Shelli’s & Susan’s Guide to Portland
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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
16 most bizarre (but beautiful) homes
18 December 2014 — As homeowners shift toward more sustainable, off-the-grid, DIY habitats, unique homes are inevitable. Here we look at 16 innovative, bizarre, and one-of-a-kind homes and what makes them stand out. The leaf house inAngra dos Reis, Brazil where the roof of this architectural masterpiece looks like a giant flower with six petals, each of which covers a different section of the home. A curved swimming pool works its way through the house before culminating as a small pond stocked with fish and vegetation in the backyard. Architect firm Mareines + Patalano designed the interior of this house to be free of hallways, providing ample space for the beach winds to blow through. “The idea of hallways stems from production homebuilding, which has so dominated our environment and market place that people see them as a standard,” says Peter Koliopoulos, an architect with 26 years of experience and founder of Arizona-based Circle West Architects. “That is really unfortunate because great spaces are developed in a way that this home has been developed. Designer Antti Lovag long rebelled against traditional structures, and the Bubble Castle is a perfect example of his radical approach to rethinking the built environment. The bulbous compound sits on the southwest coast of France. There are no sharp angles or straight lines in this unusual design. Read more…
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac to lose market share to private capital: CBO
19 December 2014 — America’s government-controlled mortgage finance giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will likely guarantee a shrinking share of new loans over the next decade, congressional analysts said on Tuesday. During the 2007-09 financial crisis, it was almost impossible for home buyers to get a loan without a government guarantee, andFannie Mae and Freddie Mac stepped into the breach, backing roughly 60 percent of new mortgages between 2008 and 2013. But a mix of recent increases in fees charged by the two firms and a renewed willingness to lend by private sources of capital will help shrink Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s share to about 40 percent by 2024, the Congressional Budget Office said in a report. Read more…
Beaverton skews ‘nice,’ not ‘naughty,’ survey finds
18 December 2014 — Holidays bring out the gimmicks. Halloween brings zombie-themed press releases, Thanksgiving corporate statements reference turkeys or cranberries, and Christmas, that’s the motherlode of cheery branding. And here is RealtyTrac, the real estate data firm, which has crunched the numbers to come up with the nation’s Naughty and Nice housing markets. How does it do it? Well, one measure is the number of sex offenders per 10,000 residents. Also crime rates, unemployment, school grades, home affordability, etc. This turned out well for Cary, N.C., which topped the Nice list. And not so well for Milwaukee, Wisc., which may as well brace for a bargeload of coal. The only Oregon locale to show up on RealtyTrac’s list is Beaverton, which glows green for Nice. Read more…
Google Fiber delays decision on Portland-area expansion
19 December 2014 — Don’t pop the champagne just yet, Google-lovers. The Internet giant announced Thursday that it was delaying a decision on whether or not to bring its ultra-high-speed Internet and cable services to the Portland region. Area residents have been waiting for months to hear whether or not the company would expand its service to parts of the Portland area, including Tigard, Beaverton, Lake Oswego, Hillsboro and Gresham. Company representatives said they need more time. In February, Google announced it was seriously considering expanding to Portland and five of its neighboring cities. The service offers Internet speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second — about 100 times faster than traditional broadband — for about the same price Portland-area residents are paying to surf the web. The cities have been working with Google for a year to determine if it’s possible to bring fiber-optic, high-speed Internet to their communities. Google’s possible expansion has already impacted local Internet service providers. Earlier this year, Comcast increased its Internet speeds, CenturyLink started high-speed service in Portland, and Frontier announced it would offer gigabit connections as well, but only to customers in Beaverton. Read more…
Route selected for planned ‘Council Creek’ trail
19 December 2014 — After tallying costs, benefits and comments for and against various routes proposed for the Council Creek Regional Trail, trail planners have finally chosen a preferred route. The decision came last week at a combined meeting of the project and stakeholders advisory committees. From Hillsboro through Cornelius to Forest Grove, the bike/pedestrian trail would be built next to the Portland & Western rail line that runs north of Highway 8 from downtown Hillsboro to downtown Forest Grove. A more expensive and controversial creek trail option was dropped. While the chosen route has less scenic value than the creek route — partly due to the industrial area at its west end — there are some scenic spots along the way, particularly in the Dairy Creek area near Hillsboro, said Jim Rapp, a Parametrix consultant who headed up much of the planning and outreach efforts for the trail project. Read more…
Obamacare’s employer mandate gets 60% approval rating, but 41% like entire law – Kaiser poll
19 December 2014 — Turns out selective presentation of facts can sway public opinion. Who knew? Six in 10 Americans have a favorable view of the Affordable Care Act mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees to offer health insurance in 2015, according to the latest tracking poll on the law from Kaiser Family Foundation released Thursday. But the respondents’ opinions could be swayed by follow-up questions. Pollsters asked different second questions depending on the response to the first: The 60 percent who favor the mandate were told that some employers have cut employee hours to avoid meeting the threshold triggering the fines before being asked if they still supported the mandate. Read more…
