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July 8, 2007 01:37 - Portland's Pearl District

The Pearl District offers urban living at its finest. If you work downtown and enjoy city living, this is the place to be for an easy commute (walk or take the Portland Streetcar, light rail MAX train, or Tri Met bus to work and play). Located along the Willamette River downtown in an old warehouse district, the neighborhood offers a feeling of urban historic charm. With a seemingly constant array of new loft-style development underway, the neighborhood is alive with a sense of growth and change. Lofts and Townhomes are the norm for residential living. The bustling streets are lined with upscale shopping boutiques, art galleries, unique antique and home interior stores, and the requisite coffee shops and restaurants. There are urban parks and greenspaces tucked amidst all this city bustle, and you'll see children playing in the fountains, and little city dogs scampering through their concrete jungle. The neighborhood is certainly thriving, actually...booming, at a time when the Portland real estate continues to be blazing hot! Many of the newer lofts, still under construction, are selling out quickly. Every time I come into the Pearl District, I see something new. The urban landscape is ever changing. Nearby of course, is Portland Downtown, Old Town and Chinatown, just over the river from the Broadway bridge is the Eliot neighborhood, Lloyd District and Rose Garden arena, and the Pearl is only minutes from the popular Northwest Nob Hill neighborhood and the lush green Forest Park.

The Portland Pearl District is ever-changing and full of new development.  New buildings are being erected in every direction, it seems, and the Pearl District and North Portland Waterfront skyline is never the same from month to month.

Read more about the Portland Pearl District here-- we've got a great neighborhood profile complete with pictures and can't-miss-recommendations. Enjoy!


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July 9, 2007 15:07 - Real Estate & Music in Portland

New Page 4

Hola Portlandia,

We're jazzed to announce that we have a new writer at PortlandNeighborhood!   Ross will be serving up some great information on Portland real estate as well as giving us all the skinny on the Portland music scene!

Ross's Bio:

Originally a native of Marlboro, New Jersey, (known only for being the town NEXT to the town that Bruce Springsteen is from), Ross Seligman moved to Portland in 1999 after accidentally discovering this oasis of a city in a nationwide desert of strip malls and sprawl.  Seligman likes to call Portland the ‘land of opportunity’.  Why, you ask?  Where else can you be a successful real estate broker while simultaneously leading a double life as a professional musician? That would definitely be a bizarre combination in New Jersey but, in Portland, quite ordinary.  In Portland, one expects that their straight-laced accountant is secretly oil painting between Yoga classes.

After moving to Portland, Ross quickly fell in love with the vibrant energy of the people, gorgeous diversity of houses and neighborhoods, and exploding arts scene.  Deciding to embrace it all, Ross became an active real estate broker and quickly immersed himself in the music scene.  Seligman is now one of the most sought after brokers in Portland.  Working with premier Portland company Windermere Realty, Ross  is well known  for his integrity, professionalism, knowledge of the market, and passion for Portland.  When he is not busy representing a client or studying market trends, you can find him playing in his rock band “Echo Helstrom”, jazz trio “Echo Jazz Trio”, or working with one of Portland’s theater companies (Portland Center Stage, Broadway Rose, Lakewood) on a production.  Or, when the two worlds meet, you might
find him playing classical guitar for an open house.

Ross is thrilled to be working with PortlandNeighborhood.com, yet another example of incredible creativity coming to life in Portland.  He hopes to help fans of the site understand the Portland real estate market, answer any questions, and show people why he would never dream of living in any other city.

We are very excited to have Ross working with us!  Ross's write-ups will be posted here on the blog as well as on the forum allowing you to open up a dialog with Ross and anyone else following along.

Have a great day, Portland. We've got some fabulous (hot, hot, hot) weather cooking up for this week!  Summer is here!

PS-- Have you found us on Myspace yet?  Allow us to help you find the way....

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July 11, 2007 16:28 - Ross's Reader: Energy Efficiency

Ross's Reader  Discuss this topic here:

Hello Portlandneighborhood.com community,

I am thrilled to be a part of this site and hope to help answer questions about the Portland real estate market and be a helpful resource for you.  Please post any questions you have and I will answer them as soon as possible. 

