Tag Archives: Portland

Celebrating One Year in the New Home – Kenton to Lents

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New Home

It’s hard to believe a whole year has passed since we moved into our new home! We owe the fabulous non-profit Proud Ground for the amazing opportunity. When I first moved to Portland 5+ years ago, I noticed houses with “Proud Ground” signs in front indicating the home was for sale. I looked into Proud Ground and found an amazing program for first-time home buyers who fit into a particular income bracket (make enough money to pay a mortgage, but low enough income to qulify for the grants).

I had my initial meeting with someone 4 years ago and placed my name on the LIST. We first looked at the home pictured above in January 2015 and 6 months later, we had the keys. Constantly hearing horror stories about the rental market in Portland (and the buyer’s market), I’m SO thankful for our home. Not only is our mortgage less than what we were paying in rent, we are home-owners, which is a pretty great feeling providing a lot of security.

From the Proud Ground website:

Proud Ground gives families with stable jobs and steady incomes the chance to buy their first home—affordably. We serve families who can qualify for a home loan, just not one at market rate. And because Proud Ground homes are forever-affordable, family after family has access to the stability and wealth-building that come with homeownership, and our region has a growing supply of homes that are affordable for generations to come.

At the time I got on the LIST I was still looking for employment, obviously not in a position to purchase a home, but the sooner you get on the list, the sooner you move toward the top. When a home becomes available, you fill out a form of interest. If you are at the top of the list, and you qualify for the loan, the home is yours (basically).

We bought this home for way under market value, so it was affordable to us. The catch, if and when we sell the house, it stays in the program so it’s affordable for the next buyer. Although we will make some money if we sell, we can’t turn around and sell it for a huge profit on the open market.

The gem of this program – keeping affordable homes in neighborhoods for generations!

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First Entry – Got the Keys May 15th!

We said farewell to the Kenton neighborhood in North Portland, a place we watched become the new hot spot in Portland, and said hello to the Lents neighborhood (about as far away from Kenton as possible and still live in Portland). We had our trepidations about moving to what seemed like “so far away,” but we kept hearing about Lents being the next big thing, and we had faith it would be fabulous.

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Thanks for all the great times Kenton!

Funny, my daughter and I volunteered for her 8th grade project at the Lents International Farmers Market the summer of 2014 – so a little foreshadowing I suppose.

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Hard to get a smile when she had braces…

We spent the first year settling in and getting the inside organized with new Energy Star appliances, drapes on the windows etc. and we experienced all those fabulous firsts! First holidays, first storms, first seasons…

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January – first snow – a special treat for Portlanders

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Plenty of wildlife to keep our Australian Shepherd entertained

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Plenty of room for the chickens and dogs

This spring we started working on the yard. We basically have a blank slate, so the opportunities are endless and fun (although a little overwhelming). I figure it’s one project at a time. We want to eventually get rid of the grass in the front and plant natives (that don’t require watering) and build a rain garden. I also want to begin my rain barrel collection soon on all the gutters.

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Dressing up the front porch

Our big project this spring: building vegetable beds!

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Since I was nearly 7 months pregnant at the time,the bulk of the project landed on this great fella!

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Before the chicken fence went up…

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Six weeks later – eating on our strawberries, salad greens, turnips and zucchini!

We participated in our first Sunday Parkways in the new hood! The route was only a block from the house, and even the pouring down rain didn’t stop us (or my big belly).

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Hadders and a friend – May 15th, 2016

I want to extend a huge thank you to all the dedicated folks at Proud Ground for making the dream of home-buying a reality for us and dozens of other families. We look forward to many more years here and watching the Lents community blossom.

Please check out the Proud Ground website and schedule a free consultation to learn more! https://proudground.org/

 

SOLVE, NATIVE PLANTS & EARTH HOUR UNITE!

March 28th, 2015 is a Big Day!

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This Saturday provides several ways to ramp up for April Earth Month! If you are near the coast, you have the opportunity to give back to Oregon in the morning hours by volunteering with SOLVE at one of their beach cleanup sites. (Obviously a nonprofit I love since I serve on their communications board.) Shop for Native Plants in the afternoon at a fantastic fundraiser, and then celebrate EARTH HOUR with the rest of the world in the evening-what a day full of opportunity!

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The following link has all the information you need to get involved with SOLVE’s Spring Oregon Beach Cleanup. You can see my 2014 volunteer fun below (although it wasn’t on the beach).

There are 45 cleanup sites scattered along the coast, from Astoria to Brookings. Pick your favorite beach or site near you by checking the online Calendar of Events and registering!

Last year, 4,800 volunteers cleared more than 48,000 pounds of debris from the Oregon Coast! See the final report and photos from the 2014 event.

EARTH HOUR!

