Requiem: The Below-Thirty-Degrees Coat

Is there anything better than a plaid wool coat?

This was my coat for when it gets really cold* in Portland. It’s wool construction makes it super warm, and I pair it with real gloves (not the $1 stretchy guys I usually wear) and a hat that covers my ears and neck.  Then, I’m ready for any sub-30 degree weather. (Portland rarely sees temperatures in the 20’s and even more rarely does the mercury drop to the teens.)

However, my hips have exceeded the capacity of this coat, and thus I am sending it off to be consigned.  Hopefully, the next person will love it as much as I do.

*I realize that Portland’s “really cold” is laughable when compared to other areas.  I’ve lived in colder places, and had more intense coats.   But intense coats are not needed here.

Three sentence movie reviews: The Good Place, Season 1

The writing sparkled in this 13-episode first-season comedy. While Bell and Danson brought their usual top-of-the-line performances, I also greatly enjoyed William Jackson Harper as Chidi, Jameela Jamil as Tahani, D’Arcy Carden as Janet and Manny Jacinto as Jason Mendoza.  In short, great cast and great acting, plus funny premise and sharp writing equals quality TV viewing.

Cost: monthly Netflix charge
Where watched: at home, with Matt.

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Three sentence movie review: King Kong

This movie excels in how lifelike King Kong is; the way his eyes were animated, I believed he was a huge creature.  I didn’t not enjoy it, however, as it is the kind of conquering-with-violence tale that hurts my heart to watch.* Sadly, this movie had the largest number of Black people I will probably see while watching my Scratch-off 100 Essential Movies; they  all played “primitives.”

Cost: free
Where watched: at home

*Me: Sweetheart, if you encountered a dinosaur that had long been thought was extinct, what would your first reaction be?”
Matt: Um, I guess document it?”
Me: I know, right?

It also made no sense, Mr. Kong fighting all those dinosaurs.  Doesn’t he regularly encounter them on Skull Island?  It’s not a very big island.  They would have all killed each other if they fight like that all the time.

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Do you want to scratch your movie poster itch? Get the scratch off poster here.

(Pssst.  Citzen Kane spoiler alert! Things will be revealed in the Citizen Kane picture below. Be warned.)

Not only did I not enjoy the movie, the picture was wrong when I scratched it off.  Even before watching the film, I could have told the artist those were biplanes, not helicopters.  What’s the drama in a hovering helicopter?

This was predictable, but nice.
I need to find a decent scratcher.  The butter knife I’m using takes off a layer of shine along with the silver part.  I have a great one store in my Christmas stocking, but that’s at my aunt’s house.

The rest of the walk

This particular Friday, I took off of work for one of my favorite kind of no-work days: a day with no plan.  After blogging, I decided to walk to the ballot drop box to turn in my ballot.  That turned into a very long walk, because I further decided to walk down Interstate to take some pictures of some buildings that would be destroyed to build a mixed-use complex. You can read that post here.  I also combined this with looking for Help Wanted signs. Not for me, but because Job Spotter pays me in Amazon credit for each one I find.  I’ll have more about that at the end of the month.  In the meantime, here are my pictures from my walk.

When I moved to Kenton, this block was a KFC.  It went out of business after maybe a year.  Eventually the building was pulled down and the lot sat with a chain link fence around it for some time. But now: apartments.  A lot of them.  No parking either, which is unfortunate, as Lombard does not have any street parking, so all of these apartment dweller’s cars will be parked on neighborhood side streets.  This is turning our two-way side streets into defacto one-ways because there are solid lines of cars on both sides of the street making it impossible for two cars to pass each other.  The city should have started regulating neighborhood parking 10 years ago, but they did not, and so things are going to get very bad before they get better.

This was a one-story building that sat unused for all of my time living here.  In the last year or two, it was pulled down. And now its a lot with a chain link fence. It’s right across the street from the Rosa Parks Max stop, so I’m assuming it will become a mixed-use complex soon, though there isn’t anything on Next Portland.

Here is another thing that affects street parking.  Putting a six-unit apartment building on a lot where one house was.  This takes a structure that most likely had off-street parking and turns it into one that will probably bring 5+ cars parked in the street.  I know that the idea is that we are so great at transit that one doesn’t need to own a car, but the reality is that we are pretty good at transit and most people do own cars.  When my company conducted focus groups of one part of the city where the no-car thing is supposed to be easy, all but one of the 21 people had cars. Some had more than one car per household  Yet all were living in an area that is being built up without parking because supposedly no one needs cars.  I’d like to see a better system, one that doesn’t assume free street parking for people who do have a car and don’t have on-property parking. (And that includes my own household, one with no off-street parking, two people and one car.)

