Author Archives: Home Sweet Home Realty

Ceiling Douglas Fir wood in POrtland home stylish modern

5 Uses for Douglas-fir In the Home

Douglas-fir, the Pride of the Pacific Northwest, done 5 Ways in the Home.

Ceiling Douglas Fir wood in POrtland home stylish modern

The warm amber colors in this Douglas-fir ceiling soften this modern motif. Image Courtesy: Jeremy Levine

Locally grown with pride, the Douglas-fir is arguably the most favored by builders and carpenters due to its strength and beauty.  Homeowners in the Pacific Northwest are known to incorporate this spectacular wood into every aspect of their building, remodeling, and even landscaping.  And, it shows!  Douglas-fir accents in a home instantly warm up the space, making it more inviting and adding a richness to the appearance.  

Adding character and charm, these Douglas Fir accents and moldings can be found throughout Portland homes.

Adding character and charm, these Douglas Fir accents and moldings can be found throughout Portland homes. Image Courtesy Tall ChrisThe Look:

The Look:

Doug-fir has a gorgeous warm tone, and comes in a golden yellow to amber or reddish brown color.  The grain is relatively straight, and sometimes has a slight waviness.  It offers a medium to coarse texture. Both grain and texture will vary based on where the tree was grown and its age.  Many woodworkers will be careful when cutting the wood to capture the distinctive grain pattern.  Whether stained, or reclaimed and varnished, this lumber’s natural beauty is a showstopper.

Douglas Fir Cabinetry stylish

Douglas Fir Cabinetry. Image courtesy: Tall Chris


Unlike most softwoods, Douglas-fir does not readily expand and contract with the weather. Because of this stability in the elements, it is often referred to as “waterproof”, even though it is water permeable.   Its “waterproof” nature makes it an excellent choice for doors and windows.

Windows of Douglas Fir Wood in POrtland Home waterproof wood

The “waterproof” nature of Douglas-fir allow for safe and durable use around windows and doors.  Image courtesy: Tall Chris



Douglas-fir is technically a softwood, but it has an incredible stiffness and is very resilient. It boasts a very good strength-to-weight ratio, making it the highest rated softwood in North America.  These high marks make it a superb choice for building in areas with intense winds or earthquakes.

Douglas Fir is a very stiff soft wood, which makes it a great choice for a flooring.

Douglas-fir is a very stiff softwood, which makes it a great choice for  flooring in Portland homes. Image Courtesy Pat (Cletch) Williams.

A very plentiful and beautiful “hard” softwood, Douglas-fir is one of the most widely used commercial woods in all of North America.  There are gorgeous, custom homes throughout Portland.  Talk to an expert to find your dream home.


Written by Jennifer Kane, Expanded Exposure LLC.

Our Realtors Dish – Sweet pick me ups

There’s something about a good sugar rush that can perk up that mid week slump. Whether you go for the natural sugar from fresh blueberries, or crave that creamy first bite of gelato, an indulgent treat makes the work week a little bit more fun.  Our team loves to reward themselves for a job well done.

Sweets provide that pick me up for that mid week slump.

Sweets provide that pick me up for that mid week slump. Our team shares some of their favorite indulgences around Portland. Image courtesy: Derek Key

Kelly Home Sweet Home Best Realtor in Portland Oregon top sales

Kelly loves a little detox action to kick her system into high gear. Over achiever? You know it!


Kelly – Any drink at Kure.  And, POA on Williams has “so matcha good” and “detox mango mint” that are delish!  What’s The Scoop is one of our favorites, and it’s within walking distance from our new office.

Poa Cafe serves hot espresso, delicious breakfast items, and healthy bowls for lunch. Grab a grasshopper, which is a mix of coconut water, pineapple, maca, mint, cucumber, lime, spinach, ginger, and agave. This place is healthy and inviting, located on the Hot N. Williams Corridor in Portland, Oregon.

Poa Cafe serves hot espresso, delicious breakfast items, and healthy bowls for lunch. Grab a grasshopper, which is a mix of coconut water, pineapple, maca, mint, cucumber, lime, spinach, ginger, and agave. This place is healthy and inviting, located on the Hot N. Williams Corridor in Portland, Oregon. Image Courtesy: Janice Grube.

