The building, located on Sherman Avenue, is owned by the same people who own the the Oregon marijuana dispensary chain La Mota.
The City of North Bend says the company began the process of opening the dispensary in 2020. In 2021, the City amended legislation that led to La Mota being denied the ability to build a dispensary on the location.
“We have our recreational marijuana ordinance,” public works Director Ralph Dunham explained. “We have a thousand foot required minimum separation between the two structures.”
The company Herbal Choices had an established location less than 1,000 feet from La Mota’s building.
Dunham says La Mota was upset it couldn’t use the building for its intended purchase and tried to appeal the thousand feet rule with no luck.
In 2022, the owners filed another business permit, stirring up some controversy within the city.
“They applied for an adult entertainment shop on the building,” Dunham said. “We got our first complaint on June 17, 2022 because they painted the building pink over the weekend.”
Documents from the city show the new business, named “Jessica’s Adult Entertainment” was conditionally approved, saying the owners needed to get a parking lot permit before opening.
According to Dunham, the city has never received this documentation that would allow the business to open.
The colorful building has been the talk of the community ever since, even though it still sits empty.
“The building has definitely become an attractive nuisance,” said Kriston Collier, owner of Juul Insurance across the street. “It brings lots of people who stop and take selfies with the building.”
Collier says one woman even blessed the building, bible in hand.
La Mota has become a topic of conversation statewide recently, and not because of its unused building on Sherman Avenue.
Earlier this month, Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan announced her resignation after news came out that she was a paid consultant for La Mota.
As an attorney, Fagan’s agency was at the same time overseeing a state audit on cannabis regulation.
The Willamette Week reported La Mota had millions in unpaid taxes.
While the company made headlines across the state through its affiliation with Fagan, the situation has not changed in North Bend.
“There’s nothing in our ordinances that prohibits somebody from painting their building pink,” Dunham said.
Business owners in the area, however, hope the owners can turn this abandoned lot into something other than the proposed plan, wanting to make the most of its unique color.
“I think it would make a great ice cream store,” Collier suggested. “Just revamp it, redo it, take care of it because we’re trying to create a better downtown area.”
Collier says the area is the first thing people see when they come into the town, and want to see the proper work put into it.
NBC5 News reached out to La Mota to ask about its plans for the location but has yet to hear back.
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