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Portland Blog: This Week in Portland February 4 - February 11 2012

Angela  Gooooood morning, Portlandia!  The sun is out, the skies are blue and this weekend promises to be exceptional!  With that, we bring you another edition of our all local Portland Blog. 
Last weekend, we were up in Tacoma, Washington at the Northwest Regional Barista Competition cheering on our favorite Portland baristas as they competed for the "best in the Northwest title" in two events: the Barista competition and the Brewer's Cup.

The Barista competition is a 15 minute presentation where the competitor serves four sensory judges an espresso, a cappuccino and a custom "signature" drink. So, twelve perfect drinks in 15 minutes where every second run over time deducts from the overall score. As one might imagine, each of these drinks are scored based on the taste and presentation. The barista chooses a high end specialty coffee to compete with and uses their own equipment from place settings to even sometimes, their own grinders. There are two technical judges who scrutinize and rate the competitor on their technical proficiency, accuracy and cleanliness.

The Brewers Cup is the evaluation of hand brewed coffee using whatever method and whatever coffee the competitor chooses. It is described by many as the purest form of coffee competition as it is truly all about the coffee as each judge is served a single, unenhanced cup of coffee for their taste review.

At the end of the first day, the twenty some odd competitors were whittled down to a final six who would advance to the final round in each competition. Imagine our surprise when it was discovered that all six finalists for the barista competition were from Portland! Two from Coava Coffee Roasters (the barista competition winner in 2011), one from Stumptown, two from Barista and another from Sterling. Finalists on the Brewers Cup side included Coava Coffee Roasters (the Brewers Cup winner from 2011), Olympia Coffee and War Path.

The final outcome of the competition was a stunner to all-- Coava Coffee Roasters took first in both events two years running! Congratulations to Coava for this incredible win! 

coava coffee roasters

If you live in the Portland area, a stop to these amazing local coffee roasteries and cafes just cannot be missed-- we truly have some of the best coffee in the world in our very own backyard. Learn more about the Portland coffee scene.



I Got Faced Downtown

Profile Icon  By Rob Creighton Garrison Guest Writer


So. I went downtown to get a facial.


I probably need to state here that this is not my regular thing. I’m not a terribly “huggy” type of person, and the idea of strangers touching my face and other bits doesn’t thrill me in the least (not in this context, anyway). Plus, although I wouldn’t describe myself as a guy’s guy, this sort of activity strays a wee bit close to the edge of my gender-comfy zone. I’m not dissing dudes who do this stuff; I’m betting quite a few of my favorite male entertainers go for various forms of flesh worship. This is just me I’m discussing here, the man who scrubs his face and stuff with Irish Spring and attacks errant nasal hair with tweezers, the man who inserts Q-Tips WAY in there, and who has to shave the bridge of his nose (WTH? Aging so sucks). For me, being clean means attacking myself savagely with cheap products. The spa thing mostly strikes me as so…busy.


I’m happy to report that Tamara’s Beauty Bar (located at 519 SW Park Ave, Ste. 306) helped alleviate many of my misgivings. Tamara Sullivan, the proprietress of this day spa tucked into the third floor of the Park/Washington Building downtown, is a friend from our days living on Southeast Belmont. Surely the fact that she wasn’t a stranger helped ease my anxiety about the process, but her gentle ministrations as she applied lotions and little brushes and some sort of liquid mask, while new-age-y music emanated at a pleasant low volume from her stereo, pretty well convinced me that I could get used to this kind of pampering. Even the hand massage, which frankly struck me as a little weird at first, turned out to be oddly soothing. When all was said and done, I could say with some confidence now that I may not have had my last spa treatment.


While Tamara attempted to ameliorate the ravages inflicted upon my mug from decades of abuse, my wife Cathy was ooh-ing and aah-ing over a food magazine as she sat on a settee in the waiting area (bad idea to leave the apartment during the noon hour without eating first, when will we learn?), and so the conversation turned to food and restaurants downtown. Tamara said she was very fond of going to Brasserie Montmartre (at 626 SW Park Ave.) for happy hour and The Original (at 300 SW 6th St.), a self-proclaimed “dinerant”, for tasty burgers and soups.


She also mentioned a place she likes to shop for her husband, an underwear shop called Under U4 Men (at 507 SW Broadway). I never knew such places existed, but then it hasn’t been that many years since I was made aware that men’s underwear didn’t have to be tight and white.


