I hadn’t seen this house for years

This house is on Montana between Lombard and Rosa Parks, also known as the walk to tap dance class.  When I moved to Kenton in 2007, the lot was a little overgrown, but in the 10 years following, blackberry bushes took over and the house disappeared behind the brambles.

The blackberries have been cleared away, giving me my first view of the house in years.

It’s pretty beat up and on a big lot that is very close to the train, the Interstate and two grocery stores.  This house isn’t long for this world.  (Going to that website gave me no information about this particular house.)

Saying goodbye to vintage apartments

I missed taking a picture of these units before the deconstruction began.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell if what I’m looking at is renovation or deconstruction and I miss my window.

This was a five or six-unit complex on Interstate between Rosa Parks and Lombard. It wasn’t in the greatest of condition, but probably could have been rehabbed.

Instead, we’re going for deconstruction.  Which is too bad.  Look at this great fireplace detail!

Stoops

The siding used to be yellow

I am interested to see what replaces it.  I guarantee that whatever appears will not be in the financial realm of the tenants who used to live here.

Date: Portland City Walk. But in Vancouver.

For our date, Matt and I did one of the walks in the delightful book Portland City Walks by Laura O. Foster.  We did the walk that is not a Portland walk at all, but a Vancouver walk.  It was a beautiful–if cold and windy–day.

On the way there.  Traffic.

Crossing into Washington.

This building at Historic Fort Vancouver was decorated for the holidays.  It is available for rent for weddings and parties.

Gorgeous house, Fort Vancouver.

That’s Marshall of the Marshall Plan. He spent time at Fort Vancouver.

View of the I-5 bridge.

Matt, standing in downtown Vancouver’s Sculpture Garden.  I had no idea downtown Vancouver had a sculpture garden.

Pretty church, all dressed up for the holiday.

I liked the brickwork patterns used to block off the former windows.

A mural of old time-y downtown Vancouver.

Palm tree!  Sparkly stucco house!  Red trim!  Very exciting!
After this picture, it became dark very rapidly.  It was a good walk.

Walking from the #4 to lunch

I had a lunch date and took the #4, then walked through the Mississippi neighborhood to get to my destination.  Here are two things I saw.

There was a period in American home ownership, when reusing pipes as boarders/fences/rails was a thing.  Here is a nice example.  My grandfather also reused pipes for handrails.

I love the sliding nature of this fence. It’s not tipping over.  Rather, the slats were the slightest bit off, and then kept getting worse and worse.  There’s a story behind the creation of this fence.

Saturday morning walk to MLK

We had Friday off from work because we had a work retreat on Saturday.  It was at the Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg and there was carpooling involved. I needed to get to a meeting spot on MLK and decided that this morning was a good time for a longer walk.  Here’s what I saw along the way.

Once upon a time, this lot had a blue house on it. I took a picture of that house (but didn’t tag it properly and now I can’t find it. I also have a view from the alley of the initial stages.  Now it has eight townhouses.  From an infill perspective, I very much like this development.  Why?  Each unit has a parking space.  Also I think they look like small places. Better to have one house torn down and replaced with eight small homes than one huge one. I haven’t been successful in finding a listing, possibly because these have already all sold, and attempts to spy through windows failed because people live there.  But I would like to see the inside of one of these units.IMG_5803 IMG_5804

I think the sudden designation of a street is a little bit of overkill, though.

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I’ve admired this house for some years now.  Full basement, okay sized yard, nice mid-century design.  IMG_5806

Once upon a time North Portland had a convent.  (Maybe more than one, what do I know?)  And then the convent closed and eventually the land surrounding it was plotted into owner-occupied and rental housing.  But you can still see the original building.  And people still live in it.IMG_5807

What do you suppose happened to the statuary that was in this alcove?IMG_5808

Brand new alleyway!  New to me, at least.IMG_5809

Interesting design here.IMG_5810 IMG_5811

This elm tree is not long for this world.IMG_5812 IMG_5813

Another alleyway, this one with contrails. And power lines.IMG_5816

Good bones on this house.  It needs some love, though.IMG_5819

Dead car wash.IMG_5820

Dead building.  But such excellent mid-century design.  I think it could still come back.IMG_5823

