Shelli’s & Susan’s Guide to Portland
Let us Help You Find a Home and a Neighborhood
Welcome to our website about the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area. It’s our 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 the website are always welcome.
If you have questions or if you’re interested in buying or selling a home in the Portland area, contact us online or call Susan at 503-497-2984 or Shelli at (503) 497-5061.
Susan Marthens — Principal Real Estate Broker/CRS GRI
Shelli Gowdy — Real Estate Broker
Homes & Urban Life
Nine amazing treehouses
25 February 2015 — Over the years, a lot of children – and those young at heart – have tried their hand at making a treehouse, usually by dragging some scrap wood to a tree in the yard and balancing it precariously between some branches. Perhaps they had some basic design knowledge to let them make it a little sturdier. But we’ve found some treehouse makers worldwide who’ve taken the art to a whole new level. Tucked away in the woods on Vancouver Island, engineer Tom Chudleigh runs the Free Spirit Spheres retreat, another treehouse-hotel. Unlike conventional treehouses, however, Chudleigh’s sphere-shaped houses are not perched on the branches of trees – they are between them, supported on a web of ropes woven between the nearest trees. All the spheres at Chudleigh’s resort are of his own design, cleverly tucking table, chairs, kitchenette, and bed into a compact space – the smallest sphere is only nine feet in diameter. The two bigger spheres also have a built-in speaker system for guests who want to test the sphere’s acoustics. Currently there are only three spheres on site, but Chudleigh is seeking to expand. Read more…
Housing recovery ‘faltering’ as construction, new home sales lag, says Case-Shiller director
25 February 2015 — Price gains in the nation’s top housing markets continued in December, according to the closely watched Case-Shiller index, released Tuesday morning. But other indicators suggest the recovery is narrow, said the director of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones. “The housing recovery is faltering. While prices and sales of existing homes are close to normal, construction and new home sales remain weak,” said David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the S&P Dow Jones Index Committee, in a prepared statement. “Before the current business cycle, any time housing starts were at their current level of about one million at annual rates,the economy was in a recession.” Property prices in Portland grew faster than in many places, showing a year-over-year gain of 6.8 percent in December, according to the index. Portland prices rose 0.2 percent from November to December, the data show. Read more…
Why are developers still building sprawl?
25 February 2015 — A decade ago, home builders put up thousands of new spacious stucco homes in the desert here, with marble countertops, ample square footage, and walk-in kitchen cupboards. Then the recession hit, the values of these homes plummeted, and economists talked of the overbuilding of Las Vegas. Now, though, developers are building once again, on projects derailed during the recession, including master-planned communities such as the 1,700-acre Skye Canyon, the 2,700-acre Park Highlands, the 1,900-acre Inspirada, and 555 acres of luxury living in an area called Summerlin. Read more…
In God We Trust: What’s behind the push? Supporters say patriotism, scholars say fear
26 February 2015 — The phrase “In God We Trust,” which Clark County leaders voted Tuesday to display inside council chambers, has been pushed into public spaces by the government twice before in American history: During the Civil War, federal leaders put it on coins. During the Cold war, Congress declared it the national motto. In both cases, religious scholars agree, politicians used the phrase to claim moral superiority over adversaries. A third government-led movement is afoot, and like those two earlier pushes, scholars say it’s directly related to complicated times and a sense that a certain way of life is threatened. In the post-9/11 United States, those threats take multiple forms — they can be opponents in overseas wars or the growing number of non-Christians in neighborhoods, schools and town hall meetings. In the last 10 years, both the U.S. House and Senate voted to reaffirm “In God We Trust” as the nation’s motto. And according to the nonprofit In God We Trust ~ America, Inc., elected officials in roughly 450 cities and counties have voted to display the phrase in their chambers. The issue is up for debate this month in Klamath County. Read more…
Labrador retriever remains No. 1 as US favorite dog breed
26 February 2015 — America’s fondness for Labrador retrievers is still setting records, but bulldogs are breaking new ground. Labs reigned as the nation’s top dog last year for the 24th year after breaking poodles’ decades-old record in 2013, according to American Kennel Club rankings set to be released Thursday. But bulldogs have hit a new high — No. 4 — and their bat-eared cousins, French bulldogs, sauntered into the top 10 for the first time in nearly a century. German shepherds, golden retrievers and beagles are holding their own in the top five, with Yorkshire terriers, poodles, boxers and Rottweilers filling out the top 10. Dachshunds slipped from 10th to 11th. Read more…
Oceana to feds: sea lions starving due to overfishing
26 February 2015 — Marine conservation group Oceana says thousands of sea lion pups that have died on the West Coast this year are succumbing to starvation from a lack of forage fish. Sardines – a preferred fish of sea lions – are more scarce than they have been in 15 years. Oceana is calling upon the Pacific Fishery Management Council to put a moratorium on new forage fisheries at its meeting next month. Wednesday, the group also urged the council to limit fishing when sardine numbers are low. “Excessive fishing during a naturally low productive period drives the population to a lower point” and makes it difficult to recover, a statement from the agency read. Read more…
Do bike helmet laws boost public safety?
