contractor has begun work to demolish the southernmost townhouse at Riverpark Condominiums on the north side of the bridge. The interior will be demolished first, then the exterior siding and windows will be removed. The exterior structure will be deconstructed in July. The structure is being removed to make room for the detour bridge and the new bridge.

PorlandMaps shows “Multnomah County/Transportation Division” as the owner of the property and a Warranty Deed transfer price of $600,000 in June of last year.   There are no recently sold Riverpark townhouses in RMLS but the two most recently canceled listings were $399,500 and $425,000 (in 2009 and values have dropped across the Portland real estate market since then).  Not all the units are identical so we’d expect some variation and the south facing end unit may very well have been the most desirable but we have to wonder if there city paid a $200,000 premium for the property???

The bridge project is slated to be competed in 2015.


2 Comments on “Eminent Domain and the Sellwood Bridge

  1. Could some of that money be covering the future HOA funds that will no longer be contributed by the missing town home? This would be easier to decipher if it was a detached home.

  2. That’s an interesting concept. Could be but I expect that wouldn’t be a part of the transfer deed.

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