Here are some examples of buildings that fell through the cracks of Portland’s housing inspections programs. All have histories of safety and code violations that went years without city enforcement or correction by the landlords. Some have been, or still are, on an internal city no-rent list because of unresolved problems.


193 Congress Street

193 Congress St.

This 12-unit building has a long history of building code and life safety violations. It has been inspected eight times by firefighters since 2005 and violations ranged from problems with the fire sprinkler system to lack of a secondary exit. It has an eight-page history with code officers, including complaints about bedbugs and mold. No enforcement action was taken until August 2014, when inspectors discovered renovations being done without a permit.

“Electrical wires were obstructing egress in the hallways and from the units,” according to records from August. “The safety of the tenants was in immediate danger.”

The city ordered the building vacated.

As of November, it was listed on the city’s no-rent list – an internal catalog of properties that are deemed too unsafe for people receiving housing assistance through the city.


Some residents have been allowed back into the building and it has since been removed from the city’s no-rent list because the code issues are being addressed.

• 133-135 EMERY ST.

133-135 Emery Street

133-135 Emery St.

This six-unit apartment building in the West End is on the city’s no-rent list for subsidized housing because of life safety violations and a non-responsive landlord. However, apartments continue to be rented to non-subsidized tenants.

Complaints about plumbing issues, broken fire alarms and loose wiring were lodged and addressed in 2006, while an April 2011 inspection found smoke detectors not working and sparking outlets. City records indicate a small fire in the kitchen, likely caused by a junction box, in August 2011.

Fire department sends a formal notice of violations in November 2011 and finds continuing fire safety problems in 2013.

In June 2014, city notes live wires in basement, boiler installed with no venting and non-cooperative landlord. The building was placed on the no-rent list.



48 Wilmot Street

48 Wilmot St.

This 15-unit apartment building that sits just off Cumberland Avenue has an extensive history of code and life safety violations. As of November, it was listed on the city’s no-rent list for tenants with city rental vouchers, but other tenants were allowed to live there even though the building lacked the appropriate fire alarm systems and had overall “deplorable conditions.”

Complaints were lodged starting in 2007 about trash, lack of hot water and safety issues, such as rotted stairs. Fire code violations were noted in 2009 and records show a violations letter was sent in late 2013.

In January 2015, after an inspection revealed electrical panels and meters were wired incorrectly, property was posted against tenancy.

City officials said the building, along with other properties owned by the landlord, Steven Fowler, were removed from the no-rent list, because Fowler is now working with the city to fix the outstanding issues.

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