What’s up with the “U” signs on some Portland buildings?

Have you noticed these signs on buildings throughout Portland?

What are they? Our best guess was secret lairs for Uber Drivers.

The signs are actually put up by the Portland Fire Marshal to mark properties that may be unsafe for firefighters. A building gets a U sign if a fire inspector and city engineer determine together that it does not meet fire codes.

This does not mean the buildings are unsafe to inhabit. A building can be up to building code but not comply with the fire code for various reasons.



Clumping Bamboo & Leyland Cypress are Great for Adding Privacy to your Home and Yard!

Here are a few Resources:

Clumping Bamboo – http://www.wikihow.com/Plant-a-Clumping-Bamboo
Leyland Cypress and fast growing trees – https://www.fast-growing-trees.com/Oregon.htm

Make a Day of it! Some local nurseries & nearby restaurants:

Tony’s Nursery http://www.tonysgarden.com
Then maybe lunch or dinner at the Z Haus Brewing? http://www.zoiglhaus.com/contact/

Birds and Bees Nursery http://www.birdsandbeespdx.com
Stop in for a bite and cold beverage http://www.gladstonestreetpub.com

Cornell Farms https://www.cornellfarms.com
Have breakfast or lunch across the road at the Oregon College of Art and Craft Café. https://ocac.edu/cafe

PDX Renter’s Rebellion has begun!

No cause eviction notices, rent hikes, and landlords making renter’s lives unbearable plus the overall stress of the unknown has pushed renters into action! The PDX renter is saying “NO MORE” and they are taking control of their housing.  In the past year we have seen many first-time home buyers find creative ways to purchase a home and beat landlords at their own game.

Many reading this will say, “I don’t think I can buy home” but we ask you to reconsider.  There are many programs and low/no-downpayment options that may allow the dream of a secure home to come true.  Lets get inspired to begin the exciting journey to home ownership!

First-Time Home Buyer Programs:
Both Oregon and Washington have various programs and grants available to First Time Home Buyers. As a general rule a First-Time Home Buyer is anyone who has not owned a home in the past 3 years. Keep in mind to be considered a homeowner your name needs to be on the title to the property and in oftentimes on the mortgage as well.

Buy a Home | Homeownership Programs, Counselor and Resources

Washington State Housing Finance Commission

Government Loans:
USDA Loans: For eligible suburban and rural home buyers, it’s a 100%, no-money down mortgage loan backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Rural Development loan’s full name is the USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Housing Loan. However, the program is more commonly known as a USDA loan.

Veterans (VA) Loans: The VA Loan is a home-mortgage option available to United States Veterans, Service Members and not remarried spouses. 100%, no-money down VA Loans are issued by qualified lenders and guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

FHA (Federal Housing Administration) Loans: An FHA loan is a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration. This is a low down payment option for most people, at 3.5% down.  Borrowers with FHA loans pay for mortgage insurance, which protects the lender from a loss if the borrower defaults on the loan. You can shop for an FHA loan from various sources including your local bank, credit union, mortgage lender or mortgage broker.

Lenders Role:
Both banks and credit unions are a great place to start to shop for a mortgage. Many buyers also contact mortgage brokers and mortgage lenders.  If you aren’t sure who to contact first, ask friends and family who they used for their mortgage.

We have found the buyers who have their finances lined out before they begin to look for a home are the most successful. A good lender will prepare the buyer for what needs to be accomplished prior to applying for the loan, they will educate the buyer as to what the process will look like once the buyer has obtained a pre-qualification letter and once the buyer has an accepted offer on a home.

Creative ways to qualify for a mortgage:
The past several years the Portland market become a very “HOT SELLERS MARKET.”   This has resulted in buyers having to get creative to compete.  Some buyers pool their money and their credit scores together for a joint venture for a single family home and/or a duplex or triplex. Other buyers have a parent or family member added to the mortgage, and some buyers have purchased a home with two or more friends. The options can be endless when buyers pool their resources for the same purpose.

Success in the market place:
The most successful buyer has already researched and lined up their lender and have a pre-qualification letter in-hand for a mortgage.  They have found a Realtor to help get them into homes quickly and represent their best interests exclusively.  It is important to identify the price point that is appropriate for the area that they want to live in and most importantly they are prepared to take the journey and do the work to find the perfect home.