Like Tamara, I’ve always liked spending time in the city’s center. The drive into downtown (but STOP, DON’T drive downtown unless you absolutely have to, you’ll enjoy it much more when you walk or bike), made me resolve to make the trip more often, because downtown Portland is an adventure, and most times it’s a happy one if your head is in the right space. The architecture alone is worth a stroll; as Chelsea Cain stated in one of her shivery-good Gretchen Lowell novels, Portland recycles everything including its buildings, and so I’m very glad that Portland inhabits so many grand examples of architectural history. I’ve never been a fan of the form-should-follow-function school; give me cornices and gargoyles any day.


And of course there’s always art, everywhere, and it’s usually art with something to say.  Portland may very well keep the ‘90s alive, but its artists are progressive and propulsive and their works are in and of the moment.


 Given that I’ll always tout green spaces over pavement and extol the virtues of Nature at every opportunity, it’s kind of ironic (don’t ya think?) that when I’m in downtown Portland, I’m a city guy.


(P.S.  I have to include this picture because its two of my favorite Portland things in one:  Storm Large as Gretchen Lowell.  Awesome sauce.)






Learn more about the vibrant downtown Portland area.

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The Portland Photo of the Week

The Portland Photo of the Week is of the St Johns Bridge by Cathy Garrison. Cathy wins a $20 gift certificate to the beloved Portland restaurant, The Screen Door- the best southern food in Portland, hands down.



The St Johns bridge is a stunning monument of sorts and a trademark image of old Portland. Learn more about the St Johns neighborhood in North Portland.

Come and upload your Portland photos to the Photo Gallery for your chance to win each week.  This week's winner gets a gift certificate to Portland's Screen Door restaurant, for some of the best Southern food and fried chicken in Portland.  Check back to see if your photo is selected for a spotlight in the weekly Portland blog! 



Featured Portland Events

Here are the featured Portland events this week focusing on events happening this weekend or those just around the corner! Thanks to everyone for adding all the great Portland events to the community events calendar. You can add your own Portland events directly to the events calendar for free (please read our terms of service first). Just click "Add an Event" and fill in the details.

Food cART

January 7, 2012 at 11am to March 31, 2012 at 3pm – Portland Art Museum Local food carts will design menu items, both savory and sweet, to serve on Saturdays and Free Fourth Friday nights. All specials will be inspired by works in the collection. Share ideas over an art- Organized by | Type: special, event

The North Plan - Portland Center Stage

January 10, 2012 to February 5, 2012"Gerding Theater at the Armory - PCS" The North Plan at PCS Jan 10 - Feb 5 After a ruthless cabal seizes power in Washington, Carlton Berg, a bureaucrat for the State Department, runs off with the new regime’s top secret Enemies List. Un Organized by "Portland Center Stage" | Type: portland theater

"(I Am Still) The Duchess of Malfi"

January 10, 2012 at 7:30pm to February 12, 2012 at 7:30pm – Artists Repertory Theatre - Morrison Stage Is the desire of love or power the most alluring? Edgy and visceral, this contemporary adaptation of Webster’s classic Jacobean revenge tragedy is a world-premiere production. In this re-imagined cla Organized by Artists Repertory Theatre | Type: performance

Lawrence Howard in Shackleton's Antarctic Nightmare

January 20, 2012 at 8pm to January 28, 2012 at 8pm – Hipbone Studio - home to Portland Story Theater Portland Story Theater presents Shackleton's Antarctic Nightmare. Written, directed, and performed by Lawrence Howard. This is a story about Ernest Shackleton and his epic voyage of The Endurance in Organized by Portland Story Theater | Type: performance,

Masters of the Night: The True Story of Bats

January 21, 2012 at 10am to May 6, 2012 at 5pm – World Forestry Center Washington Park Masters of the Night: The True Story of Bats Opens January 21!   "Masters of the Night:  The True Story of Bats," a touring museum exhibition produced by Evergreen Exhibitions, is bringing the myster Organized by Amber Morrison | Type: exhibit

Chinese New Year - Portland Chinese Garden

January 23, 2012 to February 6, 2012"Portland Chinese Garden" Portland Chinese New Year Portland Chinese New Year at Portland Chinese Garden Year of the Golden Dragon January 23-February 6, 2012 This annual event for families and kids of all ages includes lion Organized by Portland Chinese Garden | Type: chinese new year

Local Motion: Portland Mayoral Candidates Discuss Active Transportation at Portland State University

