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.

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.

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.

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.

Tiny House Expo

For my birthday, Matt bought me a ticket to the Tiny House Expo.  This was a very good present, as I love tiny houses. At the expo, people had a chance to tour several tiny houses as well as visit vendors.

I went early, which was a very good move. Tiny houses don’t hold very many people, which meant even at 9:30 in the morning, there were lines to get into each tiny house.

I loved the curved roof on this model.

Apologies for the blurry picture.  This model had just sold.  It cost $150,000.  (Yeesh!)

This person apologized because he forgot to bring his step.  This was fine by me, as I could easily take the big step up into the house.

Inside the step-less house.  I loved how the kitchen was not skimpy.

I liked the shed roof design of this house.  Plus, this company, Tiny Smart House, has a very fun Build-it-Yourself Program where you can build your tiny house on-site and take advantage of workshops, discounted group material buying.  So smart!

Here’s a tiny house camp trailer, which you can follow on Instagram @tinyhousecamptrailer.  They had a lot packed into a small space.

Here is a tiny house made out of a shipping container. It was very sleek.

I really liked how open and airy these big windows made this house feel.

Here’s the floor plan

A lot of houses were using this water system.

The teardrop camper people were there too.  I love me a good teardrop camper, especially one as nice as this one.

Hiddenbed of Oregon had a very good design.  During the day: desk.
At night: bed.  Nicely done. The desk stays flat, so you don’t have to disassemble and reassemble every night. Cost for a double bed? $2100.

You could also have your own geodesic dome.  I have affection for domes, as they were not uncommon in the landscape of my 80s childhood.

Overall, I had a great time.  Thanks Matt.

Also! The square lights at the Convention Center! So fun!  And my mind boggles at how all those things got into this building.  Convention center logistics must be no joke.

Morris Marks House moved

This house used to sit near the corner of SW Main Street and SW 13th.  That location is very close to the First Unitarian Church, so I used to see it often, coming and going from and to church.  During that time, it seemed to go from minimally occupied, to unoccupied, and I crossed my fingers that it would survive as it has incredibly good bones.

As you may guess from this photo, it did!  It was moved to a grand location where it overlooks the cars exiting 405.  The Oregonian covered the move (because who doesn’t love a good house moving?) and you can read the September 30 story about the moving of the Morris Marks house by clicking this link.

I look forward to its restoration.

Goodbye to this stucco house

This is not my usual route, so I was happy to be passing by before the whole thing was gone.  Here is a nice single family house with a good-sized yard located almost at the corner of Rosa Parks & Interstate.  It’s right next door to Arbor Lodge Coffee.

What will replace it?  Very large single family with no yard? Multi-family with no parking?  It’s either one or the other. Portland tear-downs are predictable.