Who doesn't love local?! Leslie loves the flavor of the Oregon hazelnuts in Burgerville's chocolate hazelnut shakes. Portland Oregon realtor

Who doesn’t love local?! Leslie loves the flavor of the Oregon hazelnuts in Burgerville’s chocolate hazelnut shakes.

Leslie – Don’t get me wrong, I love being healthful, but when I head out for a refreshing beverage, somehow I usually end up with a fresh seasonal shake from Burgerville.  Strawberry! Chocolate hazelnut! Yum!


Luda recharges with the wholesome goodness of freshly juiced veggies.

Luda recharges with the wholesome goodness of freshly juiced veggies.

Luda – Sometimes I reward myself with freshly made juice at Green Zebra Grocery! I stop by after especially challenging workouts or when feeling absolutely wipe-out and order their beet, carrot, apple with a touch of ginger juice. It never fails to regenerate my energy level and feel me up with its’ wholesome goodness.


Written by Jennifer Kane, Expanded Exposure LLC.

Open House in Portland Oregons hot real estate market

Open House Weekend!

Come check out one of these beautiful properties in and around Portland this weekend.   Step inside and try one on for size, it might be the perfect fit for you and your loved ones.  We’ve got days and times listed below with lively videos of each home’s interior.

Saturday 8/29 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

1611 N Jarrett – Come visit Leslie

2324 Se Park, Milwaukie, OR – Come visit Tammie

Saturday 8/29 from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

4535 NE Prescott – Come visit Leslie

2735 SE 70th – Come visit Tammie

Sunday 8/30 from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

SW 107th Ct. in Tigard – Come visit Tammie

Read more about Tigard here: “Tigard – The City Of Trails! Who Knew?”


Please view the interior of each home here.  But, be sure to stop by in person to get the full experience of each, and the surrounding neighborhoods.

1611 N. Jarrett – This terrific Overlook home has been immaculately cared for & is move-in ready. Fresh paint inside and out, refinished hardwood floors, new kitchen flooring and original tile-work is intact, appliances are included. Fantastic bonus space in the basement with new FLOR carpet along with additional space for tons of storage. Outside you’ll find new cedar fencing and the greenest of grass. Welcome Home!

2324 Se Park, Milawaukie, OR. – Sweet one level bungalow just blocks from the new Orange Max line. Wonderfully large kitchen has been remodeled and includes an large pantry and appliances are included. There’s Fir Wood floors under the carpet and a bonus space perfect for office or nursery. Large detached garage has space for a shop area and the storage shed holds all the toys. Completely fenced and a custom pet patio for your furry friends. Welcome Home!

4535 NE Prescott – Wow, what a lovely English cottage on almost a quarter acre! Imagine what you could do with this size of lot – it could have up to 3 houses on it! Hardwood floors, sweet Juliet balcony and windows in the 3rd bedroom. The Upstairs bedroom is fantastic with lots of space. Eat-in kitchen is right sized with ample cabinets/counters. There’s even some bonus space above the garage. Welcome Home!

2735 SE 70th – Remodeled bungalow in a fantastic neighborhood! Updated kitchen with very efficient design, stainless appliances, fun chalkboard painted walls and it even has extra storage in the bench of dining nook. The bathroom has also been remodeled with a nod to the period while keeping it modern. Downstairs you will find a bonus family or media room as well as the laundry room and extensive storage. Welcome Home!

SW 107th Ct., Tigard, OR – Wonderfully large home on a beautifully landscaped oversized lot in quiet neighborhood. Conveniently located near parks, walking/biking trails, schools and freeways. RV parking and plenty of space for all the toys. Inside you will find large living spaces, bonus space and tons of storage. Enjoy the backyard oasis with large deck and patio for entertaining and a waterfall/pond. Welcome Home!

Read More about Tigard here:

“Tigard, The City of Trails! Who Knew?”

Written by Jennifer Kane, Expanded Exposure LLC.

Tigard, The City of Trails! Who Knew?

Many people haven’t caught on yet, to the amazing trail system that is being developed throughout Tigard.  The city boasts a plentiful network of paved trails, suitable for pedestrians and bikers, which connects neighborhoods and destinations throughout the city.   You can travel almost anywhere, off road and through nature!

Biking trail. Portland Fantastic Paved Trails mingle throughout the entire town of Tigard.