For those of you thinking about joining the Renter’s Rebellion in 2017, we wish you great success!

We hope you find this information helpful and we look forward to an opportunity to earn your business if you find yourself in need of a great Realtor to protect your interests and help you navigate the process.

Get your House ready for Spring with These Home Improvement Tips!

Whether or not you intend to sell your house this year, Winter can be very hard on the exterior of your home.  The rain that keeps our beloved Pacific Northwest so lush and green can cause some major damage.  These helpful tips will help you get your home ready for Spring.

Check your Gutters and Roof

This is a great time to make sure your gutters and downspouts are free of leaves and debris!  Gutters tend to clog at the elbow, luckily this piece is easy to remove. Once the gutters are clear, check that they are securely attached and that water is draining away from your foundation.  Improper gutter drainage is a leading cause of moisture in your basement.  Taking the time to make sure they are clear of debris can save you from costly foundation repairs further down the road.

While you’re up there, take a cursory look at your roof.  Address any issues (missing shingles, moss, etc) that will reduce its effectiveness.

Concrete Cracks

Check for cracks in the foundation, concrete patios and walkways.  Cracked concrete allows moisture to undermine the structural integrity of your home over time.  Inspect for cracks and fix them before Spring rains make them a larger issue.  Concrete crack filler or silicone caulk are inexpensive ways to quickly repair small cracks.  If your basement walls have multiple cracks, consider painting the foundation with a specialized sealant.  This will prevent water from seeping in and creating a potentially dangerous mold problem.

Here is a great website filled with information regarding mold prevention!


Just like cracks in concrete, gaps in the windows can let in water and pests.  Spring is the ideal time to scrape old caulk out and re-do it.  Also, check for any rot in the trim and window sills.  Repair as needed.  Clean your windows and open them up.  Get some fresh air in your home!

Move Firewood

Many people keep their firewood stacked neatly against their house, tucked under the eaves to keep it dry and easily accessible.  Its time to get the wood away from your house.  Not only is it possible to damage your siding, but the damp dark stack of firewood is a breeding ground for insects and pests.  Ideally, firewood should be stored off the ground and two feet from the exterior of your house.

Spruce it up

For an instant face lift and improved curb appeal, rent a pressure washer.  Debris, mold, mildew and moss have a tendency to accumulate over the winter.  Leaving your deck, walkways, driveway and house looking dirty.   Pick a nice day to clean all these surfaces.  You will be instantly pleased by the improvement!

Spring is also the ideal time to freshen up your exterior.  Consider repainting your front door and trim for a high impact/low cost change.  Plant some new flowers, shrubbery or herbs to perk up your yard!  Use compacted soil to fill in any low or sunken spots that have developed over the winter.

Have you been dreaming all winter of starting your own organic garden?  Now is a great time to start!  Check out this helpful article.



Competing in Portlands HOT sellers market

Competing in Portland’s Hot Real Estate Market

Portland is one of the fastest growing housing markets in the United States. For the third year in a row, Oregon is the top moving destination according to a study conducted by United Van Lines. Many of these transplants are relocating to the Portland Metro Area. Cashing out of costlier housing markets and taking advantage of the relative affordability of Portland. With this influx of cash buyers and limited stock, how do you compete in a hot seller’s market?

Have your finances in order

Know how much you are able to spend on your new home. Don’t forget about the closing and inspection costs when deciding how much money to borrow. Find a mortgage professional and secure a strong pre-approval letter before you begin your search. This will allow you to move quickly when you find the house you want to make an offer on. Sellers have traditionally preferred cash offers due to a perceived expediency in closing and reduced risk of the deal falling apart in the loan process. You can put sellers at ease by having your finances in order at the time of the offer.

Be Realistic

Your Realtor can help you by providing you the closing prices of comparable houses in the neighborhood you are looking. Due to a low inventory, many houses are selling for over asking price. Kelly Stafford, owner of Home Sweet Home Realty, crunched the numbers for HSH’s 2015 sales and on average the winning bids were 11% over list price. This knowledge has been very useful for HSH Realty’s buyer clients. Allowing HSH clients to make strong and realistic offers.

If you are approved for a $300,000 loan don’t overlook houses listed for less. Sometimes it is worth buying a house with some minor issues that may be a turn off to buyers. You can avoid a costly bidding war and put the money you saved towards improving the house. Most importantly, don’t be discouraged if your offer is not accepted. New houses get listed every day. Stay on top of new listings and be ready to make multiple offers. You will get one!

