Neighbors raise $1.1 mil. to buy back historic mansion in NE Portland

The Ocobock Mansion in Northeast Portland was built in 1913. (KATU Photo)

They call it a labor of love. A handful of Northeast Portland neighbors raised enough money to save a historic home.

The sale of the Ocobock Mansion on Rodney Avenue is set to close Tuesday, August 16th and neighbors couldn't be happier.

Diana Moosman is one of the neighbors who came together to save the property. The group formed an LLC and late last week met with developer Vic Remmers from Everett Custom Homes. A deal was struck and Remmers accepted the offer of $1.1 million to sell the house back to the community.

"People felt very committed to this particular house," said Moosman.

The mansion was built in 1913. Many say it was a fixture of the African-American community. It became a foster home and eventually closed amid fraud and abuse charges.

But neighbors didn't want to lose it. After learning Remmers obtained a permit last month to demolish the house, they pooled enough money to make an offer.

"Everyone should know, you can band together and form and LLC and you can pull equity out your homes, a lot of Portlanders have it, if you've had your homes for awhile to do a project like that," said Moosman.

Other neighbors are concerned with how fast a home could be bought and almost torn down with little community input.

"This house is indicative of so much of what's happening here in Portland right now," said Matthew Breeze, "How do we keep our communities livable and have a public process. I'm happy to have infill, but it should happen in a way that's transparent."

Remmers responded to the deal in an email saying, "We completely understand concerns surrounding 5128 Rodney Ave and are happy to address any thoughts or questions from the community. As a team, we are dedicated to working with the surrounding neighborhood to make sure that our homes are a welcome addition. After meeting with members of the Rodney Ave neighborhood numerous times throughout this process, Everett Custom Homes is now in an agreement to sell this property to the community."

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