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Gladstone set to purchase property on Portland Avenue

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The city of Gladstone is in the process of purchasing a nearly 2-acre parcel of land on Portland Avenue just north of Gladstone High School. Because of its proximity to the Gladstone Public Works building, the site, currently home to a group of small businesses, city officials say it's the ideal location for constructing a new police department.

But other factors paint a different picture.

SHOC Foundation

GOOGLE MAPS - Gladstone's planned property purchase includes Portland Avenue frontage, multiple commercial/retail tenants and a back lot used for RV/trailer storage.Bruce Hildreth, president of the Sherie Hildreth Ovarian Cancer Foundation, is unhappy about the sale of the property, because the site houses the Teal Ribbon Boutique, located at the SHOC Foundation Headquarters, at 18575 Portland Ave.

FILE PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - In this photograph from 2012, Sheryl Rourke and Ashley Hildreth welcomed shoppers to the Teal Ribbon Boutique in Gladstone.He said he has received his eviction notice and is packing up all the merchandize; at present there are no plans to relocate the boutique, which raised money to fund ovarian cancer research at OHSU.

“It is so upsetting how the city is going about this; [the process] was secretive and not well disclosed,” he said, adding that now he knows how the city feels about having a nonprofit in Gladstone.

His late wife, Sherie Hildreth, founded the organization that bears her name in 2004, after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She passed away in 2009, but Bruce Hildreth and daughter, Ashely Hildreth, have carried on her legacy.

The foundation opened an office at the Portland Avenue site in 2005, and the Teal Ribbon Boutique opened in July of 2012, taking its name from the teal colored ribbon that is the symbol of ovarian cancer awareness.

“We want to make ourselves more known in the community and provide a place for people who are our supporters to come and be connected with us on a regular basis,” Ashley Hildreth said in an earlier story.

But “the biggest reason is to bring exposure to the foundation and drive traffic to our headquarters,” she added.

“We have been in the same spot for 11 years and have put blood, sweat and tears [into it], and now we have to figure out what to do next,” Bruce Hildreth said.

Property sale

The Kmetic family bought the Portland Avenue site in June of 1986, but Lynne Kmetic has owned Hair Lines N' Design, a salon on the property, since 1982.

She confirmed that the city came to the family and offered them a purchase price just under $1 million; if the price had been over $1 million, the deal might have had to have been referred to the voters in Gladstone.

Due to a successful citizen-initiated ballot measure in 2012, the city has to ask voters to approve buildings that cost more than $1 million or use urban renewal funding. In November 2015, voters passed a ballot measure to authorize a new Gladstone City Hall estimated at $4 million and police station estimated at $7.2 million.

Kmetic indicated that the family did not really want to sell the property, but “we didn't have a choice. [That is what happens] when you deal with government entities.”

Bruce Hildreth said that a consultant for the city had declared the site a “blighted area,” and then the next step could have been eminent domain, where the city could have condemned the property, “forcing the landlords to sell.” He said that the city asked his landlord to print out and pass along a document that they titled "Release" on a piece of plain white copy paper. He gave it to his attorney for review because if he signed it, it would bind the SHOC Foundation from seeking any compensation for relocation.

According to a statement released by City Administrator Eric Swanson: “The city has expressed in a public meeting it has no plans to force a sale of the Kmetic property or use its eminent domain authority to acquire the property. The city has always understood the property owner would terminate the month-to-month tenancies in advance of a sale of the property to any buyer, the city or otherwise. For these reasons, the city does not believe it is obligated to provide relocation assistance to the tenants. However, the fact is the city has offered money to the tenants in the form of two month’s rent. Two of the tenants do not pay any monthly rent to the property owner, yet the city is offering those tenants money as well. We are awaiting confirmation from the property owner that the tenants have accepted the city’s offer.”

Kmetic noted that she has not yet even been able to give renters a final date when they have to vacate the property.

She added that she will be having to move her business to a different part of the Gladstone area.

Visit shocfoundation.org to support the SHOC Foundation.

This latest version of the story includes a statement from the city about the status of the property-sale negotiations. News Editor Raymond Rendleman contributed to this story. The Clackamas Review will continue to cover this story as it develops.