Fantastic Paved Trails mingle throughout the entire town of Tigard. Image Courtesy, Rachel Kramer

Imagine this, a beautiful town with great air quality, low traffic, fun nature education, and safe routes for your child making their way to school.   Not only is the city interconnected, forming a friendly and energetic community; but, through Tigard’s Greenway Trails System Master Plan, Tigard’s trails are now beginning to link up to a larger system that joins many of the towns southwest of Portland.  And, they continue to expand everyday!  The city’s goal? To become known as the “Most Walkable City”.

Pedestrian trails make walking to school safe and fun for kids in Tigard, Oregon. Image Courtesy, Loren Kerns.

Pedestrian trails make walking to school safe and fun for kids in Tigard, Oregon. Image Courtesy, Loren Kerns.

One of our realtors, Tammie, shares her delightful discover while prepping for a recent open house:

I discovered something very exciting today. I was asked to do an open house in Tigard just SW of Walnut on SW 107th Ct.   As I was walking back, after placing my open house sign out at the main road, I noticed a very official looking sign for the City of Tigard Greenways. I knew there was a walking path across the street from our listing, and I simply assumed it was a short little path primarily used by neighbors.   

Little did I know……After a bit of research, I identified the path as the Pathfinder Genesis Trail, which is part of the city’s Greenway Trails System Master Plan and connects this area into the Fanno Creek Trail. The Fanno Creek trail system will take you through various neighborhoods, parks and green spaces. 

The best part of my discovery is knowing that whoever happens to be the new lucky home owner, will simply be able to step across the street and go for a relaxing walk or even ride their bike up to Denny Road.   

I’ll be back this Sunday, August 30th from 2-4 p.m. for another open house. And, I’ll be setting aside some extra time to stroll along this path up to my favorite restaurant, Cafe Allegro, in downtown Tigard for some incredible Cumin Gulf Shrimp Ravioli! 

What Fun! I am loving my new discovery of Pathfinder Genesis trailhead at SW 107th Ct.!  See you soon at the open house!

OPEN HOUSE:  Sunday, August 30th from 2-4 p.m. 

12840 SW 107th Ct., Tigard, Oregon

You can explore The Greenway Trails System Master Plan here.

Written by Jennifer Kane, Expanded Exposure LLC.

July Record Sales! – Portland

Think we’re slowing down?  Not a chance!

Portland’s Real Estate Market continues to heat up, hitting record sales for July 2015.

Portland Home sales were up by nearly 30% when comparing July 2015 to the same period last year.  An increase in home prices shows that Portland is still a hot market; and that’s great for investors.   Recent studies also reveal that families and first-time home buyers will benefit from investing in homeownership.  Zillow just announced that it is actually now 10% less expensive to buy than rent in Portland metro.   Low interest rates and a more favorable lending environment have buyers snatching up homes at record rates.

Portland Home with bike Portland Oregon for sale in a hot real estate market

The Portland real estate market remains hot, hitting record sales in July. Residents love the biking culture, the food, the ample parks, events, and conscience environmental city directives. Image courtesy, Tomas Quinones

The latest Market Action findings from the Regional Multiple Listing Service report that 3,452 home sales closed in July.  As of this publication, the area has another 3,494 pending sales.  July’s inventory of homes available for sale represents a 1.7 months supply, with the total Days on Market around 45.

“There are only 1.9 months of inventory on the market, a normal market condition is 6 months of inventory!  This is why home values are increasing each month.  If a homeowner is considering selling, there has not been a better time to speak to a Realtor about their home’s value.” – Kelly Stafford, Owner and Principal Broker at Home Sweet Home Realty llc

Average HOME EQUITY of Greater Portland- 6% INCREASE!

Portland Year Over Change 2014 2015
Average Home Price (6.1% increase) 331,400 351,600
Median Home Price (7% increase) 284,900 304,900

A Great Time To Sell:

“This is an incredible time to sell.  Portland homeowners who are deciding to sell are receiving multiple offers and we are seeing winning bids of up to 10% over list price.  Almost 30% of all sales are to cash buyers and to people relocating to Portland,” says Kelly.  “The pace of the market has slowed just a bit, but we think this is the regular August lull.  Everyone is focused on enjoying the last bit of summer and then they will be back at the hunt for a home.”