Be Flexible

One of the best strategies for competing in Portland’s Hot Real Estate Market is to be flexible with your terms when writing an offer on a house. There are more factors than money when it comes to closing the deal. Your Realtor can help you gain a competitive edge over other buyers (yes, even cash buyers) by figuring out what is really important to the sellers. Have they found their next house? Offering an extended closing time or free rent back may make your offer stand out. Do the sellers want to close fast? You may consider waiving the financing contingency or reducing the inspection period. Though, as this article points out, it is a risk to waive the Inspection Clause completely.

Make it Personal

Buying and selling a home is an emotional process. One of the simplest things you can do to stand out when making an offer will cost you nothing! Write a letter or make a video of yourself for the sellers. Tell them about yourself and how owning their home would change your life. Are you looking to raise a family? Have you recently relocated to the area? Let them know that you think their home is special. Sellers appreciate knowing that the next person to own their home will love and care for it as they have. This technique can definitely give you an edge, especially when competing against investors.


Looking to Buy or Sell? We would love to help! Contact one of our great Home Sweet Home Realtors at 503-515-2986 or online at hshrealty.net.

Vancouver Buzz: Waterfront Adds To Livability In SW Washington

Vancouver, or the “Couv” is a city of about 160,000 residents, positioned just north of Portland, along the beautiful Columbia River with mild winters and superb summers. 

The city maintains its own charm and identity with a lively downtown restaurant and bar scene, a local arts community, and unique shopping. There are a variety of historical and noteworthy attractions to visit.  And, the area is surrounded by natural beauty in all directions from the Columbia Gorge on the East, and back to the Pacific Ocean on the West. Many residents love the simple hop skip and jump it takes to get to downtown Portland, where they can easily enjoy all the amenities of a major metropolitan city. Vancouver offers all of this, and more reasonable home prices, as compared to Portland’s now infamously hot housing market.

The Waterfront Vancouver is a gorgeous setting along the Columba River. The expansion and beautification project is well underway. Image Courtesy of Visit Vancouver USA.

The Waterfront Vancouver offers a gorgeous setting along the Columba River. The expansion and beautification project is well underway. Image Courtesy of Visit Vancouver USA.

The Waterfront Vancouver-

Residents and investors are particularly keeping their eye on the growth happening on the Waterfront Vancouver project along the banks of the Columbia River.  This major mix-use development will transform $1.3 billion dollars on 32-acres into a stylish riverfront promenade full of restaurants, specialty shops, office space, residential units, and lodging.

The centerpiece of the project will be a cutting-edge, cable suspended pier that will jut out 90 feet across the promenade and over the water, allowing visitors to stroll out and enjoy the view.  This chic new Grant Street Pier will fall between blocks 9 and 12 and will be fronted by 40,000 square feet of signature restaurant space.

To give you a snapshot, just last week, Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar announced that they have secured a lease at the Grant Street Pier.  This trendy restaurant chain has successful locations in Utah, Oregon, and Idaho, and should make an exciting addition to the waterfront.  Their 8,320 square‐foot Waterfront location is set to open in 2017.  It will have a “riverfront boathouse feel, with modern lines and large sliding doors,” representatives said.

What We Can Expect:

2015: After construction, Esther and Grant streets now connect downtown Vancouver to Columbia Way and the future Waterfront Vancouver.

2016: Construction begins summer 2016 on two restaurant buildings, two apartment buildings, an office building, city park, and Grant Street Pier.

2017: Restaurants, cafes, businesses and the city park will open late 2017.

The Big Picture: The project’s master plan will utilize 5 million total developable square feet, and will likely consist of: 1,000,000 square feet of office space, approximately 3,300 residential units and a hotel.  Another 250,000 square feet will be dedicated to mixed-use space, including restaurants, cafes, specialty shops and other retail. 

Outdoor Space: Expect plenty of walkable pathways and a community gathering space with expansive waterfront views.  New streets will be added for easy access for bicyclists and pedestrian.

This ambitious and exciting plan will, no doubt, increase the livability factor in Vancouver, attracting tourists and residents alike.  And, by connecting this lively waterfront to the downtown area, the entire city will receive an invigorating boost of commerce and progress. 

