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.

End of life for this tree

There will be a new building at the corner of 12th & Flanders. Looking at the sketch it looks like it will be a lot taller than the buildings that surround it.

The height isn’t as much of a problem as the fact that this lovely tree will be cut down in order to build another tall building.

I don’t always feel sad about big trees coming down. I was downright giddy when my neighbor cut down the large tree that dropped a ton of annoying branches and served as a home for many aphids that dropped sticky substances on the car.

But I’ve always liked the way this tree shades the parking lot and towers over the intersection.

Though it is old, it doesn’t look old enough to be a heritage tree, so we shall eventually lose it.

The Emerson School: No longer at 105 NW Park Ave.

Here’s the building where I spent nine years of my working life.  And as of last week, it’s a building that no longer houses the school I used to work for.

That’s right!  After 15 years at this location, The Emerson School has found a new home in Northwest Portland.

In moving closer to get a picture of the “For Lease” sign I laughed at the site of the wagon wheel, which somehow managed to escape both the junk collectors and the movers. I guess the next tenant will get to decide what to do with it. (I don’t think there will be a next tenant. I’m guessing this building will be pulled down.)

A nice time capsule of the color the room used to be (fuscha and turquoise) before Bre repainted it a more soothing color.

I am so incredibly glad I did not have to do anything to facilitate this move (two days of the junk people and five days of the actual movers) and I’m very excited for The Emerson School’s new home.

Comfy Inn: The motel is a changing

Stuff is going on with the former Comfy Inn. I first profiled it on the Orange Door website in this post. The motel is even featured in the first three pictures, so you don’t have to scroll far.

In the years since that post, it’s had a stint as some sort of transitional-type housing for women with children. But now, it’s in the process of being disassembled.

I assumed this was going to become another tall mixed-use building, but it seems that that is not the case. My favorite website Next Portland tells me that:

Early Assistance has been requested by DECA Architecture for a project at 8355 N Interstate Ave:

Conversion of motel to apartments. Minor changes include: New walls, doors, lighting, paint, signage, and new finishes.

This is interesting. We shall see what they will charge for apartments in a converted motel. And how will the kitchen situation work?

Small house probably not long for this world

This house is right next to the Bethel Lutheran Church, but it looks too small to have ever been a rectory or clergy house.  I’m guessing that if there was a rectory, it was in the space the parking lot is now taking up, behind the church.

This house was built in 1927 and is 502 square feet. It was advertised for sale “as is” and said it would have to be a cash buyer on the sign. That usually means a tear down  It sold for $235,000 on April 19, so expect that soon there will be a monolith sprouting here. It’s got some nice details that I will miss.  Not to mention the loss of yet another sub-1000 square foot house. Not everyone wants a big place.