North Park Blocks Post Office

The main post office, located next to the train station, is in the process of transformation. The mail sorting operations have moved out by the airport. Eventually the entire building will close and the very large piece of property that caps off the North Park Blocks will be redeveloped into…something.

Right now the retail postal operation is still open, but I figured I’d better grab some pictures while I could.

The business mailing operations have headed out to the new facility so this part of the building is not in use right now.

The building itself is nothing memorable from the outside. It’s a basic, no-frills mid-century that few people will probably miss when it falls to the wrecking ball. But I do love the interior. The long corridor of PO boxes on one side, and the windows that let in the light year round is always a calming experience.

There are many bays of PO boxes. I’d be interested to know how many are currently rented.

These new compartments are for PO box customers with packages. I think they used to hold stuff behind the counter and these are the new system. People who get packages will find the key in their PO box and they use it to access the proper locker.

That closed window to the left of the clock used to be a small business selling snack food items and other sundries. It was run by a blind person for many years.

A blurry picture of the elevator to other parts of the building including a cafe. I assume the cafe is now closed and I’m sorry I didn’t ever visit. I’ve long toyed with a regular feature on cafes hidden in large buildings.

The nice looking letter drop area.

Supposedly, a new post office retail location will open in the vicinity when the main building is closed for redevelopment. I’m sure it will be fine, but I will miss this location, which has served me well for more than ten years.

Quality bike parking at the EMSWCD

I went to pick up the native plants I ordered from the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District and I found this hearty and well-covered structure.

Way to do it right, EMSWCD. I forgive you for interviewing me twice and then never officially telling me I didn’t get the job. I didn’t get it right? Because if I did, I’m 12 years late.

Vacant Demolished

Work is doing a survey that involves mailing to many Portland residences. A lot of them come back to us as vacant. On this one someone helpfully added “demolished.” It’s not surprising.

Here’s my best guess as to what 3951 N. Vancouver looks like. It’s been absorbed on PortlandMaps.com into 3535 N. Vancouver, which is currently the Brass Tacks restaurant.

This building could have been torn down in the past few years, or it could have been torn down as part of the “improvement plan” in the 1960s that gutted a historically Black neighborhood and resulted in empty lots for decades.

Something will appear here though, and probably sooner rather than later as this area is hip, happening and nearly fully gentrified. We can’t have weedy, empty lots in that kind of neighborhood.

The Barn is no more

At the corner of North Denver Avenue and North Lombard street in Portland Oregon, there’s a run-down building which until recently housed The Barn, a local bar.

On the sign with the full name of the bar (The Farmer’s Barn) we see the reason for the demise: Pat has died.

I didn’t fully realize until this moment that it was called the Farmer’s Barn. This is because until that sign was changed to Pat’s memorial information, it said, “Do not need a farm to enjoy the barn”

Both Yelp and Facebook have confirmed the closing of this bar. I learned from the Yelp reviews that they only served beer and wine, accepted no credit cards and had a happy hour from 7-11am. I usually saw people heading in around seven on the days when I rode my bike to work and took Denver. That explains that.

I will be interested to see if this building is replaced. My guess is yes.

R.I.P. Pat, and your Farmer’s Barn.

6822 N. Interstate for sale

A.K.A not long for this world.

I love this little house, one of three on this block. It’s 756 square feet and was built in 1926. The last time it was sold was in 2006 for $160,000. It’s a rental, the owners live in Vancouver.

The woman who lives (lived?) here has yard sales multiple times per year. There is a new four-story apartment complex next door, and since this is zoned CM3, this lot could hold something up to six stories. (Although then you might also need to buy the two houses next door.)

Here’s the asking price: $349,900. If the sellers get that, they will have doubled their money in 12 years. It’s been for sale for some time, so I’m guessing the price will drop a little.

I include the picture of the sign so you can see someone has crossed out with a big “NO!” the words “with development potential.” Since the MLS listing doesn’t include any pictures of the interior of the house, I would be very surprised if this becomes someone’s home.

A very good thing for the Cully Neigborhood

When a former strip club and front for a prostitution ring is torn down in order to build affordable housing, it’s a very good day for the neighborhood.

Even better? When a bunch of small organizations were the ones who bought the property in the first place, because they knew that good piece of land would be better served by a different sort of building.

Cascading Home Improvements

I can tell the economy is better because the house across the street from me started a renovation trend that has rolled down the street to four houses. Let’s take a tour.

The beginner of the trend is this house. It’s been sold maybe twice in the 11 years we’ve lived here. It started as a classic house which hadn’t been updated much. There was a weird diagonal path surrounded by hedges from the front porch to the corner of the lot. The new owner has been a busy bee, removing the hedges, sledgehammering out the path and putting in a straight one. There’s a new fence and lots of boxes to grow things, plus things being grown in the boxes. (The two don’t always go hand in hand.) That bay window on the front porch is new and I think the front porch has been enclosed. Plus it’s been painted. It used to be a salmon color that wasn’t the greatest.

Next door, this house, which has also been sold in the past five years, has a big new front porch and the house has been painted. It used to be a cream color. Clearly the trend is toward darker colors.

Next door is this house which got a new retaining wall (mostly hidden by the blue car.) I think also it got a new porch, and they are building a big garage where their either wasn’t one or where there was a small one. It looks to be a garage with living space. I wonder if it will be rented out.

And the fourth house on the street is getting new siding, after getting its own very formidable retaining wall. The house next door to that is new construction so there is where our rolling improvements end.

But! Across the street from those four houses, this oddly shaped house has added an oddly shaped tall extension onto it. I hope it flows better indoors than it looks from outside.

Three houses on one skinny lot

This is a lot I’ve been watching since 2015. I used to ride by it regularly as I bicycled to work. The lot was sectioned off from the house next door and sold during that time. Not much has happened since then, though that fence is new.

Today I was interested to notice this for sale sign which not only advertises the price of the lot as just south of $300k, but also has already drawn plans for a three-unit modern condo development. My mind boggled a bit trying to mentally fit three houses in here so I spent some time studying the renderings.

This seems to be an example of vertical living. On the main floor is the kitchen/dining area, followed by the living room/office on the second floor. Then you climb to the third floor to get to the first set of bedrooms and then to the fourth floor to get to the master bedroom.

I did the math and the square footage works out to 376–441 square feet per floor. That’s a little bit bigger than the footprint of my studio apartment.

This is an interesting development in infill housing. It doesn’t provide parking, which I still feel should be at least a small priority for each lot. I do rather like the idea of three normal-sized houses on one lot, rather than one big one.

I’ll keep my eye on this property and see what appears.