Downtown Vancouver

“Discover the Original” at First Fridays

Vancouver is currently most proud of its First Fridays art walk.  Residents invite you to “Discover the Original” and visit their downtown Art District during this monthly event.  Multiple businesses stay open late and display local and original art on their walls.  Take a walking tour of public exhibits and stop in to one of many sophisticated galleries displaying native beadwork, photography, illustrations, headpieces, and other works.

Vancouver is home to many creative artists and a thriving art scene. Visitors flock to Vancouver every 1st Friday for Art Night. Each year the town holds the Recycled Arts Fest, seen here. Image Courtesy of Visit Vancouver USA.

Vancouver is home to many creative artists and a thriving art scene. Visitors flock to Vancouver every 1st Friday for Art Night. Each year the town holds the Recycled Arts Fest, seen here. Image Courtesy of Visit Vancouver USA.

Stationary art isn’t all you can expect on First Fridays. Be prepared to catch spoken word poetry, belly dancing, henna, glass-blowing, live music and other inspiring curiosities.  This is a family friendly event.

Art District

First Fridays isn’t the only time to visit Vancouver.  In 2014, the city officially designated a core chunk of downtown galleries and theaters as the “Arts District”.

Blast from the Past... Kiggins Theatre in Downtown Vancouver, Washington. Image Courtesy of Visit Vancouver USA.

Blast from the Past… Kiggins Theatre in Downtown Vancouver, Washington. Image Courtesy of Visit Vancouver USA.

Transport yourself back to 1936 by visiting the Kiggins Theatre.  This movie house shows indie films, serves local brews on tap, vintage candy and “the best” popcorn in town. 

The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is a city-wide treasure. Here they celebrate classical music with a concert for the Chinook Elementary School students. Image Courtesy of Visit Vancouver USA.

The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is a city-wide treasure. Here they celebrate classical music with a concert for the Chinook Elementary School students. Image Courtesy of Visit Vancouver USA.

Worth noting, is the world-class Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.   Witness the legendary Itzhak Perlman or something more mainstream like “The Godfather”.  There are over 150 shows each year to choose from.

Esther Short Park

When visiting be sure to convene at Esther Short Park, the official town square of Vancouver.  This 5+ acre park is the oldest public square in the West and boasts a rose garden, an old bell tower, a large fountain and playground for the kids.

Summertime at the Esther Short Park Pavilion means family fun time with their free concert series.  And, in late August, the Vancouver Wine and Jazz Festival takes place, and is debatably the largest jazz fest in the Pacific Northwest. 

The park’s shining attraction, the Vancouver Farmers Market, just happens to be the #1 visitor attraction in Southwest Washington.  Over 250 vendors come to this outdoor market with artisan tastings galore from local farmers. Dip into some locally made vinegars, lemony chèvre, or hazelnuts candied with allspice.

Libations and Fare in and around Downtown Vancouver-

Many say that Beervana extends over Portland’s border to the North, as Vancouver is home to some distinguished microbrews that you can’t get anywhere else.  If your curiosity remains parched, and you’re planning on taking your own “Beervana” tour, then be sure to stop into Heathen Brewing, Fortside Brewing Company, or Loowit Brewing Company

Sample other refined liquors at the local towny favorite, The Thirsty Sasquatch.  The Sasquatch offers flights of your choice of 32 prime whiskeys and a slew of pristine bourbons.   Jorge’s Tequila Factory let’s you choose from a list of over 20 tequila’s and different mix-ins to create unique margaritas like the 007 Margarita Royale.

You don’t have to wait for the Waterfront Vancouver project to be complete, in order to enjoy the exceptional Columbia riverside views.  McMennamins on the Columbia is a popular favorite for happy hour with friends.  Try out their Brewer’s Crab Fondue Pot with an Edgefield Fizz, made with their own Edgefield Herbal Liqueur No. 7.

Lapellah practices farm to table preparation in many dishes.  The 13-hour slow-roasted pork with local arugula and confit fingerling potatoes has people talking.   And, La Botegga makes marks for making everything from scratch with local seasonal ingredients.  They are also known for their wine pairings.  Find out what delicious red would go well with their gorgonzola cheese cake and smoked oyster chowder.

Southwest Washington is home to many small wineries. Image Courtesy of Visit Vancouver USA.

