Tag: Fire

Post Fire Rebuilding on SE 84th Ave

In February 2022, a fire consumed the second story of the 100-year-old home at 1502 SE 84th Avenue. Now the owners are rebuilding from the ground up, trying to complete a project they started a year ago. Eventually, the site will support a two-story house and a pair of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU).

Julie Lais and Levi Lais bought the 1919-era home in early January 2022, intending to refresh the old craftsman house. The building sat atop an unfinished basement, and the property included a detached garage. This additional space offered the couple space for two ADUs that would provide income for the family. Their children attend school within blocks of the house, and this location would have met their desire for a classic Portland home in a walkable community. As a licensed Oregon real estate broker, Julie Lais recognized the quality of this home with its fir floors, hand-crafted built-ins, and leaded glass windows. “It’s a really sweet house that you could tell had been loved for a few decades, even though it was a rental prior to us purchasing it,” said Lais.

House prior to fire from Google Maps

However, a month into cleanup work at the house, an electrical fault changed the couple’s plan. “In February, while we were still doing some cosmetic updates, there was a bathroom fan that we believe was the source of the fire,” explained Lais. Flames spread throughout the top floor and began burning through to the main level when Portland firefighters arrived on the scene. The fire crews extinguished the flames, but smoke and water damage destroyed everything else, leaving nothing to salvage. Fortunately, the asbestos siding kept the fire contained to the inside of the structure. No one was living in the home yet, but they had insurance. However, the Lais family would soon discover the shortfall of insurance coverage.

A slow insurance payout delayed rebuilding for the better half of a year without compensation for lost funds. This location was not the Lais family’s primary residence at the time of the fire, so a loss of use coverage would not apply to this incident. Insurance would have covered lost rent if it had been a rental for at least six months, but the house was vacant and new to the couple. It was unfortunate timing, leaving them responsible for all the bills without support. “We’ve just been paying the mortgage on the hole in the ground,” said Lais. Now that they have received the insurance money, they realize it’s insufficient to recreate the lost house. “You can’t rebuild with what the insurance company will give you,” explained Julie Lais. Crews will construct the replacement house with contemporary building materials and modern finishes to stay within budget, losing the classic craftmanship of the older home.

Elevations for new house at 1502 SE 84th Avenue courtesy Julie Lais

The new house will recreate the prevues layout of the first floor with a similar large front porch. They chose to update the second floor’s arrangement and build taller walls supporting a higher ceiling. Modern building standards required a new foundation for the basement. That space will remain unfinished. Eventually, it will host a one-bedroom apartment after the Lais family financially recovers from this current project. The detached garage will also support a one-bedroom, one-bathroom ADU. The detached garage is the last part of the original property and will remain on-site with a new purpose.

276 E 84th Street – Sanborn Map 1924

Although the demolition of the old home created a sense of loss for the Lais family, the support of the local community was helpful during a difficult time. “We have met many neighbors in the process, and they have all been very kind and encouraging,” said Julie Lais. Construction plans for the site have changed due to the fire, but they are trying to get back on track. They anticipate keeping the property but may rent it out instead of moving in. It is undecided. “Everybody has a plan until their house burns down,” remarked Levi Lais.

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Summer Fires Potentially Linked to Mt Tabor Arson

Three individuals suspected of committing arson in Mt. Tabor park last summer face charges related to fires started in Montavilla. Sophie Peel’s Willamette Week article outlines a series of offenses revealed by the Multnomah County grand jury indictment of the accused. In some cases, these incidents caused significant damage and loss of property.

Together, the three 18-year-olds face 14 charges, including three counts of arson in the first degree, six counts of arson in the second degree, four counts of reckless burning, and one count of unlawful possession of a destructive device. However, the sole Montavilla resident in the group of defendants received the brunt of the blame. He stands accused of all 14 charges, while his purported accomplices face only two counts.