February 6, 2012 from 6:15pm to 9pm – Lincoln Hall (Main Auditorium), Portland State University What: A Portland Mayoral Candidates Forum on Active Transportation Who: Mayoral Candidates: Eileen Brady, Charlie Hales, and Jefferson Smith Emcees: Lawrence Wallack, Dean of Portland State Universit Organized by Presented by PSU Planning Club | Type: debate

Laurelhurst Neighborhood Real Estate Report

Ross Seligman by Ross Seligman

The Laurelhurst neighborhood is located in Southeast Portland. It is bordered by the Kerns, Sullivan's Gulch, Hollywood, Center and Sunnyside neighborhoods. This is one of Portland's most popular neighborhoods because it has older, established feel to it and it is conveniently located with an easy commute into Downtown.  There is plenty to do in the area, with many restaurants and other community amenities. To learn more about the Laurelhurst neighborhood, click here.


Are you keeping an eye on Laurelhurst or is it your neighborhood?  Check out this link for a monthly updating real estate chart for this neighborhood.

If you are looking for homes in the Laurelhurst neighborhood, visit this link where you can search for homes by particular neighborhood: Click Here

On to the report:

Here is the overall chart of inventory, sold, and pending for the Laurelhurst neighborhood in the last 15 months:

In December 2011, there were 12 closed sales, 18 pending sales, and 39 homes on the market in the Laurelhurst Neighborhood.

One year change from December 2010 to December 2011:

Inventory (how many homes on the market for sale): Down 38.1%

Homes sold: Down 50%

Homes pending sale: Up 80%


Chart for average price per square footage:

In the past 15 months, the average price per square footage in the Laurelhurst neighborhood has been between $132 and $165/sq. ft. In December 2011, the average price per square foot in the Laurelhurst neighborhood was $150.


One year change from December 2010 to December 2011:

Change in Price Per Square Foot:

Percentage Change: Up 6.4%

Days on Market, Sold/List Price:

This chart is showing us two things. First, how many days on the market that a home is spending, on average, before being sold. In December 2011, the average time on market for a home in the Laurelhurst neighborhood was 36 days.

The second thing that this chart is showing you is what percentage of the listing price the owners actually are getting when the house is sold.  This is a great indication of the pressure on prices.  In December 2011, sellers in Laurelhurst received, on average, 98% of their original listing price.

More stats for you:

Change from December 2010 to December 2011:

Time on Market: Down 32.1%
Sold/List price % difference: Up 3%

Average price for sale vs. average price of sold:

This chart shows us that the average listing was and what the average sale was. In December 2011, the average price of a house on the market in Laurelhurst was $474,000. The average sale was $421,000.

More stats over one year:

Average active price: Up 10%
Average sold price:  Up 8.5%

Months of Inventory:

Months of inventory gives a time line of how long it would take for all of the current listings to sell.  Anything above 4 months is considered a buyers market.  This figure is a good indicator of supply and demand.  December 2011 in the Laurelhurst neighborhood had 3.3 months of inventory.

By the way, this does NOT mean that it will take 3.3 months for your home to sell. That figure was, on average in December, 36 days.  Inventory is a figure that means that, if not another home were to come on the market in Laurelhurst from this point forward, in 3.3 months there would not be another home to sell.  They would all be sold.


In my monthly Portland real estate report, I always talk about how each individual neighborhood is a micro-market. The first thing you will notice about individual neighborhoods as compared to the overall Portland reports are that the numbers can be wildly different month to month. Basically, the bigger the pool of data you are working with, the smoother the stats become. As we focus on smaller areas, many different things can happen month to month.


If you are looking to buy or sell in a particular neighborhood, the most crucial information that you need to know is what is going on in that neighborhood. In this situation, the overall Portland market report is less important and the national real estate report is just about useless. This posting is a real estate report for the Laurelhurst neighborhood of all homes in all price ranges. Feel free to request particular neighborhoods in which you are interested in buying or selling and I am be happy to do a report, just contact me on this forum or at

Visit our website where you can contact us and search all Portland Metro Area real estate and homes for sale from the RMLS, including school and neighborhood reports at :

Best Portland Real Estate Deals of the Week

Each week, Ross shares some cool Portland real estate deals, and it is always fun to take a peek at what Portland home deals are available.

1812 SE MOUNTAIN VIEW DR Portland, OR 97215 - Mt. Tabor neighborhood - $290,000

See the full listing here


3448 SE CARUTHERS ST Portland, OR 97214 - Richmond neighborhood- $375,000

See the full listing here


4213 NE 28TH AVE Portland, OR 97211 - Alameda neighborhood- $510,000

See the full listing here


That's It!

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