Southwest Washington is home to many small wineries. Image Courtesy of Visit Vancouver USA.

For a more refined experience, drive the scenic Clark County Winery Loop through Vancouver and the fertile, rolling hills of Ridgefield and Battle Ground.  This is a smaller wine scene than some of the surrounding regions, but patrons rave about the complex reds and the fragrant and blossomy tones of the whites.

Have fun exploring the wine region and/or the local brewing scene with a “Clark County Wineries Passport” or a “Brewcouver Brewery Passport”.  You’ll receive information with participating vendors mapped out, along with some mouth watering descriptions. 


The Waterfront Renaissance Trail is really an impressive route that combines an enjoyable river front view with a bit of local history, and even a chance to shop and dine along the way.  The 5-mile on-street and off-street trail connects pedestrians and cyclists from Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver to a sandy beach at Wintler Park, where one can take in impressive views of Mount Hood. 

The Discover Historic Trail Loop portion leads visitors through Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Officers Row, past the Pearson Air Field and Museum.   Take the 40-foot-wide, earth-covered Vancouver Land Bridge to meet back up with the main trail.

Sunset at the Bastion at Fort Vancouver. Image Courtesy of Visit Vancouver USA.

Sunset at the Bastion at Fort Vancouver. Image Courtesy of Visit Vancouver USA.

Pacific Community Park is a tremendous 56-acre area with a large dog park, basketball courts, a skate park, picnic tables and public restrooms.

Vancouver Lake Regional Park is a summertime favorite, offering 2.5 miles of shoreline for picnicking, barbecuing, hiking, swimming, windsurfing, and sand volleyball. 

A perfect summer getaway! Lake Vancouver Park. Image Courtesy of Visit Vancouver USA.

A perfect summer getaway! Vancouver Lake Park. Image Courtesy of Visit Vancouver USA.

Surrounding Area and Other Attractions:

Washougal River

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

Moulton Falls Park

Lacamas Lake

Mount St. Helen

Columbia River Gorge

Pacific Ocean

Sleep Country Amphitheater

Cedar Creek Grist Mill


C-Tran provides Clark County with bus service.  They also provide an express service to downtown Portland, Lloyd District, and Marquam Hill. 

Amtrak has three routes that service their Vancouver station, making travel to and from Seattle very accessible. 


The annual Clark County Fair in August has been dubbed the “summer’s best party.”  Get ready for 10 full days of classic carnival rides and games, animal shows, fair foods, and top-notch entertainment. Livablity.com recently dubbed the fair as one of the Top 10 in the Nation!

The Clark County Fair is one of the best in the nation! Vancouver, Washington Image Courtesy of Visit Vancouver USA.

The Clark County Fair is one of the best in the nation! Vancouver, Washington Image Courtesy of Visit Vancouver USA.

In the fall and winter months, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site offers their Lantern Tour Series, a story-filled, lantern-lit tour through the 1840s-era fort.

The Vancouver Brewfest happens over two days in the spring.  Get your lips on the local champions of beer, cider and whiskey. 

The most eco-conscious festival of the year, the Recycled Arts Festival, happens in June.  Creativity never felt so satisfying!

In July the city says E komo mai, or welcome, to Three Days of Aloha in Vancouver.  This annual summer event attracts hula dancers and crafters from all over to showcase their love and knowledge of Hawaii.

The Three Days of Aloha Festival in Vancouver, Washington brings visitors and participants from around the world. Image Courtesy of Visit Vancouver USA.

The Three Days of Aloha Festival in Vancouver, Washington brings visitors and participants from around the world. Image Courtesy of Visit Vancouver USA.

There is an Old Apple Tree that is thought to be not only the oldest in the Northwest, but also the matriarch to Washington’s apple industry.  Every fall, locals flock to the tree to celebrate the Old Apple Tree Festival.  Receive clippings from this tree planted in 1826, press your own cider, learn to make rope, and more!

Unique and on the map! – Vancouver

* The Atlantic called Vancouver (coupled with Portland) the 10th most peaceful metropolitan region in the United States. (2012)

* Money Magazine dubbed Vancouver one of America’s 100 Best Places to Live. (2005)

* There is no income tax in Washington, offering what some feel is an affordable alternative to Portland.  However, while Portland has a higher income tax, there is no sales tax.

Real Estate:

Home styles run the gamut from craftsman to ranch-style to beautiful old Victorians.  Further out of town, one can find larger lots and homes. 

