Aaron Mitchell founded La Mota chain of marijuana dispensaries in Oregon. He also bought a house in the Hazelwood district of Portland, which has been turned into a squat, neighbors claim
A homeowner who allegedly allowed his Portland property to be turned into a squat rife with drug use, gun fights and explosions has been revealed as a multimillionaire marijuana entrepreneur.
Aaron Mitchell brought the property in the Hazelwood district in 2020.
Jacob and Beth Adams, who live nearby, bought their neighboring home in 2017, and said they enjoyed living in the quiet district.
But when Mitchell purchased the property to turn it into a weed dispensary, then put those plans on ice, things quickly descended into chaos, neighbors claim.
When the Adams complained repeatedly to authorities, and to Mitchell himself – he allegedly texted them to say: ‘Move.’
Public records obtained by KOIN 6 News showed emergency crews were called to the house 36 times since Mitchell bought it, and 911 records show firefighters put out at least six fires at the abandoned house.
Mitchell never moved in, and instead lives in a $4.85 million property nine miles away, in the downtown area on the other side of the Willamette River.
His stunning hillside home, with views of the mountains, city and river, has five bedrooms and six bathrooms over 7,000 square feet, and features its own games room, gym and climbing wall.
The property he bought in Hazelwood was never anywhere near as luxurious – and is now further damaged by both fire and spray-paint.
Beth Adams is seen standing in front of the graffiti-covered squat owned by Aaron Mitchell
Footage from the Adams’ surveillance cameras shows the squat on fire
Mitchell, who owns 22 marijuana stores across the state and whose Instagram in shows him flying by private jet to Hawaii and San Francisco, applied for a permit to turn the Hazelwood house into a dispensary – but never did anything about it.
Portland police have responded to multiple calls for crimes like theft, disturbances, suspicious people and shots fired.
Surveillance camera footage shows piles of trash, and gunshots can be heard on the audio.
In one clip, Jacob Adams desperately tries to clear his yard as a fire breaks out next door, and he attempts to put it out with a fire extinguisher.
‘When we almost lost our house and the fence burned, I no longer was going to take this silently,’ Beth said.
Jacob added: ‘And just having the property owner saying, essentially, ‘If you don’t like it, move’ — as if, I am the problem because I’m annoying him with things that could actually end my life.’
Mitchell’s main home – this cliffside property with views of the mountains and city – is nine miles from the squat he owns
His main home is a $4.8 million modern, light-filled masterpiece with its own indoor climbing wall – a far cry from the squat he also owns
A Portland native, Jacob said he would have no problem with the building becoming a marijuana dispensary.
‘Honestly, I’m OK with anything that’s better than burning my house and having gunshots fly by me,’ he said.
‘It looks like they’re multimillionaires and they just have a lot of money. And this is how they treat the neighborhoods they own.’
Beth said knowing who the owner is is ‘really disappointing.’
She added: ‘I mean, to do business in our city but yet treat the neighbors this way. It’s not OK.’
Mitchell was born in Cleveland, Ohio but moved to Los Angeles in the early 2000s, where he became a successful professional skateboarder.
In 2009 he was living in Deltona, Florida and met his girlfriend Rosa Cazares.
They decided to move to Oregon and take advantage of the blossoming cannabis business.
Their company, La Mota, is now the sixth highest grossing cannabis company in the country according to Stoner magazine.
Mitchell has so far been fined at least $12,000 for building violations, and has not paid property taxes. His debts are gathering interest.
A hearing was scheduled for April 11, but Mitchell did not show up.
On April 18, the city was granted authority to board up and clean up the property immediately, and has been authorized to demolish it in mid-August, if the property owner does not clean it up.
Since then, fences have been erected around the property, which the Adams say has helped.
Mitchell told KOIN 6 News: ‘It is completely understandable that neighbors are frustrated.
‘We want them to know that we are working as quickly as possible to demolish this structure and redevelop the property. We have already hired a contractor, filed permits, paid deposits, and are awaiting final approval to proceed.
‘We are sorry that this process has taken so long.’