Local economy gets sustainable spark from Metalwood Salvage real estate transaction
With an assist from Michael DeMarco and the 42nd Avenue Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative, a “maker” movement of designers, manufacturers and traditional artisans continues to gain ground in the Cully neighborhood.
On January 28, Eric Bohne, of Metalwood Salvage and Alter Areas Design and Carpentry, purchased the 34,000-square-foot property surrounding the retail shop at 4311 N.E. Prescott, that he and Roxanne Mautino have leased for two and a half years to run their salvage, design and construction businesses.
“Michael DeMarco showed us the shop when we first looked for space for Metalwood,” said Bohne. “He’s made time for us and supported us throughout our journey. We’re lucky to have him and his organization active in the neighborhood as our business district grows and evolves.”
“Having community-based businesses gain security by owning their space is a primary goal of ours, so we’re very excited for Eric, Roxanne and Metalwood Salvage,” said DeMarco, Our 42nd Avenue’s district manager. “What’s even more important is how they have grown their business and cultivated this opportunity by building relationships with the former property owner and the broader community.”
Bohne purchased the property from family-owned C&L Custom Kitchens and Baths, a business that had operated in the space since 1957. The plan was originally for Metalwood to continue to lease more space as the C&L business was winding down. Instead, the family offered to sell and Bohne immediately accepted.
“The C&L family have been great,” said Bohne. “They really want us to succeed and have done everything they possibly could to make the purchase go smoothly.”
In addition to Metalwood’s retail space at the southwest corner of the lot, the property includes a 7000-square-foot shop, three residential homes and a large grassy area. The residential structures will remain for now and no one is being displaced or priced out of their homes.
“My hope is to keep the current tenants in their homes. The rents are below market value, but we have some ideas I hope everyone can get behind to make it work,” said Bohne. “The property may be redeveloped at some point, but for now we like what we’re doing, we like the tenants and we like the way it feels.”
The shop building is roughly divided into two 3000-square-foot spaces. Metalwood and Alter Areas will occupy one of those spaces and the other will be leased to Craig MackIntosh of ClampCraft and Eric Campbell of Revolution Latheworks.
MackIntosh’s ClampCraft is a design/build operation that specializes in fine-art furniture, installations, custom interiors, carpentry and cabinetry.
“Making things, for me, is both a livelihood and a compulsion,” said MackIntosh. “All the challenges in my work provide special moments of discovery and reward. I’m excited to team up with Eric and Roxanne and share our talents and resources. I believe Cully is going to shore-up its future as an industrious neighborhood and it should be valued for that and preserved.”
With Latheworks, Campbell designs and builds custom, heirloom-quality furniture, and delivers a variety of unique pieces, decorative items, components and replications. With more space on hand, Cambell hopes to launch a series of wood-turning classes for Veterans that will offer an introduction to the craft.
Additional flex-space and opportunities for makers could become available – and the space offers an extensive tool collection and commercial spray booth.
“We’re very supportive of the makers here in Cully,” said Bohne. “It’s what we do, so we’re happy to have our neighborhood putting an emphasis on the importance of building and buying local. Portland has a national reputation as a creative city, and we’re living that reputation every day by providing raw materials and one-of-a-kind, finished products at affordable prices. We’re looking forward to working with the other businesses in our space. We want to support them and collectively offer something great for this community and Portland as a whole.”
Bohne and Mautino live nearby in Cully. Bohne has a background in construction – designing, fabricating and installing furniture and architectural elements for residential and commercial clients. Mautinio has a background in marketing, sales and business management. Bohne and Mautino met while Metalwood was leasing a small space to sell salvage items at the Vintage Vendors shop on Northeast 28th and Sandy, where Mautino was a manager.
“I grew up in a family of artisan builders who used salvaged materials,” said Bohne.
“I learned to use lots of tools and work with these materials at a young age. I worked a few years for a residential and commercial contracting company and then started doing my own projects. I gravitated towards using recycled materials right away. I started Alter Areas and integrated salvaged wood and metal in my work. I was always looking for interesting objects to work with. One of the large metal scrap yards in Portland used to let people in really early on Saturday mornings to pick through the enormous piles of scrap before the workers arrived. I went every Saturday, even in the winter, with a flashlight in the rain. I’d buy as much as I could fit in my station wagon and strapped even more to the top. I looked like a scrap truck going the wrong direction. There were so many usable materials, I had to find a way to save more of it. That’s how the idea of Metalwood Salvage came to be.”
Metalwood continues to intercept usable and unique metal from the scrap industry. They process that material and convert it into furniture, fixtures for lighting, eclectic art, and other custom pieces. They also offer repair services and can install custom creations.
“Production and manufacturing space is endangered in Portland commercial districts, but these spaces are critical to diverse, robust community economies,” said DeMarco. “In addition to achieving security for Metalwood, Eric and Roxanne are helping ensure other production businesses can stay and thrive here on 42nd Avenue.”
Strategic grants and additional assistance with due-diligence from Our 42nd Avenue – including help with the decommissioning of an old oil tank – helped to defray some of Bohne’s pre-development and pre-purchase costs. The neighborhood prosperity initiative also signed on as primary tenant for the extra space and helped to coordinate the sub-leasing.
“They really helped us to squeeze a dime out of a nickel,” said Bohne.
Plans for the grassy space at the front of the property are evolving, but Bohne and Mautinio are leaning toward a weekly “makers” flea market that could “cross-pollinate” with the Cully Farmer’s Market nearby.
To learn more about Metalwood’s plans and how you can participate, call (503) 715-5432 or visit www.metalwoodsalvage.com. The retail space at the front of the property is open Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Plans are in place to expand hours to seven days a week by June. For more information on ClampCraft or Revolution Latheworks visit www.clampcraft.com or www.revolutionlatheworks.com.