'Occupy Portland' seeks 1% office solution

'Occupy Portland' seeks 1% office solution

A social movement born in a park wants to rent offices from one of the city’s wealthiest investors — Joe Weston.

Occupy Portland on its website identified a small building in Northeast Portland owned by Weston’s real estate company as its potential future office.

Sarah Morrigan, who works in the Occupy Portland office (currently at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Southeast Portland) spotted the 462-square foot building at the corner of Northeast 13th and Couch streets and fell in love with its location and manageable size.

But irony of irony.

The little building at 1315 N.E. Sandy Blvd. is owned by one of Portland’s wealthiest residents. Weston is certainly not among the 99 percent of Americans the Occupy movement aims to represent.

The deal is by no means done.

American Property Management, Weston’s leasing arm, was surprised to hear of Occupy Portland’s interest.

Morrigan said Occupy Portland is looking into the lease terms and soliciting donations to cover rent and office equipment.

Morrigan acknowledges the irony of doing business with a wealthy real estate magnate. It should be noted, though, that Joe Weston has devoted much of his fortune to philanthropy through the Joseph E. Weston Foundation at the Oregon Community Foundation. He regularly contributes commercial assets to the foundation, raising millions for charity.

“It’s a pragmatic thing. I know it’s not going to make everybody happy,” Morrigan said.

She noted some Occupiers objected when it leased space at the church in the first place. That too was a pragmatic call.

“It was raining and we could not be having meetings in the park all the time,” she said.

I have a call in to Joe Weston for his thoughts on the unusual tenant. Watch this spot for an update.

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