Economic Health:

  • Portland/Vancouver metro area’s GDP ranks 20th in the nation (Bureau of Economic Development).
  • We have the 6th largest economy on the West Coast.
  • Over the past decade, Portland’s economy grew faster than any other West Coast metro area.
  • Our High-Tech industry has 30% more skilled workers than the U.S. average, with local companies hiring more than 86,000 high-tech workers.

Long Term Health of the City:

What does all this mean?  Portlanders, transplants and our original townies, love their city. Even with the recent grumblings about more traffic and the “old gritty Portland” dying out to gentrification, the truth of the matter is that Portland is still a mecca for funk and creativity in all spheres.

Portland colorful home real estate sale Oregon

Portland homes are known for being vibrant and charming all in one. Image courtesy, Megan Coughlin

Fear Not! Portland preserves it’s unique character:


Rest assured, beautiful Mount Hood still overlooks the city, waiting for her weekend warriors. Our coffee is still rich and robust; and our craft beers await you and a good book companion. So, settle in and find a bungalow of your own in this enriching and vibrant city.


TRIVIA – Homes near which grocery store boasted higher increases in property values?

Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods



July Home Sales Set Record – Portland



Written by Jennifer Kane, Expanded Exposure LLC.


Rent vs. Buy in Portland?

Should I Rent or Buy in Portland?  Zillow economists say Buy!

Rent in Portland is growing at TWICE, yes TWICE, the national average, reports Zillow.  How does the cost of renting compare to buying?  You better sit down.  Homeowners will spend about 21% of their monthly income on their new mortgage, while renters will cough up a whopping 31%!  Zillow also reports, that as of May, the average rent in Rip City tipped in at $1,629 per month.   

Rent vs Buy in Portland

Is it better to Rent or Buy in Portland? The rental market is currently skyrocketing. Zillow recently reported that local renters will spend an average of 31% of their monthly hard earned cash on rent alone.  Homeowners will spend drastically less, at only 21% of their monthly income going toward their new mortgage.

This year has been particularly hard on renters.  Many have seen monumental 30%+ rent increases and no-cause evictions, while developers capitalize on the sizzling hot Portland real estate market.  In an effort to give voice to the disenfranchised, members of the local community have organized to form the Portland Renters’ Assembly.  Their prominent goal is to enact a rent control policy, a tool used in some cities that sets a cap on the amount that a landlord can raise rent. 

The Alternative –  Fight the Power! 

And, Become a Proud Homeowner.

Consider The Following:

  • Mortgage rates are still at historic lows.   
  • Real Estate is a solid investment – Portland home values are expected to increase almost 6% in the next year. Home values rose nearly 7% from 2014 to 2015.
  • Cost Analysis might show that you are paying more in rent than you would on your new mortgage. Not sold?  Try out Trulia’s awesome Rent vs. Buy Calculator.  Plug in your rent and the value of the property that you are eyeing; and, voila, Trulia spits out an instant comparison. It’s an approximate figure, of course, but come out of the clouds and get some concrete numbers under your feet!    
  • Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans are set up to bolster first-time homebuyers by requiring only a low 3.5% down payment. And, they recently lowered the insurance premium, making your monthly mortgage payment even lower.
  • The Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) offers an assortment of assistance programs for first-time home buyers.  To lower your monthly mortgage payment and create more disposable income, ask about the Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC).

Break Even in 1.2 years –

Many first-time home buyers get nervous at the initial investment that comes with securing a mortgage.  So, in a more apples to apples approach, Zillow analyzed the costs, transaction fees, inspections, insurance ect. of buying a new home in Portland.  That amount was then compared to the true cost of renting, including rent and deposits.  Considerable line items, such as future home-value appreciation, tax breaks, and rent growth, are factored in as well.   The analysis shows that, when buying, the “breakeven point” in some areas is as low as 1.2 years.

A qualified realtor can assist you in securing a loan officer, scoping neighborhoods and home values, and evaluating where the local market is headed.   For more information, contact the team at Home Sweet Home Realty.


Written by Jennifer Kane, Expanded Exposure LLC.

Home Buyer’s Assistance

Need Assistance In Buying Your First Home?

GREAT NEWS! Have your down payment matched!  The Home Buyer’s Assistance program in Oregon has been extended until 2022 for residents looking to save for a new home.   

The Oregon Individual Development Account (IDA) Initiative website explains this amazing home buyer’s assistance program:

“every dollar saved by a participant is matched by the Initiative, typically with three dollars for every one dollar saved.  IDA participants can then buy a home, get education or training, start or develop a small business, do certain home repairs, or buy equipment to support employment”.

