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.

Three houses not long for this world, +bonus siding look-see

These pictures came out darker than I thought. Apparently I took them at the time of day when my eyes register more light than my camera.

These three houses were mostly boarded up from the inside, so I didn’t notice that they had been vacated. They are on Denver Ave., just off of Rosa Parks Way. They are the type of house I love: small house, bigger lot. North Portland had a ton of these houses when I moved here in 2007. There are fewer now. And soon there will be three fewer.

Portland Maps shows an interesting situation for these houses. Two of them are on the same lot (6541 N. Denver) and the lot seems to extend into the third house, though it has it’s own address (6525 N. Denver). The middle house is not shown as having an address, both on Portland Maps and on Google Maps. However, the information on Portland Maps shows square footage for all three houses in the 6541 N. Denver record and there’s no information on the third house in the 6525 N. Denver record, So I’m assuming all three houses are included on one lot.

The lot was last sold in 1977 for $58,500. According to an inflation calculator, that’s about $231,000 of today’s dollars. I’m unclear if that $58k price reflects that it has three houses on it. In June, this lot sold for [and here I must interject via brackets that the number I’m about to type makes me literally nauseous] $1.6 million.

Wait! It seems the $1.6m is for all three houses on the block, plus the former recycling center on the corner. Nausea has slightly abated. Only slightly. My favorite site Next Portland had this to say on 10/27/17 :

Proposed development of a split zoning site, CG and R5. four story apartment building (20 units or more) on the GC portion of the site and 2 new single family homes on the R5 portion of the site. All existing structures on site to be demoed.

By dividing $1.6m four ways, that roughly pencils out to $400,000 per lot. 

Four hundred thousand dollars for just the land. That’s before the demo. 

And that, friends, is why we have a homelessness problem in Portland.

Fun fact, I first noticed these houses had been boarded up when I saw one of our neighborhood homeless residents sleeping on the porch of the red house.

Onto the houses. This guy is 600 square feet, with a full basement.  It’s the corner lot and has a nice big backyard. 

This house is 720 square feet with a full basement. The assessment also includes 500 square feet of concrete which you see in the picture. It serves as the driveway for both houses. This is my favorite house of the three, though I think it has the smaller yard.

This house is 720 square feet with a full basement. It is right next to the former recycling center.

The records don’t say, but I’m guessing houses 2 and 3 were built by the same builder. They look very much the same. There’s a good chance house the first house was built then too. They have a lot of the same lines. 

The record on Portland Maps only lists 1922 as a build date and it doesn’t specify if that year applies to all three houses. Either way, I will miss their presence. 

Here’s a side view of where the recycling center used to be. Portland Maps says this garage (it probably was one before it was the recycling center) was built in 1950. I can’t tell if this property was owned by the same person who owned the houses, but my guess is yes. If so, that person made a tidy profit on this sale.

The recycling center (Far West Fibers) closed soon after China stopped taking plastic from the USA, citing too much contamination. It was too bad, as this was a handy place for me to drop off the plastic that couldn’t be recycled curbside. 

Bonus picture! The property at 1936 NE Alberta. It’s a bit of office/shop space in the middle of a residential neighborhood. These are always a fun find for me. They are almost never shops or offices anymore, as our shopping patterns have changed enough that they are not viable as neighborhood shops.

Today, though, I was even more excited to find this detail.

Exposed: the previous shell of the building. It looks like sometime–I’m guessing mid-twentieth century–this building was revitalized to make it more modern. The sides were built out to make the structure more box-like and the brick was added.

If it weren’t a little too dark, you could see the former slanted roof which has been covered by the more modern flat roof.

Despite its office-looking appearance, Portland Maps lists this as a single family residential building. It was bought in 1994 for $135,000 (about $236k today) and was sold in 2017 for $695,000. The owners live on site, so I’m not sure what their plan is. Live in it? Demo and rebuild? It’s a big enough lot they could. There’s nothing on Next Portland’s development map, so we shall have to see.

Either way, I’m glad I got a chance to peek at what was there before.

An observation, a moment of joy, a moment of sorrow

Here’s what I saw on my walk to Laurie and Burt’s house.

We last saw this house in July, it having been stripped down to the just the front facade. It is now rising up again, adding a new level. I look forward to seeing the final product.

I gasped with joy when I walked around the corner and this beautiful mural came into view. I want a beautiful mural on my house too!

The Brigadoon House. I tell the story of this house in July 2014.  Short version: while partaking of my morning jog during my first years in the neighborhood, I found a house I loved. And then I couldn’t find it again. Where had it gone? Had it been torn down?  Disappeared for 100 years? Eventually I figured out I was choosing the wrong street and the house was still there!

Today however, it was not.

I hate to see houses like this go, because I love sub-1000 square foot houses. According to Portland Maps, this house (7033 N. Fenwick) is 480 square feet. Or was.  It sold for $150,000 in 2009 and–this is why we have so many homeless people in Portland–$285,000 in September of 2017.  

Fun PortlandMaps extra: historic plumbing permits, including one from 1942.

I will miss the Brigadoon House, and I’m sorry it did not survive long enough for me to buy and live in it.

NW Hoyt & 18th not long for this world? Or will it stay?

I snapped a picture of this building and then did some research on what’s happening with it. As usual the Next Portland site was very helpful.

1727 NW Hoyt was originally built as a maternity hospital, most recently was an office building and has been vacant since 2007. In 2014 the developer applied for a demolition permit, but was rebuffed.  The most recent update is from 2015, with talk of converting it to boutique hotel rooms.  It’s certainly got good parking for that purpose. However, the time that has passed has me wondering if that is what will come to pass.

Residential among the commercial

This is a bank of three houses at the corner of NE Couch and 8th. They’re surrounded by a bunch of industrial buildings and I’m surprised they have survived this long.

However, they do not have much in the way of backyards. Instead, their former backyards are now a parking lot for the apartment building behind them.

The most awesome Portland Maps site tells me that all three houses are owned by Volunteers of America. One was bought in 1989 for $63,000, another in 2001 for $450,000.  There’s no data on the sale of the third one.

I would assume that these are either used as halfway houses, or other things for VOA’s many programs, so perhaps not entirely residential, but yet more commercial among the commercial.

The North Park Blocks Playground as we knew it is no more.

For more than nine years I worked for The Emerson School and for more than nine years I did recess duty at the playground across the street from the school. I’ve watched kids play every imaginable game in this space. I’ve sat with a child stuck in the play structure while the firemen came with the jaws of life to move the steel enough so she could pull her leg out. I’ve watched kids year after year play the game where they try to catch falling leaves in the autumn and try to catch whirling seed pods in the spring.

And now the playground as I knew it is no more.

8/3/18

The steel play structure and the swings came down first.

8/8/18

But the object I called the ziggurut needed to be sledgehammered bit by bit.

8/9/18

They pulled up the soft landing material.

And broke up all the concrete.  This cupola-type object was a top the ziggurat. Kids who were good climbers would like to hide in the peak, wedging themselves in all four corners, Spider-man-style. They weren’t allowed.

So far this lamp is staying.

It looks like they’re going for a totally clean slate, as evidenced by these large hunks of concrete.

I’m not sad to see the playground being revitalized. It was built in 1990, which was my sophomore year of high school, which was a long time ago. It’s had a good run and now it’s time for a new way for children to play.

Also, because The Emerson School has moved to a new location, this doesn’t affect how recess will work. They’ve been talking about redoing the playground for years and it was always a bit of a conundrum, trying to figure out an alternative place for the children to play.