Shed fire at Harrison Park August 10th, 2022

An infographic in the Willamette Week article lists ten incidents, with seven in Montavilla. It includes a Creative Science School mattress and vegetation fire, a box truck fire at SE Hawthorne and SE 85th Avenue, a dumpster fire near 8827 SE Division Street, and a fire next to 8316 SE Taylor Street. Also among the more severe damage listed is a shed fire inside Harrison Park and an abandoned structure fire at 2336 SE 92nd Avenue. The article did not include the portable toilet fire at Harrison Park, as it appears not to be part of the indictment. However, some area residents believe the fire is related, having occurred around the same time as the shed fire.

Accessory structure fire at 2336 SE 92nd Avenue

According to a September 12th, 2022, statement by Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt’s office, the accused individuals “each admitted to involvement in starting the fires” at Mt. Tabor Park during a Portland Police interview. These recent charges include only one criminal event from the initial questioning, with the majority of arson charges occurring in Montavilla. After the investigative focus on the three suspects, the number of malicious fires in the neighborhood dropped substantially, and residential angst about this issue subsided. This indictment should provide closure to several concerning incidents from last year.

Portable toilet fire at Harrison Park Summer, 2022

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Apartment Fire on Burnside

Just before noon today, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) responded to a fire in the Hartzog & Bristol Apartments at 9205 E Burnside Street. The fire started inside a second-story unit with limited spread to other residences. The two-alarm fire is now under control.

Observers noticed smoke coming from the roof of an apartment in the complex and notified 911 around 11:46 AM on November 16th. By 12:04 PM, fire crews closed NE 92nd Place from E Burnside to NE Everett. No injuries from the fire were reported. Crews are cleaning up now, and some residents have already returned to their apartments in the affected building. The quick response of PF&R limited the fire’s spread and minimized property loss. 

Two Vehicle Crash on 78th And Burnside

UPDATE – 3:35 All roads are clear of large debris and open to traffic again.

E Burnside Street is closed at 78th Ave after a two-vehicle crash. At 2:45 PM, a car and pickup collided in the intersection, flipping the truck and its two passengers completely over. The truck landed upright on SE 78th Ave, where it caught fire. Portland Fire & Rescue responded by 2:53 PM, extinguishing the fire and providing medical aid to the injured.

All people involved in the crash were able to walk away from the accident. Expect traffic delays on E Burnside Street and 78th Ave while crews clear the crash debris and tow the disabled vehicles.

Fire Damaged Building’s Demolition

Today, crews began tearing down the fire-damaged building located at 408 SE 79th Ave. Once the home of Portland Garment Factory, the building suffered complete devastation at the hands of an arsonist. Much of the wood structure burned away in the fire, leaving the unreinforced masonry walls ready to collapse. Demolition experts are addressing the tallest sections of the building first, working their way down and forward.

The fire broke out in the early morning of April 19th and burned for hours. Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) responded to reports of a fire around 3:30 AM. The two-story commercial building is surrounded on both sides by parking lots, preventing the fire from spreading. On April 20th PF&R filed a Dangerous Building report stating that the “exterior walls [are] at risk of collapse.” Soon residents observed the back wall’s separation from the southern side of the building.

The full extent of the demolition process is unknown and may only address hazardous sections of the structure. Built 90 years ago for the Montavilla ice factory, the building underwent many alterations over the decades. Compared to the back two-story portion, the single-story part of the building is constructed out of concrete and suffered only minor structural damage during the fire. However, the cost of salvaging half the building could be unjustified and challenging to reuse.

Look for continued demolition of the building over the next few weeks. The final repurposing of the property is likely years away and may be dependent on a future tenant’s ambitions.

back wall’s separation

UPDATE – Added demolition progress pictures. May 20th, 2021.

UPDATE – Added demolition progress pictures. May 21st, 2021. Back wall is halfway demolished.

UPDATE – May 24th, 2021. Heavy equipment is onsite and working its way into the buildings core. Demolition will progress more quickly in the coming days.

UPDATE – Added demolition progress pictures. May 26th, 2021

UPDATE – Added demolition progress pictures. May 27th, 2021

UPDATE – Added demolition progress pictures. May 28th, 2021

Fire Destroys Garment Factory

A fire broke out early morning at the Portland Garment Factory located at 408 SE 79th Ave. The 1931 era building suffered a complete structural collapse of its wood structure. The masonry portion of the building remains intact, but the building’s internal structure is a total loss. Representatives from Paul Davis Restoration, who are securing the site, indicated that the whole building is likely unsalvageable and requires demolition.