In honor of the worldwide 7/07/07 concerts to promote consciousness of global warming, I have decided to make my first post about energy efficiency.  If you weren't busy getting married that day, hopefully you were at the concert. 

Energy efficiency isn't only about conservation of energy, it is also about conservation of your money.  There are a few obvious ways to do this such as to replace all of your traditional light bulbs with compact fluorescents, add insulation, upgrade your furnace, install a heat pump, or make sure all drafty doors and windows are sealed.  Although all of these things cost money, over time they will pay for themselves.  However, even the little things (lightbulbs!) can save you a substantial amount of money on your energy bill (PGE rate increase, anybody?) while conserving a LOT of energy. 

What I really want to focus on is the Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM).  Many people haven't heard of these but they have been around for decades.  EEMs can help you do a green renovation to an existing home or fund the construction of a new home.  Call your Mortgage Broker or Lender and ask them about EEMs.  If they have no idea what you are talking about, call around until you find one who does.  Although all lenders COULD offer EEMs, not all do.  A good place to start would be Earth Advantage, here in Portland.  http://www.earthadvantage.com/financing/

How they work:

A broker or lender doing an EEM will calculate, using a certified third party ratings guide, how much you could save by doing a green renovation.  Whether that means replacing old appliances with energy efficient appliances, calculating the benefit of green building practices on new construction, or adding insulation, etc., they will add this savings to your income.  This will also enable you to buy more house by improving your debt-to-income ratio and, although your loan may be higher, the EEM is calculated so that the energy savings should make up for it. 

Here is a list of third-party certification programs and links to their websites so you can see what their systems are:

Energy Star -  http://www.energystar.gov

Built Green - http://www.builtgreen.net

RESNET Home Energy Ratings - http://www.RESNET.us

LEED - http://www.USGBC.org/LEED/homes

American Lung Association Health House - http://www.healthhouse.org

There is another type of mortgage called a Location Efficient Mortgage (LEM) that offers rewards for houses in locations that eliminate the need for a car.  Unfortunately, it seems these are not yet available in Portland but hopefully they soon will be.  You can find out more information about them here:  http://www.locationefficiency.com/

In Portland, you can find out more information about green building, renovation, and financing at Earth Advantage:  http://www.earthadvantage.com/

Check out Solar Oregon for more information about energy efficiency:  http://www.solaroregon.org/

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July 13, 2007 17:35 - Don't miss the Mississippi Street Fair Tomorrow

Don't miss the Mississippi Street Fair!


When: Starts Saturday, July 14 2007 at 10:00am and ends at 7:00pm. 

Where:  Mississippi Avenue from N Fremont to Skidmore in North Portland. 

What's there?  Parade at noon, a dozen restaurants, great local shopping, several bars, a huge community garage sale, live music all day, children's play area, stilt-walkers, arts and crafts everywhere and a ton of fun in the sun!  Be there or be square.  Click here for more neighborhood info.


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July 16, 2007 16:03 - Bio's and What's up with Portland Real Estate

You asked for it and we've done it...click on over to our About Us page and read our bio's. After two years of being anonymous, we're pleased to finally "meet you", Portland. ;-)

Latest from Ross's Reader:  join the discussion here:

Here is the #1 question I get asked everywhere I go:

"Ross, what is happening with the Portland real estate market?"

We all know that the media loves drama and, when it comes to business and real estate, nothing is more dramatic than a 'bubble' or 'real estate boom', etc.  People want to know if what they read about the rest of the country is true here in Portland.  Conflicting media reports get confusing.  Lets look at some actual statistics to figure it out.

A note about my statistics:

They are a comparison of June 2006 - June 2007 for all of Multnomah County and are taken directly from the RMLS.  What follows is my own analysis of these statistics.   For our purposes, I thought it best to analyze Multnomah County as a whole.  Each neighborhood, however, is a little micro-universe and has its own market.  Changing the parameters of the zip codes, price variables,  or time periods can lead to very different results.  This analysis is of all homes sold in all price ranges in Multnomah County.   If you have any questions about specific zip codes, please reply to this forum with those questions or feel free to contact me.