I would guess this guy is a scrap metal dealer as his truck and trailer are always loaded with metal things.  Incidentally, he lives in a four-unit, one story apartment complex, the type that are being torn down to build 24+ unit places that he probably could not afford to rent.  Here’s hoping that his complex doesn’t get sold to developers.

This used to be the site of the bowling alley.  It will now be mixed-use apartments.  Early on, a sign posted showed a swimming pool was included, but I’m not certain that will be part of the final product.

A very specific photo taken for a person who doesn’t actually read this blog, this is the front office of Edge, our old gym. It’s now an auto repair place. I was surprised to see how hip it looks.  Also, I’m pretty sure that’s the same couch that was there when Edge was there.  Either they bought the exact same kind and color (it’s Ikea, so that’s a possiblity) or Edge left it.

This was a home with a storefront facing Interstate, and a Taco Time.  It is now a pit. It will soon be more mixed-used apartment buildings.  I’m sad that I didn’t take a picture of either of the previous buildings, because the house/storefront was fairly unique to Interstate, and the Taco Time was in good shape. It was a leftover landmark from the time before Taco Bell became ubiquitous, a.k.a. my childhood.

This was, once upon a time, a single story building that had a convenience store–or maybe a cigarette shop?–in it.

I can no longer remember what used to be here.  Maybe a house.  These are not-so-new (but not older than five years) and are, according to the flyer, not apartments you can rent, but a LIFESTYLE.  Cue the eyeroll.
Zillow estimates they are $1075 to $1565, which gets you no parking and no washer/dryer, or a laundry room.  The website recommends using transit, but the person writing the copy clearly isn’t interested in taking transit, as they mention the #72 and the #4.  The #72 is close by. The #4 is far, and shares a stop with the #75. They entirely skip over the #44, which is between the #72 and the #4.

Also from the website: Our controlled access building offers a sleek, well-lit focal bike storage area. Your bike will be art, not just transportation on two wheels!

This has been here the longest of the buildings on this post.  It used to be the site of the Camelot Motel.  It is income-restricted (I think) and the mixed-use part of the building house the offices of Proud Ground, which is the organization that made it possible to buy our home.

This style of infill apartments drives me crazy.  I would love if they could design something more complicated than: box.

Here’s an update on the spot I featured in February 2017. My new favorite site Next Portland tells me this will be a 4-story, 30 unit apartment, with no parking. The kicker?  The two adjacent lots are also being developed into a “new 3-story multifamily apartment building with 19 one-bedroom dwelling units” and also quite possibly a “new 3-story 6-unit development”  That side street went from one 8-unit apartment and one home, to 49 for-sure units with a possibility of 55.  That’s a lot of people and their needs to add to 1.5 blocks.  Again, I’m for density, but what I don’t see, is the city addressing the parking issue.  While this is built right on the Yellow Line Max, that does not mean that 50+ units will be rented to people without cars.

Looking down the block on Dekum.

From that same site.  This is the kind of thing a certain type of people will look at and mutter about government over-regulation. I found it delightfully inventive.

And there’s yet more construction on Interstate!  This is going to be 51 units of affordable housing.  Finally, we get to the affordable housing!  Now known as Charlotte Rutherford Place, this will have, “51 new units of affordable housing …serving low-income households earning up to 60% of the median family income, with a portion of units reserved for those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. On-site resident services will include culturally specific recovery and employment support through partnerships with Miracles Club, NARA, and the Imani Program.”

There will be on-site surface parking, but I’m guessing that means about 10 spaces, not enough for all units, or even half of them.  Again, the city needs to get out in front of the parking thing.  When I lived in Boston, all the neighborhoods had permit parking.  At any rate, it’s nice to see a small iota of affordable housing, among all the other developments.

Guess how much this house costs.

Here’s a potential new feature for the blog:  A guess at the current real estate prices in Portland, Oregon.  This is a 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom home that sits on Interstate very close to the Rosa Parks/Interstate intersection.  It has a driveway, and from my observation, it was refurbished when it sold before–about five years ago.

