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Susan’s Guide to Portland

Let me Help You Find a Home and a Neighborhood

Welcome to my Web site about the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area. It’s my way of helping you become acquainted with the neighborhoods and communities of the Portland metro area and to inform you about the Portland area housing market. Your comments and suggestions about my Web site are always welcome.

If you have questions or if you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Portland area, contact me online or call me at (503) 497-2984.

Susan Marthens

Principal Real Estate Broker/CRS GRI

Oregon standard "tree" plate that has been issued since 1989. This blue-on-yellow baseplate was introduced in 1975 and was issued through 1987 - you still see the plate on a few Oregon vehicles today. Custom salmon plate.  The extra proceeds from sales are used for the following: Litter Patrol Fund, Governors' Watershed Enhancement Board, and State parks. 1947 Oregon plate. Custom Crater Lake National Park Centennial plate - released in 2002.  The extra proceeds are distributed to the Litter Patrol Fund and National Park Foundation.

Homes For Sale

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Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

Homes & Health

Providence’s ‘stable housing = good health’ study is so good, they get to do it again

22 April 2014 — A recent study showing a striking link between stable housing and better health will be expanded to include a wider variety of housing units and more levels of integrated services. The Center for Outcomes Research and Education at Providence Portland Medical Center found average health costs fell by almost half in the first six months after individuals obtained stable housing. The study was based on data and surveys of 99 residents at The Apartments at Bud Clark Commons in downtown Portland. The followup study, funded by a $200,000 grant from Meyer Memorial Trust, will examine a wider swath of low-income and transitional housing and embedded services.  Read more…

Demolition builds frustration for neighbors

22 April 2014 — City officials are considering ways to encourage developers to tell neighbors when they plan to demolish a house for an infill project. An advisory committee to the Bureau of Development Services discussed several options during its monthly meeting last Thursday morning. They ranged from a standard notice that could be posted on the door of the house to door-hangers that can be left at neighboring homes. No one on the Development Review Advisory Committee proposed making the notifications mandatory, however. That disappointed several neighborhood representatives at the meeting who argue that neighbors should always be notified before a nearby home is demolished. Under the existing City Code, notification is not required on homes where a developer applies for a demolition permit and a construction permit on the same day.  Read more…

Ultimate Open House tour showcases new homes throughout Portland metro area

20 April 2014 — The fifth annual Ultimate Open House, a scattered-site home show put on by the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland (HBA), is under way. The six-day show takes place Fridays through Sundays over two weekends: May 13-15 and May 20-22, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The Ultimate Open House features free tours of 43 new homes, including condos, townhomes and detached single-family homes, spread out over a wide geographic range. The idea is to pick what you want to see — from home style to price to location — and map out a day of touring. Although you could go visit each of the listings in the show, it’s designed to offer a more targeted approach. The show also has five vacant home lots in case you’re looking for a place to build your own. The Ultimate Open House has been a winner in the past for the builders who participate. Nancy Haskin — HBA’s head of membership, events and education — said it’s been a good catalyst for home sales, even while the market has been struggling. However, she said there are fewer homes in the show this year than last because the tight lending environment is constraining home-building activity. The inventory of new homes on the market is getting smaller, which is a reason why potential home buyers might want to take advantage of the show.  Read more…

Existing home sales falls to a 20-month low

22 April 2014 — Sales of existing U.S. homes slipped in March to their lowest level since July 2012 as rising prices and a tight supply of available homes discouraged many would-be buyers. The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday that sales edged down 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million. It was the seventh drop in the past eight months. Sales rose in the Northeast and Midwest, suggesting that cold winter weather did not slow sales. And the Realtors’ group says the scant decline shows that sales are stabilizing and might strengthen in coming months as the spring buying season picks up. Many Realtors report seeing more potential buyers at open houses.  Read more…

News

Putting Portland’s coffee shops, greenery on the map

Independent coffee shops and walkable distance to said coffee shops in Portland.22 April 2014 — MIT’s Social Computing Group has a few more Portland maps published on the You Are Here project, this time looking at independent coffee shops (and walkable distance to said coffee shops) and street greenery. Rose City residents likely already know that there are a lot of independent coffee shops and a lot of street greenery in town, but there is still room to grow. And what’s cool about the visualization is that the map shows where the community could grow. For example, as you might expect, there are tons of independent coffee shops in downtown Portland. But coffee shops are also a reliable harbinger of gentrification, and the map bears that out, with clusters in neighborhoods like St. Johns, Foster-Powell and even one in Lents, which not so long ago might have been a coffee wasteland. And while Portland is a famously green city, there is a greenspace deficiency in some areas. But the city is trying to address that — for example, a new park is slated for the Cully neighborhood near PDX, one of the areas lacking much tree coverage on the map.  Read more…