When I moved to Boston, one of the markers that I lived in a big city was the presence of the Boys & Girls clubs everywhere.  I knew about them from commercials featuring famous people who once hung out at them.  Like this one.  Which is from 2011, and thus not very old.  But watch it and see if you don’t get all teary.  Also I feel like Denzel Washington has done voicework for Boys & Girls clubs for many many years.  Ha!  The internet confirms my belief.  You can even watch his first ad from 1993.  Prepare to get all teary.  Or, as we called it back then (due to Saturday Night Live): verkelmpt.

And Portland has it’s own Boys and Girls club. But just one location. We’re not that big of a city.

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Goodbye to a landmark along the way to Fred Meyer

There is one of those great U-shaped apartment complexes on my way to Fred Meyer.  This particular one has three separate structures around a grassy green space.  I’ve long admired it. (And, if truth be told, fantasized about buying the whole thing, renovating one of the structures into a single family house, renting out the other structures and having an amazing garden in the green space. You know, with all my spare money.  And time.)

At any rate, the entire time I’ve lived in the Kenton neighborhood, the same couple has rented this apartment.  I walked by today and they were gone!  The apartment is empty.

I never met this couple, but I enjoyed seeing the poster they hung on the wall of some country star. I always thought it was Toby Keith, but I can’t be sure.  And they had one of those old-timey photos you get taken at the fair. It was framed.  I liked the way they shifted their furniture around every December, to accommodate their Christmas Tree.  I maybe liked this couple so much because they always had their blinds open so I could observe these things as I walked back and forth running my errands.  IMG_5791

I hope their move was a good one, and they are happy in their new place.

Say goodbye to two houses and easy street parking.

My neighbor who knows what’s going on in the neighborhood told me the sad news.  There’s going to be a development of mixed-use apartments like we saw with the site of the former City of Roses Motel.  I don’t have specifications yet, but I’m guessing there won’t be parking, or much parking included.  Given that this is one block north of our house, Matt and I can probably say goodbye to easy street parking.

And we shall soon say goodbye to three structures including this beautiful duplex, which is still in great shape.  No word on if the tree will survive.IMG_5187

Here’s the duplex from the other side.  One of the tenants, now long gone, was the first person to welcome me to the neighborhood, back in 2007.IMG_5188

The commercial building will also go.  I had some plans to tear it down and make a big garden. 🙂  But that won’t be happening.IMG_5189

And this pretty little house, which my neighbor says is also really nice inside.IMG_5190

Which means we will also lose this lilac tree.IMG_5192

Again, I must be careful in my lamenting as my current duplex residence also replaced a single family house.  And it didn’t include parking either.  I’ve been thinking more about this issue lately because the City Club just did a study about affordable housing and the membership voted to amend the report to re-zone single family neighborhoods to increase density.  And there was this very intriguing interview with Sonja Trauss of SF BARF saying yes, big projects should be built.  I found myself agreeing with her logic, but also resisting because I hate to see houses that are well cared for destroyed for something big and ugly and usually hugely over-priced.

Some observations of neighborhood houses.

Love, love, LOVE this vintage pickup truck and the strange reverse tent-trailer it’s pulling. They match!  And it looks like they’ve matched for decades!IMG_4700

I love this house, because the guy who owns it is the guy I aspire to be, keeping everything neat as a pin.  The shrubbery is trimmed just so, the grass is clipped, the driveway is shiny clean and I’d be willing to bet not a single maintenance task inside has been deferred.  Sadly, I am nowhere near this accomplished.

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I went out of town for a week and a house disappeared.   Here is what has replaced it.  Two huge houses with no yard and costing much more than I’ll ever be able to afford.  (Not that I would want a house that big.)

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Here’s the view from the back.

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And today’s “Only in Portland” sighting:

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