PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Portland developer and landlord Kevin Cavenaugh is letting his tenants catch a break, allowing businesses like restaurants and bars to pay what they can for rent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Things turned downward pretty drastically, pretty quickly,” Tight Tacos co-owner Mark Cosio said.

Anyone working in the service industry can tell you they remember exactly where they were when their lives turned upside down.

“Spirits, I would say, definitely went down,” Annamarie Cosio said. “We tried our best to keep morale up.”

Cavenaugh, the owner of Guerrilla Development, builds quirky properties like the Zipper on Northeast Sandy Boulevard, and then also serves as the long-term owner and property manager. He has 91 tenants, but didn’t think twice about giving them a hand up when the health crisis ramped up.

Portland restaurants, bars catch a rent break; landlord allowing tenants to pay what they can

KPTV photo.

“As it became real very quickly, I just knew that I didn’t want to be passive about it,” Cavenaugh said. “Of those 91 tenants, the vast majority, if not all, were reeling, too. Some would be in free fall, and I knew that how I acted was going to either calm or exacerbate the problem for them.”

Instead of asking for April rent days after the world seemingly came to a halt, Cavenaugh sent a letter to his tenants telling them that on behalf of his company, ‘We got you’ and ‘Rent will not be due in April.’

“That was an incredible feeling, to not worry about that big portion of rent that we had to pay,” Cosio said.

Tight Tacos opened up their first brick and mortar in the Zipper late last year, and another location on Southeast 32nd Avenue on Feb. 29.

They’re up against all odds. The Cosios could’ve given up, but instead they prioritized the employees who had bills to pay and continued to make great food.

“We decided to just, let’s work until we can’t,” Cosio said. “Until the governor says you cannot be open, then we’re gonna work.”

Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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