Face Making

Artist Gwenn Seemel’s bilingual blog about art, portraiture, free culture, and feminism.

Lorentz Bruun Construction: What artists can learn from this company’s mistakes

2013 . 06 . 04 - Comments / Commentaires (3)

I live near a Lorentz Bruun Construction site, where the workers have been consistently violating the City of Portland’s noise code for a few weeks, starting before 7:00 AM (sometimes as early as 5:55 AM) and even working on black out days.

With summer around the corner and my windows remaining open much of the time, I knew I needed to get Lorentz Bruun complying with the noise code. I began, as an adult does, by speaking directly with the person who is causing the problem. The trouble was, of course, that Lorentz Bruun Construction is a legal person, not an actual person. My emails about the violations went ignored. The workers were still making noise before 7:00 AM and I received no response from Lorentz Bruun even though the company promises one within 24 hours.

So I started talking with the City of Portland, which, it turns out, is rather big-hearted with noise code violators. Construction companies receive two warnings before they’re finally cited and fined. Since that process could take forever—since one of the filers at the City of Portland actually said “good luck!” to me after I made my first report—I decided to do a little digging.



construction crane

What I discovered is that Lorentz Bruun Construction is a family company and very proud of it. Fascinating. That means that though they don’t respect the wider community, they’re proud of the roots that they have in that same community!

I wanted answers about this bizarre disconnect between action and rhetoric, so I contacted Jeannie Horton, who, as the person that is “Connecting Marketing with the Vision of the Company,” was as close as I could figure to a public spokesperson. I wanted to interview her because I thought it would be interesting to understand where the company was coming from, but Horton didn’t bother to respond.

Since I began alerting Lorentz Bruun of its own naughtiness, they’ve violated the noise code on 4 out of 5 days. Come on LBC: I know you can be a better (legal) person if you just try!



construction trash

What we can learn from Lorentz Bruun Construction’s bad business practices:

1) Do what you say you’re going to do. Don’t promise to respond to queries within one business day if you’re not going to do it.  Don’t promise anything you’re not going to do.

2) Along those same lines, contracts matter. It’s important to remain aware of what contracts, written and unwritten, each of us have with the community. Though the mythology would have us believe so, artists are not a law unto themselves, and neither are developers like Bob Ball who hired Lorentz Bruun.

3) Just because someone isn’t paying you doesn’t mean you should ignore them. People don’t relate purely through money. A lot of my most helpful feedback comes from people who’ve never bought a painting from me.

Also—and I realize that this may not be widely applicable, but it’s still worth mentioning—don’t start jackhammering just before 7:00 AM on Memorial Day. That’s the sort of thing that makes you look like a jerk.



- -—UPDATE 2013 . 06 . 07—- -

I finally got a hold of the principal at Lorentz Bruun on Thursday the 6th. The results were immediate, and I’m crossing my fingers that they’re also lasting.



- -—UPDATE 2014 . 09 . 16—- -

The Parker (that’s the name of this construction project) is set to open next week. In the last fifteen months, the site has continued to work outside of regular hours established by the City’s noise ordinance, and Lorentz Bruun Construction has barely been cited by the City for its violations despite our requests that it intervene. The Noise Complaints office has repeatedly told us to call the Police for violations that happen when they’re not in their office, and the Police tell us that they don’t deal with this particular violation of law.  In other words, the City is arguing with itself, and it’s the flesh-and-blood citizens that suffer as a result of the misunderstanding, not the corporate citizens.

The funny thing? If the Lorentz Bruun crews had followed the law and worked consistently from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM Monday through Saturday for the last year and a half, they would have been done months ago. Instead they woke us up at 6:00 AM and knocked off at 2:00 or 3:00 PM most of the time.

Shame on on Bob Ball and Mark Bruun. They’re human beings—I know this because I’ve seen them strutting around the site in the last week—but they sure don’t seem to have much human decency.



- -—UPDATE 2015 . 06 . 22—- -

I made a portrait of Ball and Bruun as well as many of the other Portland players who are ruining the City I love. This video shows the making of that portrait.


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(3) Comments / Commentaires: Lorentz Bruun Construction: What artists can learn from this company’s mistakes

-- Ed -- 2016 . 11 . 03 --

Quit being a squealing little bitch. Get a real job and quit robbing the tax payers. One complainer out of over 100 residents tells the story. The apartment complex you are living in did the same. It’s part of construction and you get to work early to start at 7:00 am. Why didn’t the police do anything? Because they know better

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-- Gwenn -- 2016 . 11 . 03 --

Aw, buddy, you’re the squealer. Every new project has to take into account what’s already in the neighborhood. If Lorentz Bruun and other companies can’t handle doing construction in a civilized manner in areas with residents and with lots of other construction projects, they shouldn’t bid on those projects.

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-- David Vanadia -- 2016 . 11 . 03 --

Ed? Ed Underwood, superintendent from Lorentz Bruun?

You wouldn’t return a phone call or answer an email for two years while the Parker was being built. Now you show up out of nowhere (three years after the building’s completion) to troll Gwenn’s website and call her a “squealing little bitch”?

There’s the story, Ed.

The Ramona didn’t have families as direct neighbors when it was built so it probably didn’t do the same. If it did, then the company who built the Ramona was acting unlawfully—not future residents of the project.

Construction abiding by the noise ordinance in densely populated areas is not just common courtesy, it’s also part of the Portland Noise Ordinance.

The Parker was owned and developed by police captain, Robert Ball. The police weren’t “knowing better” or protecting you by ignoring the situation.

And finally, there was a whole community that was, and continues to be, impacted by construction in the north Pearl District. Many folks remain silent out of fear because people like you make intimidating threats to those who speak out asking for their rights to be protected.

Your aggressive actions perpetuate a negative stereotype about your industry and endanger your own personal well being. Please, be a little more considerate online and off.

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