Portland Home Buyer's Assistance Program IDA for down payment

The Home Buyer’s Assistance program in Oregon has been extended until 2022 for residents looking to save for a new home.  This amazing program offer down payment assistance to Portlanders.

For more information visit the Oregon Individual Development Account (IDA) Initiative or the Portland Housing Center. These organizations offer tools and information toward creating homeownership for all Oregonians. 


Oregon Individual Development Account (IDA) Initiative
c/o Neighborhood Partnerships
310 SW Fourth Avenue, Suite 715
Portland OR 97204

Portland Housing Center
3233 NE Sandy Blvd.
Portland, OR 97232


Written by Jennifer Kane, Expanded Exposure LLC.

Is Portland’s Growth Sustainable?

Portland is bursting at the seams with exciting new restaurants, shops, apartments, and PEOPLE!  But, the quality of life has remained consistently, well, GREAT!  City leaders and community members have been teaming up to ensure that the future of the city stays on course with the standards that everyone has come to expect and appreciate.

Coffee isn't the only thing on the tip of everyone's tongue these days. Portlander's are pooling together and taking an active role in our city's growth.

Coffee isn’t the only thing on the tip of everyone’s tongue these days. Portlander’s are pooling together and taking an active role in our city’s growth.  The Portland growth plan aims to nurture our “micro” communities.  Image courtesy, Sean Savage.

Currently, the city is updating the Growth Scenarios Report, which forecasts expected distribution of future growth, as well as the benefits from infrastructure investments identified in the Citywide Systems Plan (CSP) and Transportation System Plan (TSP).  This information, coupled with community input, allows the city to refresh the grand finale, 2035 Comprehensive Plan.

So, what kind of growth can we expect in Portland?

Well, the statistics from the Growth Scenarios Report show that in the next 20 years, there will be roughly 142,000 new jobs to support 123,000 more households.

What’s the Strategy?

Portland’s unique mix of urban amenities, chummy, locally-owned businesses, and gregarious neighborhoods have been nurtured by the city’s “Centers and Corridors” growth management strategy. 

“By focusing growth in vibrant centers and along bustling corridors, the draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan helps us reduce carbon emissions, gets people closer to jobs, provides more affordable housing, and creates demand for stores and restaurants. It also makes better use of our existing infrastructure like streets, transit systems, parks and pipes.”

Hot Spots To Keep Your Eyes On:

1. The hot new Williams Corridor in Northeast Portland. This vibrant area is also the location of our new office.  Come visit Home Sweet Home, located at 4555 N. Williams Ave! 

2. Interstate Corridor running through Northeast into North Portland. This home for sale at 1606 N. Holman St. is located in one of North Portland’s best neighborhoods, Arbor Lodge.

3. Woodstock Blvd in Southeast Portland.

What about jobs?

Outside of the “Centers and Corridors” strategy, the city is focusing major job growth in the industrial areas of Portland, with sensitive attention being given to environmental concerns.  These warehouse and heavy manufacturing jobs support a balanced economy by providing decent wages to the non-college educated population.

According to the Economic Opportunities Analysis (EOA), which monitors and sets strategies for land use in conjunction with employment goals, Portland is on track in meeting their 2035 target.

Portlander’s give their take on life here and the Portland Growth Plan.

A vote is tentatively scheduled for mid July to recommend the draft Comprehensive Plan to City Council. The Recommended Draft will head to Council in August, opening the next period for public comment.

Check and confirm times and locations by visiting the Comprehensive Plan’s Update calendar.

N Portland

Saturday, July 11, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Peninsula Park Community Center

700 N Rosa Parks Way

E Portland

Saturday, June 13, 12 – 3 p.m.

Midland Library

805 SE 122nd Ave

Thursday, July 9, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

East Portland Community Center

740 SE 106th Ave

SE Portland

Thursday, July 9, 4 – 7 p.m.

Mt Scott Community Center

5530 SE 72nd Ave

SW Portland

Tuesday, June 16, 4 – 7 p.m.

SWNI at Multnomah Arts Center

7688 SW Capitol Hwy

Wednesday, July 22, 3 – 6 p.m.

Capitol Hill Library

10723 SW Capitol Hwy

Written by Jennifer Kane, Expanded Exposure LLC.

