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Residents fight to save Markham Home in Laurelhurst neighborhood

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Markham Home sits at NE Glisan St. and NE 32 Ave. in the gateway to the Laurelhurst Neighborhood. Some say the old Spanish-style building with a red roof is a jewel, but others call it an eyesore.

The house was built in 1911, and has fallen into disrepair over the years. Different owners left behind incomplete renovations with shoddy work, and parts of the building are now crumbling. Looking at the property, you can see the beauty in what it once was, but in all the years of neglect, the home has suffered.

Developer Peter Kusyk bought the place earlier this year. He considered restoring it, but decided it wouldn't be the best use of his resources, since much of the home is beyond repair. He came up with a new plan to demolish the house and build two new homes in its place. The building sits on a double lot, with plenty of room for two-family homes.

When neighbors found out about the plan, they rallied to save the home. Several people contacted John McCulloch, another developer who restores old properties in Portland. He and Kusyk worked out a deal that could save the Markham Home, but neighbors have to come up with some cash first.

McCulloch says the home is in such bad shape, it will cost him a million dollars to buy it from Kusyk and restore it. The house looks impressive from the curb, but it's only 1,500 square feet inside. McCulloch will have to remodel what's thereusing design elements that the builders would have used in 1911and add square footage to make it livable for a modern family.

To raise the money, McCulloch will match community contributions. For every $1 raised, he'll put up $20. To meet the million-dollar goal, supporters of the home need to collect $50,000 in a month.

They already have a good start.

Demolition was scheduled for Monday, September 22. The stakeholders agreed that if the community could raise $10,000 by then, the house wouldn't be torn down that day. Neighbors met that goal, but they have two more deadlines to meet.

Another $10,000 is due on October 6. That's earnest money for Kusyk. Then, he needs the remaining $30,000 by October 22. If the funds come through, Kusyk will sell the house to McCulloch, saving it from demolition.

Both developers say neighbors have every resource to meet their goals, if they work hard enough. Kusyk says he wants McCulloch to succeed in restoring the home, but if the community can't come up with the funds he's asking for, he'll move forward with his original plan to demolish it.

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