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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.