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Developer Marty Kehoe says the county just gave him 45 more days to evaluate never-opened jail before buying it.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP FILE PHOTO - Multnomah County officials have given a potential buyer more time to consider what he would do with Wapato Jail. A deadline to make a deal loomed as the buyer was considering options to redevelope the property.Less than five hours before the deadline for developer Marty Kehoe to commit to buying Wapato jail for $10.8 million, Multnomah County has given him 45 more days to evaluate the property.

Kehoe had asked for an extension of the 5 p.m. Feb. 7 deadline to complete due diligence, the portion of a real estate sale in which a prospective buyer can investigate the property for hidden costs and risks.

"We just need more time to work with our engineers and architects to figure out the economics of developing the porperty for our uses," Kehoe said.

Shortly before 1 p.m., the county sent Kehoe a document signed by Chair Deborah Kafoury giving him until 5 p.m. March 26 instead.

Kafoury, in an email, wrote that "Multnomah County spent more than a decade shopping this jail with the Oregon Department of Corrections and other counties and agencies for use as a jail. When no one wanted it, we turned to the public. I remain optimistic that we'll be able to finalize this sale and return value to taxpayers. And when we do, that money will go to housing people in this community. I'm looking forward to working with my fellow board members on that plan."

Without the extension, Kehoe would have had to forfeit a $200,000 deposit he'd given the county. He also would have had to immediately pay $300,000 in additional non-refundable funds. Kehoe rejected the idea that the lack of non-redundable payment to the county reflects poorly on his level of interest.

"I am very serious about this," Kehoe said, adding that other family members were prepared to invest if the economics of the sale worked. Given the complexity of the Wapato facility, he said the 90-day due diligence period originally agreed to was "very optimistic."

"The 45-day extension that they've given us makes it more probable that we can eliminate all the variables and make the transaction work."

To read a previous Portland Tribune story on the issue, go to portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/385961-275179-deadline-looms-for-wapato-buyer-to-commit

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