A very good thing for the Cully Neigborhood

When a former strip club and front for a prostitution ring is torn down in order to build affordable housing, it’s a very good day for the neighborhood.

Even better? When a bunch of small organizations were the ones who bought the property in the first place, because they knew that good piece of land would be better served by a different sort of building.

Three houses on one skinny lot

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.

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.

Portland inundated with electric scooters

The electric scooter companies have rolled out their product. And they are everywhere.  They are all over downtown and I took this picture at 102nd Avenue. My friend told me she’s seen them as far as 168th street.

To ride the scooters, you download an app, and then pay $1.00 to unlock one, and fifteen cents per minute to ride. Electric scooters are supposed to be ridden on streets, not sidewalks and every rider is supposed to wear a helmet.

So far the riders I’ve seen have been good about staying off sidewalks (though while biking, I did encounter one riding the wrong way in the bike line) and very few of them wear helmets.

I’m curious how much a scooter costs the company to purchase. I’m guessing that they are cheap enough that they pay for themselves after a few rides. Or perhaps people are throwing gobs of money at this new venture. I look forward to seeing how these items integrate with our transportation system, though I don’t see myself using this option on a regular basis.