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One of my favorite events, and this year it almost slipped right by me! In 2008, we played a board game via candlelight and my daughter asked to do the same the following year! (It was very memorable.) Earth Hour started in 2007 in Australia as a lights-off event to raise awareness about climate change. It has grown to engage more than 162 countries and territories worldwide. For just one hour, don’t use electricity – no lights, no electronics, no power tools, or appliances (well, leave the fridge running) …get creative!

           Earth Hour is on Saturday 8:30pm – 9:30pm          local time all over the GLOBE!

Visit the website for more information: HERE

Friends of Baltimore Woods

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In 2014, we volunteered with Friends of Baltimore Woods for two of SOLVE’s big volunteer events. (Photos Below) Located in St. Johns (North Portland) between Cathedral and Pier Parks, the 30-acre Baltimore Woods Connectivity Corridor is a unique urban greenway with a ton of community support & love turning it into a wonderful natural site.

This Saturday, Friends of Baltimore Woods is having a Pacific Northwest Native Plant Sale in Portland’s St. Johns Plaza from 10:00am – 3:00pm!

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Our Volunteer FUN – 2014

My daughter and her friend (volunteering is way more fun with a buddy) and I volunteered on SOLVE IT Earth Day, April 26th, at Baltimore Woods. I was so surprised I hadn’t noticed this special gem!

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Look closely behind the people standing in the photo above, you can barely see the cement steps in the back covered in ivy, shrubs and debris. My helpers were super motivated to clear these steps-and they rocked it!

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Volunteer Day #2

My kiddo and her two friends volunteered with me September 27th, 2014 at Baltimore woods for the second time last year, and we could already see some changes!

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The next volunteer opportunity at Baltimore Woods is right around the corner-so mark your calendars!

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Plus you get this awesome view!

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So, this Saturday-March 28th – Volunteer with SOLVE in the morning, check out the Native Plant Sale in the afternoon, then Celebrate Earth Hour in the evening – what a great day and wonderful way to prepare for April…Earth Month!

Roadside Libraries

Free Books Right on the Side of the Road!

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Several months ago, walking my dogs around the neighborhood in North Portland, I came across this little box on the side of the road. Obviously I was intrigued with my first roadside library encounter.

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I started envisioning walking down here with my daughter and the dogs, sitting on the swing (shown below), enjoying our books. There was something so simple, yet so fun and special. I thought warmly, “Only in Portland…”

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Then a few weeks ago, I came across another one! Still in North Portland, but an entirely different neighborhood. I didn’t realize this was a “thing,” assuming the the first one I saw was a creative whim of the household behind the library box. I love the Green Roof on the one below!

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                                                                                                                Then, even more recently, I saw a local news clip on roadside libraries. There has been one in the Sellwood neighborhood for 15+ years! I guess it really is a thing…I haven’t actually borrowed or donated a book, but I love that this exists.

Have you seen one in your neighborhood? Have you borrowed a book?

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Adventure #1- Exploring Sauvie Island

My very favorite new sights and things to experience are natural areas. A visit to the woods, river, beach, anything that gets me outdoors! (I’m known to really love patios and rooftop bars/restaurants as well). So, it made perfect sense that my first outing on my year-long mission to explore something new every month, was a nearby trail that I’ve never hiked.

Warrior Rock Lighthouse Trail

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Mentioned in the Portland Monthly magazine, July 2012 issue, this hike is located on the northern tip of Sauvie Island. The trail travels along the Columbia river to a still-functioning lighthouse.  The trail begins at the end of Reeder Road, after the road turns to dirt and you drive for several miles. Don’t worry, it really is at the end, just keep driving!

Sauvie Island is made of part rural farmland. This is where the pumpkin patches are, corn mazes, and all those great “you-pick” farms for yummy fruits and veggies. The northern part of the island (where this hike is located), is a wildlife refuge. Interestingly, hunting is allowed in this area during certain months as well (seems counter-intuitive, but it’s how it is).

We went on a Friday, blessed with beautiful blue skies and sunshine (something to be savored these winter months in this area), and the whole hike nearly to ourselves. We had our two dogs, and although signs say to leash them, it was a great place to let them run (plenty of beach-like sandy shores along the river). And they never came close to any animals, or disturbed the area.

Sauvi Island 2The day was crisp, and the forrest smelled fabulous. We saw several bird species, my favorite probably being the white egret, they are so majestic.  The Columbia river is such a sight to behold, it’s massive size warrants awe no matter how many times you visit. The end of the hike is a wonderful rocky outlet where the lighthouse sits. Down another half mile we saw glimpses of a marina, and several buildings. We determined it must be the town of St. Helens, though I’m not certain.

I like seeing the large ships travel down the river, so I felt lucky that a ship traveled by as we sat taking in the scenery. I think the Columbia river is an interesting juxtaposition of industrialization and mother nature, I love it.

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Total hike distance: Approximately 6 miles (3 miles one-way)