My analysis:

Portland has undoubtedly been a seller's market for many years.   Many of you have personally experienced bidding wars for houses that were listed that same day with selling prices well above asking price.  Things have definitely changed in the past year but Portland is still a seller's market, although a much more balanced one. 

Why is it a seller's market?  The average inventory based on closed sales in June 2007 is 3.7 months.  This means that, if not a single house entered the market right now, we would run out of houses to sell in 3.7 months.  I would call anything less than 6 months of inventory a seller's market. 

Due to this inventory, housing prices are still stable and appreciating with the average sold price in June 2007 being $358,000.  To compare, in June 2006, the average sold price was $325,000. 

The median home price in June 2006 was $275,000 and, one year later, is $303,000 but I think it is important to distinguish between the median price of ALL homes and the average price of homes that ACTUALLY sold.  

If you look at the percentage of asking price that was paid in June 2006, it was 100%, meaning that houses were selling for asking price.  June 2007?  Sale prices were 99% of asking price.   Not much difference.  It's good to be a seller. 

Why is it more balanced than it was a year ago and now also leaning towards a buyer's market? 

Once again, it is about inventory.  In June 2006, there were 2482 homes listed for sale.  In June 2007, 3330. Although the months of inventory based on closed sales in June 2007 was 3.7 months (well under 6 months), in June 2006 it was 2.2 months.  Clearly, houses are sitting on the market longer.  The average number of days on the market before a house sold in June 2006 was 29 days.  In June 2007, it was 42 days.   You may notice many 'reduced price' stickers around on signs.  This is a reflection of houses having more competition to contend with, unlike a few years ago.    This makes it good to be a buyer.  As opposed to last year at this time, buyers have more selection to choose from and sellers and their agents have to work harder to help their houses compete in the marketplace. 


The Portland market is extremely healthy, unlike many other parts of the country.  It is still a great market to be a seller, although it definitely takes more work to find the 'sweet spot' of pricing.  I will post a blog in the future on specifically what this means but, basically, the sweet spot is the price range that, in the market conditions of the time, will attract the most number of buyers for that type of house, taking into account current competition of similar properties.  In other words, just trying to get as much as you possibly can for a house can backfire.  Pricing a home is truly an art. 

Although in past years, buyers have been sometimes at the mercy of sellers (even paying more than asking price!), the market is balancing out and it is a great time to be a buyer, as well.  With more selection and houses sitting on the market for longer periods of time, buyers have power.  With a healthy market and prices still appreciating, it is a great time to buy real estate in Portland.  Plus, you get to live in Portland.  Did I mention we love Portland? 

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July 18, 2007 11:32 - Coming up in Portland

"That is SO Portland".  Join the chat and read TISP thread here.

The Mississippi Street Fair was great-- what a turn out!  I've gone the last few years running and was shocked to see how huge the fair has become. I was happy to see many of the same street vendors and a slew of new ones selling some super cool stuff. The bands were fantastic, the beer was cold and the sun was blazing-fire-hot as per protocol.  I searched and searched for a nice sun hat to shield myself but to no avail. I'm already looking forward to next year and if you missed it, you should be, too!

Another great event coming up is the Fremont Fest in Beaumont Neighborhood on August 4th.  We will be posting more details about that soon.

Tomorrow is Third Thursday over in the Hollywood District.  Don't miss Grace Holmes in a free live performance plus seven artists and craftspeople for the Hollywood District's Third Thursday.

Third Thursday
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Time: 6:00 - 8:00 PM
  4000 NE Sandy Boulevard
  Portland, OR  97212
More info:

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July 21, 2007 15:02 - Portland's Vegan Vacation August 1st-6th

Portland's Vegan Vacation August 1st-6th.