What do you think the price of this house is?

Did you guess $685,000?  Then you are a winner.

Upholstery Block

Riding my  bike to work, I noticed this sign.  When I’m biking, I don’t like to stop, so I resolved to come back at a later date with my camera.  A random Friday off from work and a delay in demolition gave me my opportunity.

We’re looking at the block between N Webster and N. Alberta on Interstate.  My new favorite website Next Portland, tells me this block will turn into the Aniva Apartments.  There is a picture of what it will look like. It will have 90 units and tuck-under parking according to the building permit.

Here’s what’s here now, from Alberta Street:

And here’s the other end of the block, from Webster street:

This upholstery shop was here when I moved to Kenton in 2007.  It was one of two on Interstate.  Both have closed now, but there is now one on Lombard, and one in Kenton, so our net loss of upholstery shops is zero.

I took a picture of the backyard.  Soon, that house on the right won’t have much light on that side.  They will also get to enjoy a bunch of people being able to look right into their backyard.

This is the only house that will come down.  It occurs to me I should take a walk down Interstate and capture all the current houses. When I once told someone I lived on Interstate, she said, “I didn’t know there were any houses on Interstate.” I responded that there were a lot, but perhaps in 50 years there won’t be any.  Best to make a mark of them now, just like we did for the motels of Interstate.

The parking lot for the building on the corner of Alberta and Interstate.  Someone was living in the back corner of it, before they put up the fence.

This building will also go, which suprised me, as someone recently put some money into renovating it (newly paved parking lot, new paint job, general upgrades.) There was a coffee shop there for a bit, but it closed, probably for lack of customers. Ironically, once the new building goes up, I would put good money on it having a coffee shop.

There will also be a new building happening across the street. Proud Ground, the people who own the land my house sits on, will be developing the block across the street.  It hasn’t made it through review yet, so isn’t on the Next Portland Map, but the Portland Observer reports that 41 of the 50 units would be Proud Ground condominiums. It would also give priority to residents displaced by the gentrification of North/Northeast Portland.

Here’s what the block looks like now, from the Webster side:

From the Alberta side:

The cleaners and the shop with the yellow awning were in operation until recently.

Lots like this–with surface parking in front and the stores set back from the street–are in short supply on Interstate. It’s hard to see, but there is housing on this block already.  The building that houses the convenience store is hooked to another building running parallel to Interstate. It has apartments on the upper levels. It took me nearly a decade to notice them.

J’s Market is still open, though I’m guessing it won’t be for long.

No one has come to remove this phone booth, so I guess it will eventually be the job of the people who level the lot.


Payoff! January report

My total payment in December: $1,115.48

It was another very good payoff month, due to something called “Christmas.” In my family, we make or buy a small token for each person (my gift this year: potato focaccia bread and a calendar magnet) and then take the rest of the money we would have spent on presents, throw it in together, divide it up and then each buy ourselves one big present. This year, my present to myself was another chunk of debt paid off.

This month I paid $1,107.68 toward the principal and $7.80 toward the interest. The money for the extra payments came from $393.16 originally budgeted, $37.00 I didn’t use on my gym dues because my gym was closed the last week and I opted to skip the second-to-last week and not pay until the new year. I also had $15.18 left over in dining out, almost $60 left over in my Christmas budget. My Christmas gift this year totaled $460 (that’s $360 from the pot-splitting and $100 because Santa still brings me money.)

I don’t have anything down on my list of things not bought, so it was another good month of not wanting things.  I’m not having any roadblocks right now. It’s getting very exciting to get that much closer to the end of this goal.

I’m also pretty excited that my original budgeted amount was so high.($103.67 for the regular payment plus $393.16 for the goal for a total of $496.83. It bodes well for my accelerated savings plan that I will begin once I get this debt paid off.

Sunrise for the new year

I had some problems with my helmet, which meant I didn’t ride my bike to work today as planned. But that meant that I got to walk over the Steel Bridge and see this glorious sunrise.

There was a train stopped on the bridge, and I thought, “I should take a picture of the sunrise through the windows of the train.”  And then I did nothing with that thought, which was unfortunate, because when I did decide I wanted to try that, the trains that came by were moving and thus I got blurry photos.  These two were my best.  You can see where the good photo could have been.

If 50% of 2018 can equal this sunrise, it’s going to be a very good year.

(There was another good one the next day, too!)