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.

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.

The temporary chain link fence in Portland, Oregon: a harbinger of deconstruction to come.

It’s become a familiar sight in Portland. Chain link fence anchored by cement blocks surrounding an unused building or house. Soon the space behind the fence will be transformed. The buildings or houses will disappear and something newer and taller will grow in its place.

Here’s what Next Portland reported on 3/29/2016:

Early Assistance has been requested for a project at 8106 N Interstate Ave:

Proposal is for a new five story building with 120 apartment units including 64 group living units with shared kitchens. Proposed 33% parking ratio minus a 25% bike parking reduction will be provided in an undergrd garage.

And here’s what it says on 4/20/2018

Early Assistance has been requested by Habit for Humanity for a project at 8124 N Interstate Ave:

More than likely – future code -with not a lot of impact to the site/project by the changes: New construction of 30 units of multi-dwelling housing development. It will be two (2) 3-story buildings to be constructed in two phases. All units will be sold as permanently affordable condos through the City of Portland preference policy. This project is to move through the GATR fast-track process with oversight from PHB.

So we might be getting more permanently affordable condos in the neighborhood. I live in one, so I should be the first to say Welcome to the Neighborhood.

I do worry about parking, though. Right now, our situation is good. Add 30-plus cars? Perhaps not so good.

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.

7 Bucks a Wack is no more

There was a little too much glow in the window when I took these pictures, but I think it’s important to note this transition.

Darlene Robinett’s 7 Bucks a Wack barber shop was a fixture in downtown Kenton. From her obituary, I learned that she bought the barber shop in 1996, with an inheritance from her mother. She enjoyed coming to work every day.

7 Bucks a Wack is no more, but I’m glad Darlene made the Kenton neighborhood so unique.

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.