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Neighbors fight to save 122-year-old house

A Google executive who bought a 122-year-old house in Portland plans to raze the house and build a brand new one on the same site.

Kevin Rose paid full price — $1.3 million — in cash for the Northwest Portland home built in 1892. He always planned to renovate it, he reportedly said, but realized he was in over his head.

Steve Wilson, the realtor who sold it to Rose, told KOIN 6 News he doesn’t think the house is in bad enough shape to warrant it being torn down.

“I would say the house is in above-average condition,” Wilson said.

Neighbor Steve McCarthy said he had a favorable impression when he met Rose.

“He and his wife were here for the Easter egg hunt and they were extremely personable,” he said. “Everybody liked them.”

“My husband went up and asked directly, hey, what are your plans for the house, because our concern is that lot,” said another neighbor, Nora Lehnhoff. “She said, we didn’t have any plans.”

But when a demolition permit was granted by the city, it irked neighbors who don’t want to see a new home built.

“There’s a feeling that this is not in keeping with what this neighborhood has been and what it is still being,” McCarthy said.

Lehnhoff added, “We don’t get veto power, but the neighbors should’ve had some change to weigh in on what that place means here.”

Realtor Wilson said Rose asked for and got $14,000 worth of dry rot and sewer repair as part of the agreement.

“So it’s kind of shocking that as they got into it further, their opinion is it’s in much worse condition than they thought it was,” Wilson said.

More than 1,700 people already signed a petition to save the century-old house. They hope city regulations would back them up.

“C’mon, city government,” Lehnhoff said, “let’s get consistent here.”

For his part, Rose has offered to sell the house back to the previous owner — for an extra $75,000.