Portland sells Water House at more than $500,000 loss

PORTLAND, Ore. - Portland's Water Bureau has finally sold the city's infamous Water House on 1616 NE 140th Avenue, but city taxpayers wound up taking a bath on the sale.

Our news partners at Willamette Week reported the bureau sold the house on Saturday, Jan. 4 for $394,500. That's about $80,000 less than the city's original $475,000 asking price.

It's also more than $500,000 less than it cost the city, and taxpayers, to build. The house's building costs came in at about $940,000.

Former Water Bureau commissioner Randy Leonard had the 3-bedroom home built as part of a showcase for conservation. But the house has become a focal point for supporters of ballot initiatives to remove the Water Bureau from the city's control.

On Wednesday, the City Council approved a proposal to bring in the Citizen's Utility Board of Oregon to independently review the city's utility bureaus. Current Water Bureau Commissioner Nick Fish is in charge of the timelines for that review.