Religious yes, churchgoers no
19 December 2014 — Overtly religious signs of the holiday season are everywhere this time of year. They include public displays of Nativity scenes and Hanukkah menorahs, performances of Handel’s Messiah and gospel music, and an exhibit of the painting “Holy Family with Saint Mary Magdalen” by El Greco at the Portland Art Museum. The amount of such faith-based imagery and events runs counter to Oregon’s national reputation as the most unchurched state in the nation. Although “unchurched” might be an exaggeration, a 2013 survey by the Barna Research Group found Portland has the second-highest percentage of adults who have not been to a worship ceremony in the past six months — 43 percent compared to the 44 percent in San Francisco. But, the Catholic shrine in Northeast Portland known as The Grotto annually hosts what is thought to be the largest Christmas choral festival in the world. The Festival of Lights, which runs from the Friday after Thanksgiving to Dec. 30, attracts thousands of people every night. Five indoor concerts are scheduled each evening in the 600-seat chapel, which is internationally known for its cathedral quality acoustics. The Grotto Carolers also perform traditional favorite Christmas carols throughout the evening. Read more…
Oregon animal protections gain new ground
19 December 2014 — On an overcast afternoon at a private stable in Southwest Washington, horse trainer Tobey Spitzer leads a thirteen-year-old horse named Brooke around a covered dirt arena. Four years ago Brooke was taken from her former owner by investigators with the Oregon Humane Society. Authorities determined that she was being severely underfed. The owner was fined and put on probation. The horse was placed in foster care and then adopted. “When she came in, she had nothing,” Spitzer said. “Her eyes were dead and she was pretty much in just a fright or flight stage.” Spitzer says that since then, Brooke has regained several hundred pounds and is doing a lot better. She says that Brooke was lucky. Read more…
Portland street fund: ‘Gut check time’ as $43.8 million plan remains in flux
19 December 2014 — Steve Novick says it’s “gut check” time for the Portland street fund. The first-term Portland commissioner, half of the political team driving the controversial and meandering plan to raise millions for street safety and maintenance projects, postponed a vote on a $43.8 million plan until mid-January. Nearly seven months after Mayor Charlie Hales, Novick and transportation officials stood on a grassy hillside at Southeast Portland’s Kenilworth City Park and outlined a proposal that would eventually charge most households nearly $140 fee per year, the politicians are once again back to the drawing board. Read more…
Mapping how 530 global cities use their water
18 December 2014 — Depending what type of showerhead is in your bathroom, you could be using as much as 5 to 7 gallons of water each minute that you rinse off. That bathtub of yours likely requires 8 times as much agua and your dishwasher won’t run without 15 gallons cycling through it. Speaking of cycles, your laundry only spits out a sparkling shirt – after you spilled the spaghetti on it from the bowl that’s now being rinsed – because the machine uses up to 60 gallons per load. All in all, and not counting the water you actually drink, you’re probably using an average of 70 gallons a day just to make sure you don’t noticeably smell or eat off filthy dishes. A recent Nature Conservancy analysis has thrown some ice cold H20 on our enthusiastic, hourly use of water. As more people migrate into cities, as many as one billion urbanites may soon be limited to living on 100 liters (or 26.4 gallons) of water per day. Yet the problem here is not merely reducible to demand. Arable land is contracting all over the world, as fresh water rivers and reservoirs dry up then dwindle into nothing. This fact stands in sharp contrast to the current practices of cities, which, according to the Nature Conservancy, tend to accumulate up to 43% of their water from outside their own watershed (“interbasin transfer” in ecologist speak). Read more…
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and he reads his mail in Oslo
18 December 2014 — What happens to a letter that is addressed to Santa Claus? Depending on the origin of the letter, the outcome may vary. Since the North Pole itself has no post office, mail has traditionally been sent to the next closest capitol – Oslo, Norway. A red house along the Oslofjord in Drøbak to be precise – the home of Oslo’s tourist board. The red building at Rådhusgata 19 is where Santa and his elves set up their desks to answer letters from boys and girls around the world. At this time of year, thousands of letters pour in each day – some of them include not only a list, but hand-made art or well-wishes for Santa himself. A girl from Maine addresses her note “To Santa in the Kingdom of Norway” and simply writes,”Hello. Just Greetings for you.” There is no list included. In 2014 Santa received 66,000 letters from over 80 countries. Read more…
Homes That Just Went on The Market in the City of Portland
Listing content is copyright 2014 RMLS, Portland, Oregon.
The content relating to real estate for sale on this web site comes in part from the IDX program of the RMLS of Portland, Oregon. Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Windemere Stellar are marked with the RMLS logo, and detailed information about these properties includes the names of the listing brokers.
The above information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.
Data courtesy of the RMLS, Portland, Oregon. Last Updated December 20, 2014 7:36 am.