Island Blues: Hayden’s Thunderbird Hotel Faces Million-Dollar Tax Storm!

The Thunderbird hotel on Hayden Island, once a prominent establishment, now finds itself entangled in financial troubles as the owning company grapples with an outstanding property tax bill exceeding $1 million. Multnomah County’s Assessment & Taxation department revealed that the unpaid taxes extend back to 2008, accumulating to a staggering total of $1,123,801.02, including accrued interest.

Having been an integral part of the Hayden Island landscape since its construction in 1971, the Thunderbird hotel underwent changes in ownership over the years. Originally under the ownership of Red Lion Hotels, Inc., it was later sold to Doubletree DTWC in 2002. In 2004, Thunderbird Hotel LLC took ownership, and since 2005, the Thunderbird on the River Hotel has remained vacant, contributing to the financial challenges faced by its owning entity.

Property tax records indicate that the mailing address associated with the Thunderbird hotel is 909 N. Hayden Island Dr., care of Howard Dietrich Jr., a well-known local investor. Interestingly, Howard Dietrich Jr. also owns the Red Lion Hotel on the River, located at the same address, which is reported to be current on property taxes, according to Joan Gross from Multnomah County.

The financial strain faced by the Thunderbird hotel has come to light following a destructive fire that occurred just before 3 a.m. on a recent Sunday. Ron Rouse, spokesperson for Portland Fire & Rescue, reported damages totaling $5 million, marking the incident as Portland’s most significant fire since 2002. The fire, which destroyed six buildings on the multi-acre property, has prompted a thorough investigation involving nearly 30 investigators, including personnel from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The extensive property poses challenges for investigators seeking to determine the cause of the fire. Ron Rouse mentioned that chemists and specially trained dogs would be deployed to assist in the inquiry, underlining the complexity of the investigation. As investigators delve into the wreckage, the process is anticipated to take several days, if not weeks, to unravel the circumstances surrounding the fire that has left the Thunderbird hotel in ruins.