10 Best Kid-Friendly Activities in Portland

Summertime or anytime, the question comes up – What should we do with the kids today?  Do they need some exercise, some mental stimulation, or just some straight up silliness?  Ok, maybe that’s us needing some silly! 

There are so many reasons why we HEART Portland.  Reinvigorate your own spirit, and delight in connecting with your little ones by exploring all the kid friendly FUN that our city has to offer. 

Take the kiddos to try out one of the zany new flavors at Salt & Straw, artisan ice cream parlor, in Portland. Image courtesy, Kelly Sue DeConnick

Take the kiddos to try out one of the zany new flavors at Salt & Straw, the delicious artisan ice cream parlor in Portland. Image courtesy, Kelly Sue DeConnick


Salt & Straw

Ok, so we are shamelessly including Salt & Straw on the list so the parents can have an excuse to indulge in their sweet tooth.  This local artisan ice cream chain has become a beloved fixture.  Part of the fun is sampling and then choosing one of the extreme flavors.  Oddball variety today: Koi Fusion’s Kimchi and Rice.

Oregon Zoo –

Monkeys or Elephants? This is the first question we always ask when stepping inside the zoo, and making a beeline toward one of our favorite exhibits.  Kids and adults alike, love animals!  And while, we don’t love seeing them in cages, the educational opportunity that the zoo offers is unparalleled. 

Take your baby to see the new arrivals at Oregon Zoo this summer. Image courtesy, ArtBrom

Take your baby to see the new arrivals at Oregon Zoo this summer. Image courtesy, ArtBrom

Forest Park –

This epic park covers over 5100 acres!  But, to condense that a bit for wee little legs, here is one hike worth mentioning.  The Lower Macleay Trail is a great trail for families. It offers a few different turn around points, the first being the Stone House, the second would be to loop back on the Wildwood Trail; and the longest option takes you all the way to the Audubon Society, or further still to the famous Pittock Mansion. 

North Clackamas Aquatic Park

Slip and slide down one of two huge water slides at this 400,000 gallon indoor aquatic park.  The large pool is surrounded by a kiddie area with smaller slides, hot tubs, and an area for swim lessons.  When you dry off, conquer Steel Mountain, a 29-foot rock climbing wall.  This is probably the best aquatic park in the Portland metro area!

So much awesome under one roof! Waterslides and a kiddie pool area, kids love the Clackamas Aquatic Center. Image courtesy, Eli Duke

So much awesome under one roof! Waterslides and a kiddie pool area, kids love the Clackamas Aquatic Center. Image courtesy, Eli Duke

Portland Children’s Museum –

Designed for ages 0-12, at the Portland Children’s Museum, kids learn life skills and critical thinking.  But, don’t worry!  The “learning” is disguised in fun, hands-on, brain buster challenges. Our favorite exhibits are the Clay Studio and the Outdoor Zany Maze. Get over there soon, this June is hero’s month!

Oaks Amusement Park –

How about some old-fashioned roller skating? Or, remember choosing the prettiest horse on the carousel to ride? And, there’s probably not a person alive who doesn’t LOVE bumper cars! This old-timey amusement park has every thing from a ferris wheel to barkers enticing you to knock down a pyramid of milk jugs for a prize.  Hey, don’t forget to bring the kids too!

Round and Round and up and down, your little ones will have a blast at Oaks Amusement Park.  Image courtesy, Kelly Sue DeConnick

Pick-Your-Own Farms

Strawberry picking is at it’s finest right now at Bella Organic Farms. (June 8 – 14th).  Call ahead for seasonality, but the farm regularly grows raspberries, marionberries, and blueberries.  Stop by in the fall for the Pumpkin patch and haunted corn maze. Or, check out these other U-pick options:  Jossy Farms or Smith Berry Barn in Hillsboro, or Kruger Farms near Beall Organic Farms on Sauvie Island.

U-pick farms are a great way to get outside and enjoy the fruits of mother nature. Image courtesy, Various Brennemans

U-pick farms are a great way to get outside and enjoy the fruits of mother nature. Image courtesy, Various Brennemans

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

Wow the kids by taking them inside a real working Navy submarine, where they can peer through a periscope and touch a torpedo!  Afterwards, visit the famous Kendall Planetarium. From the bottom of the ocean to the stars in the sky, The OMSI takes you around the world and back again.  This summer, catch Ripley’s Believe It Or Not exhibit, running from now through September 7. 

