Another house in Kenton is headed for the wrecking ball

This little blue house has always been one of my favorites on this street. But it will soon not be a house any longer.

The house at 1350 N. Watts was built in 1925, has 730 square feet, plus an unfinished basement and a 500 square foot detached garage.

The assessor detail on PortlandMaps tells me that it sold in April for $330,000. It’s prior sale was in 2003 and was for $142,000. (O! If only I could have bought when I first got to Portland!) It sold for $79,900 in 1997 and $26,000 in 1994.

Goodbye little blue house, with the unfortunately pruned apple tree in the front yard. I will miss you.

Fence creeping closer

We turn to the housing development down the street to see how it progresses. We illustrate the progress with blurry pictures (sorry).

This house used to have a full driveway. It now has a skinny sidewalk. As I am concerned about how this development will affect parking in front of my house (which does not have a driveway because I am also part of the problem) this isn’t great news. I assume the house is staying (but perhaps not?) and eventually those two units will be occupied again and will need parking, just like all the new units will.

And when I say “units will be occupied” I mean by rent-paying people. The squatters who have been living in it don’t come with cars. You can see where the trash has been emptied from the house. Again.

A view from the opposite corner. I can’t remember how high this development will go, but it is probable that eventually the house will not be visible.

Affordable housing coming to Kenton

The commercial building that was most recently a garage has been removed, as has the single family house that used to sit next to it. Next up? A 24-unit Habitat for Humanity structure.

And affordable housing is being built on an empty lot at the edge of downtown Kenton.

I’m excited to have both of these developments happening near me.* If there’s one thing this city needs, it’s more affordable housing. As someone who is only a homeowner because of Proud Ground, a housing program for first-time home buyers, I know how much of a difference affordable and stable housing can make in a person’s life.

*Which is not to say I don’t have worries that our easy-to-find street parking will disappear once that 24-unit Habitat for Humanity development is done and occupied. I would LOVE if the City Council would take some steps to establish an on-street parking permit system in Portland neighborhoods.

One More Walk

After the deluge of yesterday afternoon, look what I woke up to:

There was also a “wintry mix” forecast, which I experienced when I took one more walk before checking out of my room. Wintry mix! In May!

I had a bit of time to kill before my flight so I took one last walk of Minnesota neighborhoods.

I found this sculpture when getting to the start of the walk. Note the black framing in pictures is due to my camera’s lens not retracting all the way. I bump it open when I notice, but there are times I don’t notice.

New building going up here.

A grand vista of the art museum.

And a picture of the newer wing.

There were so many good apartment buildings in Minneapolis! I love the arches on this one, and clearly so do the current owners, given the name.

Behind the art museum is a college.

Another of those houses that make me weak in the knees.

I love all three of the signs on this sign. What happened on the 1989 Arbor Day???

In Portland it sometimes it seems that every single block hosts a houseless person. But this was one of the only sign of homelessness I spied in the Twin Cities. I saw people who looked like they were down on their luck, but they didn’t look like they were also living in a tent on the sidewalk or an old RV.

Informational sign telling us of a huge lovely house that is no more.

Look at this little gem!

And across the street this great church!

Some beautiful stone.

And a sort of mini castle.

I loved seeing a few different stages of development here. The three on the left, probably all built around the same time. Then the two on the right, also probably built around the same time. Were they built before or after the freeway was put in? For the first set, definitely before, for the second set, maybe after?

From the looks of that dirt pile, there is a big freeway project happening.

Gorgeous little mansion down the street from my lodgings.

Statue and center that are directly across the street from that lovely little mansion.

Walk over, I packed up. I left the book of neighborhood walks at the house, but first I added notes pointing out the three walks within walking distance of the address.

And then I took the Green Line all the way to downtown St. Paul. On the way there I looked out the window on one side of the car.

On the way back, I looked out of the opposite window.

I learned that I have some St. Paul exploring to do. Its downtown has a great number of beautiful buildings. Also, I saw the MPR (Minnesota Public Radio) headquarters!

After that, it was back to the airport for a flight home.

What a lovely trip!

A walk in the Phillips neighborhood

I killed time between the defense and the big party by talking one of the walks in my walking tours book. This was of the Phillips Neighborhood.

I was staying in Ventura Village, but that’s the next neighborhood over. On my walk to the start of the walk, I snapped a picture of this church, where you can attend services in Norwegian!

When you have too much car for your garage…

Basically, Minneapolis is chock full of houses that leave me weak in the knees. Here is one.

All you need to know about Phillips.

Along with a close-up of the neighborhood boundaries.

Most of the walk was on Park Avenue, which has been redeveloped many times over the years. Thus, it was not unusual to see this lineup:

A grand building of apartment homes, built when that was a thing rich people lived in.

Right next to that, a 60s or 70s development.

And right next to that, a small office building.

Here were also huge mansions, like this one, which is now the American Swedish Institute, which I visited in 2015.

And this one:

And this one, which has moved on to a new life as a mosque. I did like that about Minneapolis. A lot of the grand houses have been converted to office space.

Very fancy looking office space, like this one, which houses the American Indian Services.

I liked the look of this stucco, and couldn’t decide if it was the pattern, or stucco suffering from neglect.

Look at this great church!

And these beautiful houses!

It wasn’t unusual to come across these views of fin de siecle houses with downtown towers looming in the background.

Look at the turret on this house!

It seems that bicycle theft is a problem here too.

Here’s an interesting corner. An older apartment building:

And across the street an apartment tower with its first four stories attempting to blend. This works for me.

And then this other corner with some new contstruction totally blending with a new tower looming in the background.

This is a pretty red house with a widow’s walk.

This might be my favorite picture from this walk. A nondescript low brick building next to a beautiful stone house, with a colorful Hannapin Healthcare buiding nearby and the prow of the football stadium poking up in the back.

I could have spent a solid week wandering through Minneapolis and St. Paul neighborhoods.

Getting to the defense

My first full day in Minneapolis was also the day of Sara’s defense. I decided to use the Nice Ride bikes to get myself to campus.

On the same street where I was saying was this gorgeous apartment building.

My neighborhood had a lot of churches in it, including two across the street from one another.

About four blocks from my house were the bikes.

I checked one out and was on my way. Look at the great bike infrastructure they have! I rode bike lanes the entire way to campus.

This bridge took me over the freeway.

Here I have a great view of the Mighty Mississippi.

I got to campus quite easily using the Google Maps directions. From that point, I had a bit of trouble finding a docking station. The campus is large. I ended up docking at the Student Union because I knew where that was and vaguly in which direction it was located and then power-walked over to the defense.

Thank goodness I’d visited campus on previous trips.

The orange sign says that a house will go.

The orange sign was hanging on the gate outside the door of the church near my house. Because that church is within 300 yards of a demolition, it got a warning.

I felt very sad, because I thought this beautiful house had escaped the demolition fate. So I took a bunch of pictures.

And then I eventually figured out that the address said Kilpatrick street, not Interstate. Somehow, this house has survived! You can see the temporary chain link fence where they are cutting off the backyard.

Unfortunately, the smaller house around the corner is the one that will be demoed, along with the building on the corner. You can see a picture of these buildings by going to this post. And I suppose that means the lilac tree will also be on it’s way out. I hate to lose a good lilac tree.

You can see what might be coming by reading this post.

Vacant Demolished

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.

6822 N. Interstate for sale

A.K.A not long for this world.

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.

Cascading Home Improvements

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.