"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

Oregon, the commercial landlord

I’ll be writing more about this topic come the weekend, but an interesting tidbit emerged in research and it seemed worth sharing now.

In Idaho, there’s been some discussion and debate (and criticism, in places) of a relatively new state lands management effort that involves owning and managing, for profit, commercial property, such as storage buildings, apart from traditional endowment lands.

Oregon, it turns out, is doing something similar. A spokesman at the Oregon Department of State Lands had this to say today:

The answer is yes. In the past two and a half years, DSL has acquired two commercial properties and is actively seeking more. The first, acquired in 2010 from another state agency, is a former state motor pool in Eugene. It includes a parking lot with 135 spaces, and a couple of warehouse type buildings totaling about 7,000 s.f. The property is leased to a retailer in downtown Eugene which uses it primarily for free customer parking and paid employee parking, and storage. We anticipate future redevelopment of the property.

Earlier this year DSL acquired a 2 ½ year old light industrial property in Hillsboro outside of Portland, that is fully leased to four companies. We continue to seek revenue producing properties to increase our investment returns. To finance the acquisition, we are selling low or non-revenue producing properties. Our full strategy is outlined in the Real Estate Asset Management Plan adopted by the State Land Board in February 2012.

No immediate specific conclusion here whether this is right or wrong, but it seems worthy of discussion. – Randy Stapilus

ALSO: The department sent along an update via email, noting “we also own our headquarters building in Salem (built in 1991 I believe), and rent the second and third floors to other state-agency tenants.”

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