The two-family building at 592 Washington Ave. has long been a troubled property for the city of Portland.

It appears on an internal city list of properties with so many violations or life safety issues that the city will not send General Assistance recipients there. Last May, a police SWAT team converged on the house, which is surrounded by a chain-link fence and has a sign reading “private property, no trespassing,” and arrested a resident on a charge of aggravated trafficking of crack cocaine.

And it recently became one of the first Portland apartment buildings to be upgraded in response to a new enforcement crackdown by the city’s Fire Department and legal office.

On July 17, a city inspector went to 592 Washington Ave. to follow up on a complaint about trash on the property.

He found a cockroach infestation throughout the building, excess trash, plastic bags and debris. He also found safety violations, including unfinished and loose lighting fixtures, exposed wires throughout the property, smoke detectors either not in place or missing batteries, and blocked exits. And on top of that, he determined there was an illegal unit in the two-family building.

That same day, the city mailed and hand-delivered a notice to the property owner and posted the building against occupancy.


But the city took an additional step under the new enforcement regime. A captain in the city’s fire prevention bureau issued a summons for the owner, Isley Lamour, to appear less than a month later in District Court to answer charges on three fire-safety violations.

Lamour could not be reached for comment.

However, the threat of a pending court date prompted Lamour to work with the city to fix most of the violations, according to Adam Lee, associate corporation counsel with the city.

“We are finding that in order to comply with code and avoid the court process, people are quickly establishing a plan of action with the Fire Department,” Lee said.

According to Lee, a follow-up inspection on July 24 found some progress, but not enough to allow residents to return. As of July 27, smoke detectors were in place, although not interconnected, and trash had been cleared away. The city then allowed tenants to return.

The case remained on the city’s court docket until all violations were fixed. On Sept. 14, the case was dismissed.

“At long last, the life safety violations have been corrected,” Lee told the judge.

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