Portland Fire & Rescue responded to reports of a fire around 3:30 AM Monday. They found the building engulfed in flames and worked to contain the fire from spreading. The two-story commercial building is surrounded on both sides by parking lots. A single-story building on SE 80th abuts the rear wall of the Garment Factory. Damage to that building is not apparent.

Portions of SE Stark Street, SE 80th Ave, and SE 79th Ave are closed while fire crews continue to monitor the extinguished fire and prevent flare-ups. A GoFundMe donation page was established to help Portland Garment Factory rebuild their business ( https://gofund.me/19ab100f ).

Stark Street blocked by fire crews.

UPDATE – Building demolition begins on May 19th, 2021.

Fire Repairs Approved on SE Stephens

With permit 21-002341 now approved, work can proceed at 8923 SE Stephens Street. Crews recently replaced the roof and covered the exterior walls in house wrap ahead of siding installation. The 1953 era home caught fire two years ago, remaining uninhabitable and empty until now.

Soon new windows will seal off the structure from the elements, allowing interior restorations to begin. The proposed work will retain the original floor plan of the single-story home. When completed, this property will appear completely new. Only small elements of the original house will remain visible. It is unknown if the property will be listed for sale after the repairs are complete.

Fire Damage Repair on Main

Crews are at work replacing the fire-damaged roof of a one-story apartment complex on SE Main Street. The fire from April 2nd last year rendered two units unusable. Once new roofing protects the space below, interior work on the apartments will restore the building to its former condition.

The fire started in the early morning of April 2nd, 2020. Crews responded quickly and contained the fire to just two units. First responders transported one resident to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Damage from the fire displaced four residents.

The apartment, located at 8019-8039 SE Main Street, remained tarp-covered for the better part of a year. Approved last December, permit 20-186335 seeks to repair structural damage to the roof and replace damaged sheetrock in the two units. “Fire damage repair at units 8029 and 8031, replace (14) roof rafters, roof sheathing, roofing, and interior sheetrock.”

Restoration of these 1960 era apartments will return two more one-bedroom units to the Montavilla area. The lesser damaged residence at 8031 SE Main Street is already available to rent ahead of project completion. Expect to see exterior work conclude by the end of the month.

Tarp covered units before work began
Second day of roofing work

Rebuilding Fire Damaged Home on SE Stephens

Repairs to the single-story house at 8923 SE Stephens Street are underway after suffering severe fire damage. The 1953 era home caught fire two years ago and has reminded boarded up until this month. Fire damaged material is now removed, and work to restore the structure is waiting on permit approvals.

At 2:28 AM on January 13th, 2019, a fire started in the home’s kitchen area. The one occupant escaped the flames and smoke coming from the residence with minor injuries. First responders transported that person to a local hospital for treatment. According to the Portland Fire and Rescue report, crews had the fire under control by 2:48 AM. That report estimated damage to the home at $200,000.

Yesterday, repair crews submitted permit 21-002341 after removing siding, windows, and interior wall coverings the previous week. Work proposed in this permit application will only replace the windows and siding of the building. Other permits for electrical and plumbing will come at a later date.

Based on current plans, the building will be rebuilt with the same footprint and internal layout as it previously had. With the structure stripped down to the studs, the interior will be completely new. After a long time, nearby residents are happy to see this house restored to its former appearance and show signs of life again.

Fire on SE 76th Near Burnside

Portland Fire and Rescue extinguished a fire inside a duplex on SE 76th Ave. Crews had the fire under control by 11:33 AM today. Only a single room inside the back unit caught fire, and no injuries occurred.

The impacted duplex is located at 18 SE 76th Ave and accessed from a narrow driveway. Fire department vehicles parked on both SE 76th Ave and E Burnside Street. At least four fire engines and three support vehicles responded to the fire. Crews containing the fire broke a second-story window, adding to the smoke, fire, and water damage.

This duplex is adjacent to a two-story apartment building. The fast action from fire crews limited damage to the structure and surrounding buildings.