PDC mishandles Centennial Mills


The Portland Development Commission’s handling of Centennial Mills with LAB Holding, the firm chosen to develop the site, has been marked with confusion and finger-pointing. A conflict of interest may be to blame.

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The Portland Development Commission’s handling of Centennial Mills with LAB Holding, the firm chosen to develop the site, has been marked with confusion and finger-pointing. A conflict of interest may be to blame.

Key to the kerfuffle is Scott Andrews, chair of the PDC’s board of commissioners. Andrews also serves as president of Melvin Mark Properties, part of Melvin Mark Companies, whose food market and office development project gained momentum at the same time that developer LAB Holding’s culinary-themed Centennial Mills project was derailed. 

June 30 marked the expiration of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between PDC and LAB Holding, which was picked in 2008 to redevelop the historic, 4.75 acre property that sits on the west side of the Willamette River. LAB’s plan for the space included restaurants, market space, and educational facilities geared towards celebrating the area’s agricultural and culinary heritage.

In the months following the collapse of the redevelopment project, the relationship between PDC and LAB Holding has disintegrated to the point that LAB has considered suing.

The situation is complicated by the fact that another similar development project is being run by a firm in which the top PDC official serves as president.

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