Ripley's Believe It Or Not exhibit at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Image courtesy, Jon Seidman

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not exhibit at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Image courtesy, Jon Seidman

Jamison Square

This is the hot spot on hot summer days in the Pearl District in downtown Portland.  An architectural beauty, the fountain cascades cool water over rows of stairs where families like to sit and splash.  The shallow tidal pool is great for kids of all ages.  Dog lovers are also known to frequent this area. 

Festivals and Events

We decided that all the ongoing, amazing festivals happening in and around Portland deserve their own noteworthy category.  Here are some of our favorite events: Pedalpalooza, Tigard Baloon Festival, Story and Stroll at Tryon Creek Nature Center, and the Junior Parade at the Rose Festival.  Be sure to check the local calendar for happenings, including the many street fairs offered throughout the city. 


Written by Jennifer Kane, Expanded Exposure LLC.

The Tigard Hot Air Balloon Festival is fun for the whole family. Kids will love seeing this rainbow of color in the sky. Image courtesy, George

The Tigard Hot Air Balloon Festival is fun for the whole family. Kids will love seeing this rainbow of color in the sky. Image courtesy, George Mr Marmot

TOP Home Improvement Projects for Home Buyers in Portland

A huge percentage of Portland homes were built mid-century or are pushing the centennial mark.  There is even a current grass roots campaign  to “save the historic homes”.  Many feel that the old charm is what Portland is known for.  But, no matter which side of the debate you are on, if you are planning on owning a home here, chances are that your distinguished domicile needs a little pampering.  Hey, we all deserve to age gracefully! 

Outlining a few key projects from the start, will help in maintaining the comfort, cost, and beauty of your home.  Let’s keep that investment working for you for years to come! 

TIPS When Starting Any Home Improvement Project:

  • If you are in the process of buying or selling a home, Portland offers a number of thorough and knowledgable Home Inspectors.
  • Be sure your Contractor is Licensed and Bonded in Oregon
  • Always ask for References
  • Do your research on materials and options ahead of time
  • Always ask for a FREE estimate
  • Compare quotes
  • Ask about ENERGY STAR efficiency products and rebates
  • Visit Energy Trust of Oregon for Incentive programs and information for home owners.   
  • Always insist upon a solid warranty
  • Be sure to research proper permitting for DIY projects
  • After purchasing your new home, contact the Energy Trust of Oregon for their free home energy audit.
  • NW Natural will perform a once a year inspection on any gas appliance

Hard Wood Refinish

It’s like winning the lottery!  Many home buyers are overjoyed to tear up old carpet and  discover a beautiful original wood floor beneath.  Original wood floors in old Portland homes are usually a solid and sturdy oak, which offer history and character.  Roughly 95% of these homes have oak or a mix of oak and fir throughout.  Oak, being your true hardwood, is best used in high traffic areas; fir, a softwood, is preferred for bedrooms and hallways.  The beauty of this amazing discovery is that it can probably withstand a good sanding and refinishing job to bring it back to life.  Most oak floors can sustain about 3 sandings before the tongue and groove begin to show. 

Thinking of Refinishing or installing hardwood? Know your options and find a professional in the area with great references.

Thinking of Refinishing or installing hardwood? Know your options and find a professional in the area with great references. Image courtesy, Will Keightley

But before you DIY this one, please note a few things…

  • Water & Catalytic Water Based Polyurethanes are stronger, dry faster, and have less odor and there is minimal color change over time.
  • The Oil Based Polyurethanes coatings are about 30% cheaper, take much longer to dry and cure, has a strong odor, and the color will darken and yellow some over time.  For these reasons, this type of coating is not recommended for occupied homes.
  • All hardwoods Will Dent, ding, and Scratch
  • Check the hardness of the wood : a hard wood can last well over 10 years, while a soft wood will look worn in 3.
  • Types of wood: Oak, Fur, Maple, Cherry, Walnut, Bamboo, Quark.  The list goes on and on.

Exterior Siding and Paint –

The gorgeous vintage homes around town can be a blessing and a curse.  Over the years, quick fixes were applied to the exterior of some homes.  In fact, the original wood siding, usually fir or cedar, is sometimes buried three layers below the surface! 

