Something sure stinks in Portland’s Pearl District! Oregon’s Finest, a boutique dispensary and 2017 DOPE Cup winner for “Best Store Location,” finds themselves in a fight for their turf as real estate developer Killian Pacific attempts to kick them out of their lease over what anonymous complainants have deemed an offensive smell.
Killian Pacific has a long rap sheet. The out-of-state developer has been accused of destroying historic Old Portland using back-door methods; half a dozen articles from publications such as Portland Monthly, OregonLive.com and the NW Examiner expressly detail the dirty tricks these folks have employed in the past. It’s no surprise that a vulnerable business like a cannabis retailer would be an easy target. Although the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that cannabis smell cannot be legally declared “offensive,” the battle rages on. We had the chance to sit down with Troy Moore, one of the co-owners of Oregon’s Finest, to hear their side of the story.
DOPE Magazine: Tell us the history of Oregon’s Finest.
Troy Moore: Our Pearl District location was the first licensed medical dispensary in the state. Prior to that, we were a medical cannabis resource center; we started with the intent to showcase the best growers in the state under one roof. Over the years we’ve evolved into much more than that. Now, with two locations, our mission is to simply promote health through the finest cannabis.
What has your journey been like?
A wild ride! From medical OHA [Office of Health Affairs] rules, to recreational OLCC [Oregon Liquor Control Commission] regulation, and now to this oversaturated market. It’s been a rollercoaster that has made us wanna puke at every turn.
So what’s changed?
Nothing for the better. Now we have to deal with [a] landlord that wants to dupe us out of our lease, because it’s holding up the rebuild of their property.
Can you elaborate on that?
It’s actually been going on for quite some time. About a year after we moved in, they realized they couldn’t sell the building because the potential buyer couldn’t get financing with a cannabis business in it—so they offered to “move” us. When they realized you can’t just “move” a dispensary that easily because of zoning laws, then came the first smell compliant. Shortly after that complaint we got an eviction notice. We then decided to hire an attorney, who helped us stop the eviction—which cost us about $25,000 in attorney fees and HVAC upgrades. All was quiet after that until Killian Pacific bought the property, and the news came they were gonna tear down the building . . . first came a massive rent increase—more than double. Clearly being unfair in hopes that we would just leave. We started in with attorneys again, and are currently still negotiating the ridiculous rent increase of 238 percent. Then came new smell complaints . . . and shortly after, a 48-hour eviction notice.
So what’s next for the store?
We are headed to mediation next month. We’re hopeful we come to an agreement to at least finish out our lease.
Are you eyeing another area?
We’re always eyeing another spot. We’d love nothing more than to be a great tenant for a fair and honest landlord.
Oregon’s Finest isn’t the only source of dubious smell complaints. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite odor-related mishaps.
Sriracha Gotcha: Over 60 odor complaints filed in 2013 regarding the Huy Fong Foods factory— makers of Sriracha, the popular condiment—in Irwindale, California, were found to be coming from only a handful of homes. Maybe they prefer ketchup?
Down in the Dumps: It’s bad enough to have to use a port-o-potty—imagine never being able to escape the smell. Pacific, Washington, residents have filed a complaint against Northwest Cascade, a company that stores and cleans Honey Buckets. Yes, those Honey Buckets.
Not So Sweet: Neighbors of the Bay City Michigan Sugar Company may need a spoonful of something else to help their medicine go down. Noxious odors from the factory have resulted in nearly 800 complaints to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
Opposite of a Problem: On January 2, 2013, a complainant told the California Department of Public Health that “the air quality in [my] neighborhood smells like syrup.”
What a Twist!: Another gem from the CDPH’s odor complaint records. A caller noted an “air/odor complaint” against a retirement community on April 18, 2013. The CDPH worker notes, however, that “the complainant may be fictitious.”