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Monday, February 27, 2012

SE Portland's Crazy Candy Kitchen in Danger of Closing

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 12:29 PM

Doomed.
  • Doomed.
The most insane and wonderful place on SE Milwaukie is in danger of closing its doors: Keana's Candyland will soon be sold out from under its dedicated creators, unless the family can raise enough money to buy out the investment company that owns the land.

I explored the strange history of Keana's Candyland back in 2008. After suffering a violent attack, owner and baker Tenea Storm had the vision to transform her house into "a place where people could dream." Over the course of 16 years, she and countless volunteers did just that, turning her run-of-the-mill single-family home into a folksy dreamworld where every wall is covered in handmade decorations reminiscent of a Willa Wonka acid trip and everyone gets a free cookie on their first visit.

According to Candyland crew member Denise Arciero, several weeks ago, a real estate agent showed up at Candyland to let them know that a "For Sale" sign would go up in their yard in 48 hours—the investment company that bought the home in 2007 (JSR Investors) was liquidating its properties and the house would soon be sold to the highest bidder. Unless the new owners are okay with Candyland staying or the group can come up with enough money to buy the property themselves, Candyland will dissolve.

"We're all scrambling now," says Arciero. "The business is not for sale. We will white all the mirrors out, we will strip the building down and just be selling our products online. We couldn't do to another place what we did to Candyland, this took 16 years."

The house itself is zoned residential, with Candyland having a special non-conforming use permit to operate as a bakery shop, so whoever buys the property would have to either use it as a regular house or get a new commercial agreement.

"I totally understand the economy's hard, people need the cash flow. I just wish we'd had more time," says Arciero.

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