Vegan Vacation itinerary:

Wednesday, August 1st - Vegan Vacation Opening Dinner

When: 7PM – 9:30PM
What: Vegan Vacation Opening Dinner Potluck
Where: Creston Park, SE 44th Ave & Powell Blvd
Why: Meet other members participating in the Vegan Vacation, hang out, kick-off the week with a blast!
What to bring: A VEGAN meal large enough to serve 6 people. Bring some money for our fund raising Silent Auction as well.
What will be provided: Food and cool people
Cost: None, but there will be a Silent Auction
Registration Required: Yes, so we can plan food for attendees
Location and Directions: Creston Park, SE 44th Ave & Powell Blvd
Website with more info-- Contact person: Robert Cheeke cell 541-231-6269, veganvacation@yahoo.com

Thursday, August 2nd – Tour of Portland’s Vegan Hot Spots

Date: Thursday, August 2nd
When: 9:30AM-2:30PM
What: Tour of the Portland's Vegan Hotspots and other sights hosted by local vegan tour guide. It will include a stop for lunch and snacks. Tour will be primarily by bus and on foot.
Where: Meet at People’s Food Co-op 3029 SE 21st Ave, Portland, 97202 - (503) 674-2642
Why: To see all that Portland has to offer the vegan community!
What to bring: Comfortable walking shoes, a camera if you like, and some money for bus fare, lunch, snacks and souvenirs.
What will be provided: A tour of the vegan hot spots in Portland.
Cost: None. Just bring money for bus fare, foods, snacks and gifts if interested.
Registration Required: No, but encouraged. E-mail veganvacation@yahoo.com
Location and Directions: People’s Food Co-op 3029 SE 21st Ave, Portland, 97202 - (503) 674-2642 
Contact person: Robert Cheeke, 541-231-6269 cell, veganvacation@yahoo.com

Thursday, August 2nd

When: 7PM-10PM
What: Stand-Up Comedy Knockout! (some adult language and material “HBO” style comedy) Hosted by Robert Cheeke, Dylan Kasprzyk, and Pirate’s Tavern.
Where: Pirate’s Tavern 2839 NW St. Helens Rd. Portland, OR 97210 (503) 222-6600
Why: We all need a good laugh
What to bring: A $2-$5 donation at the door to pay for the comics and using the space. Also bring a sense of humor, and money for food and drinks. Cameras are encouraged too.
What will be provided: A line-up of great comedians from around the Northwest
Cost: $2-$5 sliding scale at the door, plus money for your own meal/drinks.
Registration Required: No
Location and Directions: Pirate’s Tavern 2839 NW St. Helens Rd. Portland, OR 97210 (503) 222-6600
Contact Person: Robert Cheeke cell 541-231-6269, veganvacation@yahoo.com

Friday, August 3rd

When: 11AM-3PM
What: Hike and picnic in Forest Park (one of the largest city parks in the United States)
Where: Meet at The Hoyt Arboretum above Washington Park in the West Hills of Portland, OR. 
Why: To be out in nature and enjoy company of cool people.
What to bring: A camera, a water bottle, snacks for the picnic anything else you think you’ll need. Some snacks will be provided but you are encouraged to bring your own.
What will be provided: Some small snacks and the good company of awesome people.
Cost: None
Registration Required: No
Location and Directions: West Hills above Washington park. Follow the road all the way to the top and follow signs for Hoyt Arboretum.
Contact Person: Robert Cheeke cell 541-231-6269, veganvacation@yahoo.com
When: 5PM-8PM
What: Trip to Multnomah Falls
Where: Meet at New Seasons Market on NE 33rd Killingsworth at 5PM to carpool
Why: To visit one of the attractions Oregon is known for
What to bring: A camera, comfortable shoes, snacks, water, anything else you’ll need.
What will be provided: A tour of the falls and car rides for those who carpool, and a good time with great company.
Cost: None, other than gas money to the driver of the vehicle
Registration Required: Yes, so we can accommodate travels with enough vehicles
Location and Directions: Meet at New Seasons Market on NE 33rd and Killingsworth at 5PM to carpool. Visit this website for directions:
Contact Person: Robert Cheeke cell 541-231-6269, veganvacation@yahoo.com

Saturday, August 4th

When: 9AM-Early afternoon (approx 2-4PM). Meet at the Food Fight! Parking Lot at 9AM to carpool
What: A day trip to Bagby Hot Springs 2 hours SE of Portland
Where: Meet at the Food Fight! parking lot on SE 42nd and Division near Kalga Kafe
Why: To hike in the Natural Wilderness in an Old Growth Forest and sit in natural Hot Springs with friends.
What to bring: Bring food and drinks, snacks, a camera, comfortable clothes, clothes for hiking and the hot springs.
What will be provided: Carpooling for those who meet at Food Fight! at 9AM.
Cost: Please bring money for gas to pay the driver
Registration Required: Yes, so we can plan for carpooling options
Location and Directions: visit this website for directions and information
Contact Person: Robert Cheeke 541-231-6269 cell, veganvacation@yahoo.com