Portland’s water war hits the airwaves

22 April 2014 — With the May primary election less than a month away, the battle for Portland’s water and sewer bureaus is ramping up. Last week, supporters of Measure 26-156, the initiative that would create an independently elected public water district in Portland, released a radio ad. “Did you know that Portland has higher water rates than Phoenix, Arizona?” the ad says. The ad, paid for by the Portlanders for Water Reform Committee called for the independent district to end, “City Hall pet projects,” saying it’s “time to tell Fish he’s out of water.” Commissioner Nick Fish oversees both the utilities. The ad says “No more city hall water bill slush fund.” On Monday, the opponents of Measure 26-156 released two online video advertisements, paid for by the Stop the Bull Run Takeover PAC.  Read more…

Nike hints at deeper partnership with Apple

22 April 2014 — Nike may be abandoning the wrist-worn activity-monitor business, but its commitment to technology isn’t going away. If anything, it’s getting stronger and may include more direct ties to Apple and other technology companies. On Friday,  news leaked that Nike will stop making the FuelBand, a wrist-worn activity monitor that Nike  introduced in 2012. The company will lay off roughly 55 of the 70 engineers that worked on FuelBand, according to CNET. The news didn’t take Wall Street by surprise. Developing hardware is costly and difficult. It takes years to turn a profit, if at all. Added to that, Nike competes against corporate giants with decades of expertise in hardware, such as Samsungand Apple.  Read more…

This ain’t granny’s house anymore

22 April 2014 — There aren’t a lot of grannies living in Portland granny flats. And there aren’t a lot of mother-in-laws living in local mother-in-law suites, either. But that’s just fine with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, which recently completed the first comprehensive survey of accessory dwelling units, as they are officially known. ADUs, as they are commonly called, are essentially small second homes built on lots with existing homes under certain conditions. Construction is exploding in Portland since the City Council waived permit fees for them in 2010. Despite the conventional wisdom that ADUs are being built for relatives, including aging ones, the DEQ survey found that only 17 percent of the people living in them in Portland are related to the owners. The majority — 57 percent — were strangers when they moved in. What’s more, most ADUs — 52 percent — were built primarily to generate extra income from rent. And that’s all right, says Jordan Palmeri, a DEQ employee who works to reduce the environmentally harmful effects of homes by increasing their efficiency. According to Palmeri, research shows that the greatest benefits result from building small.  Read more…

Woman attacked by duck sues owner for $275,000, according to suit

22 April 2014 — A Washougal woman is suing the Estacada owner of a domestic duck, claiming she suffered a broken wrist after the duck attacked her while she was stepping out of her motor home. Cynthia Ruddell’s lawsuit states that she was on her mother’s property when she fell as she was trying to escape the duck on May 7, 2012. The duck was owned by her mother’s neighbor, Lolita Rose. Ruddell broke her right wrist, sprained or strained her elbow and shoulder, and suffered a rotator cuff injury. The suit faults Rose for, among other things, allegedly failing “to warn or otherwise inform neighbors of her duck’s dangerous propensity in attacking individuals” and allegedly failing “to maintain proper control of her domestic animal.”  Read more…

Study: Portland fifth funniest city

21 April 2014 — Despite Portland’s embrace of the satiric “Portlandia” TV series, the Rose City is only the fifth funniest city in the country, according to a study by the University of Colorado Boulder. When it comes to a sense of humor, the study found Portland lags behind leader Chicago and even Washington, D.C., which many Americans believe takes itself way too seriously. But at least the results uphold Portland’s reputation. “Portlanders are just plain weird,” said lead researcher Peter McGraw, associate professor of marketing and psychology at UC-Boulder’s Leeds School of Business.  Read more…

America’s coming manufacturing revolution

21 April 2014 — Hardly a day goes by without an article predicting, lamenting, or celebrating America’s decline. The turmoil in Crimea and Syria, the polarized and frequently gridlocked U.S. political system, the deepening income and wealth inequalities in the United States, and the growing clout of rivals like China and Russia are all offered as proof of waning American power. These weaknesses surely exist, and some—like mounting economic inequality—are truly alarming. But the doomsayers often fail to see the ways in which America is gaining rather than losing global influence. And nowhere is this truer than the manufacturing sector. The combination of lower energy prices, innovative information technologies, and advances in robotics and materials science are powering a manufacturing revolution that will reinvigorate the U.S. economy and make many of its industrial sectors the most competitive in the world.  Read more…