Around a hundred years ago through the early 1960s, lead paint and other products like cement-asbestos siding were applied to sides of homes.  Left intact, these products do very little to no harm.  However, should you wish to see your siding in all its original glory, or simple choose a brand new exterior material, license professionals may be needed.  The EPA has mandated an abatement program that requires the careful removal of any flagged substance and the capture of its harmful dust particles.

Current Siding Options:

  • Cedar Flares or Shingles – This is the highest price option, but offers the natural, unbeatable appeal of real wood. 
  • Wood Siding – Needs proper prep and painting, and can last 20 – 25 years. Offers a more natural look than cement board.
  • Cement Board (Hardy Board) – This option is fairly inexpensive.  It needs proper prep and painting, and can last a whopping 50 years!
  • Vinyl – This is the least expensive option. Vinyl cannot hold paint well, so you are stuck with that particular color.
  • Stucco – Offers a natural appearance that can be molded, stained, or painted.

Whichever option you choose, a contractor or professional installation company is recommended.

Hot Water Heater –

Check the age of your hot water heater and examine the area for any leaks.  If there is water leaking from the tank, chances are, it needs to be replaced. 

A new hot water heater can cost anywhere from $500 – $1000, and will last around 7- 9 years.

Sewer Scope –

Having a sewer scope performed is recommended before buying a home in Portland.  Although it may vary in jurisdiction across Oregon, in Portland, the homeowner is responsible for the integrity of the line leading from their home to the curb or property line. 

A professional sewer scope inspection take approximately one hour to perform, and will cost around $100 for a single family home.  And, the inspection can often be negotiated as a part of the Buyer’s Repair Addendum / Request for Repair during the inspection period. Your inspection will determine if a quick fix or spot treatment can easily be performed.  Your inspector will then give you recommendations as to when to recheck and service the line again in the future.  In more drastic cases, a failed inspection would usually require replacing the old line with an entirely new line of ABS piping.  Pricing would then depend on the length of the line to be replaced and any obstructions such as driveways, landscaping, or retaining walls. 

Gas Furnace:

If properly serviced, a good furnace can last 20 – 25 years.  Smart homeowners will have a regular service call performed each year.   Besides the age of a furnace, factors like square footage, direction the home faces, number and age of windows, type of insulation, number of people in the home, and climate and humidity will all play a roll in the effectiveness of your furnace.

When a buying an older home, it may be beneficial to have an inspection performed.  Technicians will examine the homes ductwork, insulation, electrical service and wiring, piping, filters, grills, etc. before making their recommendation. 


Energy Trust of Oregon currently has an incentive program running for home owners who replace their old furnaces with those that are ENERGY STAR Efficient and EPA approved.

Add Insulation into the attic, seal any cracks.  Apply weather stripping to doors and windows.  These tricks will drastically reduce your energy bill. 

NEW Windows –  

New windows can add a whole new level of style and panache, and will help an old home feel clean and fresh.  Say goodbye to paint chipping, noise, cold air seeping in and out, and high energy bills.  New windows even work to prevent fading in your wood floors, rugs and artwork.  They are easier to open/close, clean, and lock.

New windows can improve the look and energy efficiency of a Portland home.

New windows can improve the look and energy efficiency of a Portland home. Image Courtesy, Gord Webster

But beware shoppers, all windows are NOT created equal.   The quality of the glass and framing system can affect their life and efficiency.   Be sure to research and ask questions about the number of glass panes used, the type of filling between those panes, and the number of coats applied to the surface of the panes.  There are also pros and cons involved with the material you choose for the frame.  Options include composite, aluminum, vinyl, fiberglass, wood and wood covered with an aluminum or vinyl.   A solid choice upfront will last 20 years, and offer a huge savings in energy efficiency.  For more information on selecting windows, click here. 

New Roof –

Replacing a roof can be a somewhat costly endeavor, running between $5000 – $8000.  But, depending on the material and quality that you choose, can last 15 – 50 years. 

Wood Shake or Cedar Shingles – 15 – 25 years

Composite – 15 – 35 years

Tile or Metal – 30 – 50 years

A Roof Certification is helpful in buying and selling properties. They are usually good for around 3 years, and run approximately $300. To help maintain the life of your roof, clean the gutters regularly and investigate companies that offer gentle cleaning methods to remove moss and algae.

Written by Jennifer Kane, Expanded Exposure LLC.