Sunday, August 5th

When: 12PM-4PM
What: Group Sports Day! (Soccer, Basketball, Frisbee, other sports)
Where: TBA (Park Location)
Why: To do something physical during our “vacation.”
What to bring: Athletic clothing and shoes, a camera, snacks, water, and anything else you think you’ll need.
What will be provided: Athletic equipment including a soccer ball, basketball and Frisbee, but please bring your own sports equipment as well.
Cost: None
Registration Required: No
Contact Person: Robert Cheeke 541-231-6269 cell, veganvacation@yahoo.com
When: 6:30PM
What: Speaking Presentation by Robert Cheeke "Thrive on a Plant-based diet. Whole-Food Nourishment for Whole-Body Health"
Where: TBA, check back for updates
Why: To learn how you can thrive (rather than just get-by) on a plant-based diet
What to bring: A notepad, pen, and paper to take notes, camera
What will be provided: Take-away info and treats courtesy of Vega
Cost: Donations accepted
Registration Required: Yes, space will be limited (e-mail veganvacation@yahoo.com to register)
Location and Directions: TBA, check back for updates
Contact Person: Robert Cheeke 541-231-6269 cell, veganvacation@yahoo.com

Monday, August 6th

When: 4PM-5:30PM
What: Chef Presentation by the one and only Chef Al Chase (includes a meal)
Where: NE 34th and Killingsworth (must register to get exact address)
Why: To observe and learn from one of the World’s finest Vegan Chefs
What to bring: $15 to cover the cost of the presentation class, a camera and a hungry tummy
What will be provided: An awesome chef demonstration by Chef Al Chase
Cost: $15 – Must Pre-Register and Pre-Pay to reserve a spot (space limited)
Registration Required: Yes, call 541-231-6269 or e-mail veganvacation@yahoo.com
Location and Directions: NE 34th and Killingsworth (exact location will be given once registration and payments have been made)
Contact Person: Robert Cheeke 541-231-6269 cell, veganvacation@yahoo.com
Date: Monday, August 6th
When: 7PM-10PM
What: Farewell/Closing Dinner
Where: Bay Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant (4768 SE Division St.) 5

Vegan Vacation Website

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July 24, 2007 10:29 - 20th Annual Oregon Brewers Festival...

Howdy Portland,

The 20th annual Oregon Brewers Festival, regarded as one of the finest craft beer festivals in the nation, is kicking off this Thursday!. Each summer, Portland opens its arms to more than 50,000 beer lovers to the four-day-fiesta. Hopheads come from all over the country and the world to experience this wonderful outdoor festival. With over 70 participating breweries, this Portland event is not one to be missed.

The OBF is held at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in lovely downtown Portland July 26, 27, 28 & 29. The event takes place between the Morrison and Burnside Bridges. Taps close at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and at 7 p.m. on Sunday.  Cash only (ATMs are onsite).

See you there!


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July 26, 2007 10:20 - Last Thursday Fun

It's "Last Thursday" over in Alberta Arts!  This monthly event has been going strong since 1997 and goes year round (who's afraid of the big bad rain? ;-). 

So come on over and explore the galleries, studios, street vendors, restaurants and other art venues on Alberta Street.  The fun begins around 5 and goes to 9:30 or so. 


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July 26, 2007 12:06 - Portland Farmers Markets

I simply love to shop locally at any one of our Portland Farmers Markets. Nothing feels better than shopping locally for great food at fantastic prices. Support your local farmers!

Here's what's in season now:

  • blueberries
  • cherries
  • strawberries
  • peaches
  • raspberries
  • apricots
  • blackberries
  • melons
  • boysenberries
  • tomatoes
  • marionberries
  • beans
  • summer squash
  • huckleberries
  • corn
  • eggplant

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