26 February 2015 — Helmets to biking seem almost like seatbelts to driving: There are more reasons than not to buckle up. That’s why California State Sen. Carol Liu introduced a bill this month that would require all cyclists—children and adults—to wear helmets. Those who were caught without one would have to pay a $25 fine. But the bill isn’t sitting well, even among the most active of cycling advocates in the state. Liu’s proposal has reignited one of the most polarizing debates in the bicycling world: Do helmet laws help or hurt the cycling community at large? It can seem like a trivial question, almost like asking if seatbelts would cause the number of people that drive to fall, too. Plenty of cyclists wear helmets on their own, but plenty of others don’t some for superficial reasons: It’s not convenient, or, it messes up their hair (yes, really), despite the research in support of helmets. In 2009, 9 out of 10 bicyclists killed in accidents weren’t wearing helmets, Liu says; California had 124 bike deaths in 2012 —more than any other state, she adds. Helmet use can reduce head injury risk by 85 percent (though that number may be soon phased out). So sure, you’re better off with a helmet if you’re in an accident. And there’s little dispute people should wear one. Read more…
Portland neighborhoods with the most restaurants
26 February 2015 — GoLocalPDX in partnership with Find The Best identified the Portland neighborhoods with the highest concentration of restaurants per 10,000 people, as well as the most common types of restaurants in the city. The Lloyd District is the clear winner with 499.1 restaurants per 10,000 residents, followed by Downtown Portland with 227.3 restaurants per 10,000 people. Other neighborhoods with high concentrations of restaurants include the Hollywood district, the Pearl, Northwest Portland, and Boise. Read more…
Why local artisan cider makers are at the core of a national boom
25 February 2015 — The tree wasn’t all that special. It was just too damn big. Back in 2004, Nat West’s friend and neighbor in North Portland, Norris Thomlinson, had a large and craggy tree in his backyard that produced an unholy wealth of apples. “Backyard apples,” West describes them. “No good name for them—green, small, scabby. Maybe Gravenstein, that’s my only guess.” They tried everything to keep those apples from going to waste in Thomlinson’s backyard. They made pies, preserves, dried apples, applesauce. Still, there were too many apples: 500 pounds of apples. Finally, West had an idea that changed his life. “I thought, ‘We could turn it into juice,’” he says. “I knew you could make alcohol out of apples.” Within a few harvests, he was making hundreds of gallons of cider a year. Read more…
A survey of Portland’s gas-station food spots
25 February 2015 — In the heartland, where the towns that survive are built along the great and open freeway, no gas station is just a gas station. It’s the town square, the place everybody goes, home to fresh pie and stale coffee and an ever-changing cast of drivers who swing through once every week or so on their routes. In a work-strong country, it is stunning efficiency: Why not get your fuel at the same place as your car? Portland doesn’t have many of these places—Milwaukie’s Bomber restaurant has ripped out not only the gas tanks, but the plane that used to float majestically over 99E—yet we stopped by our favorite gas-station restaurants in the city to get in touch with our roots. St. Johns’ Signal Station Pizza is less a gas-station restaurant than a lovely homage to one. In the cramped ex-gift shop of a decommissioned fuel stop, Signal Station is bedecked on its exterior with the bygone glam of the roadside 1940s, while its interior offers the food of a county fair gone unaccountably twee. Artichoke-heart pizza by the slice ($4.10) sits on pagoda racks near bakery cookies and Blue Bunny ice cream by the scoop ($2.25). As in all of blue-collar Portland, the full-sized specialty pies ($10-$22) are often creative beneath the surface, with sauces ranging among garlic, pesto, bianca and barbecue. Read more…
Celebrating 50 years of Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley
25 February 2015 — In the 1960s and ‘70s in Oregon, a billion-dollar industry was beginning on the backs of just a handful of families. Many of them had recently moved to the Willamette Valley from California. None of them was business-minded — they were artists and scholars, engineers and scientists, liberal-minded people united by a fondness for fine wine, a love that was not widely shared by the rest of the country. Talk about those early times, and the same few names keep cropping up: Dick Erath, David Lett, the Ponzis, Sokol Blosser, David Adelsheim, Chuck Coury. They are the founders of the wine industry in the Willamette Valley. And thanks to their efforts, Oregon is today celebrating the 50th anniversary of the planting of pinot noir in the Willamette Valley. Read more…
Homes That Just Went on The Market in the City of Portland