2016 – As according to Trulia.com

Average Listing Price $339,760

Median Sales Price $250,000

Number of Sales 937

*Average price per square foot for Vancouver WA was $163, an increase of 13.2% compared to the same period last year.

Schools and Educations:

Vancouver has some top rated public schools. Here are just a few worth noting:

Fisher Academy: k-5

Chinook Elementary School: k-5

Harmony Elementary School: k-5

Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary: k-5

Shahala Middle School: 6-8

Alki Middle School: 6-8

Vancouver School of Arts and Academics: 6-12

Columbia River High School: 9-12

Skyview High School: 9-12

Clark College is a community and technical college system offering a multitude of classes.


Washington State University Vancouver offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in areas such as business, computer science and engineering.

For more information about Vancouver, Washington, available properties, or to list your home, please contact Home Sweet Home Realty via email at info@hshrealty.net or by phone at (503) 515-2986.


Written by Jennifer Kane, Expanded Exposure LLC.


 So, you think you know Portland? How well do you know your Hood?  Home Sweet Home Realty is holding a WEEKLY Scavenger Hunt and giving away FREE coffee. 

Enter the “Name That Hood – Portland Scavenger Hunt” and WIN FREE COFFEE!

Here’s How To Play:

Win Free Coffee in the “Name That Hood” Portland Scavenger Hunt with Home Sweet Home Realty.

  1. Each week we will post a picture from around Portland.
  2. You: LIKE our Facebook Page, Share the post on your page.
  3. IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to tell us WHERE the item is located. Proud of your amazing accomplishment?  Feel free to show us with a Selfie of you and the mystery image.
  4. One Lucky WINNER (randomly selected from correct entries) will be announced EVERY Friday!
  5. RESULTS: You Could Win FREE Portland Coffee!  ($10 Gift Card)

CURRENT IMAGE – “Name That Hood!” Go!

Win Free Coffee in the “Name That Hood” Portland Scavenger Hunt with Home Sweet Home Realty.

Additional Rules: One random winner will be selected from qualifying entries each week.  Winner will be notified via Home Sweet Home Realty’s Facebook page. PLEASE check back each week to see if you’ve won.



Written by Jennifer Kane, Expanded Exposure LLC.

Fix It Fair – FREE Portland Event

Attention Home Owners! – Fix It Fair

Wanna check some things off the list early this year?  Get over to the Fix-It Fair for home, health and conservation tips and tools.  All of the best resources you can imagine have been pulled together under one roof by the City of Portland in this FREE, yes FREE event.

Where & When:

The event takes place on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ron Russell Middle in Southeast Portland.  3955 SE 112th Ave., Portland, OR 97266. 

No Excuses!:

FREE Event

FREE Professional Childcare Available

FREE Workshops Offering Instruction and Samples to Get You Started

A fantastic, free event by the City of Portland for home owners and families looking to save costs, save the environment, and increase the health and happiness in the home. Fix It Fair

A fantastic, free event by the City of Portland for home owners and families looking to save costs, save the environment, and increase the health and happiness in the home. Fix It Fair

What to expect:

Over 60 exhibits and some great interactive workshops will be available to help you save money in the home and create a healthier environment for your family. Plenty of free and low-cost resources will be at your fingertips.  Experts will be on hand explaining water and energy savings tips, home weatherization, food and nutrition, gardening and growing food, yard care and composting, recycling, and transportation.

Wait there’s more FREE stuff?!

Free Healthy Lunch Provided

Hourly Door Prizes

Free Minor Bike Tune-Ups and Flat-Tire Repairs

Free Lead Blood Testing

A Few of the Vendors:

Hacienda CDC will be hosting two workshops on financing. At noon check out,  workshops: “Improve Your Credit”, and at 1 p.m. find out tips on “Buying Your First Home”.  

National College of Natural Medicine, the oldest accredited naturopathic medical college in North America, will present a workshop at 1 p.m. on “Healthy Hearts”

Get wired for less!  There is a 10 a.m. workshop by the Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon (CUB) and FREE GEEK that will discuss lower-income internet service plans, and programs to obtain a free computer!

Extreme temperatures don’t have to mean extreme utility bills.  Learn how to save energy and improve the comfort of your home at the 10 a.m. workshop, “Home Energy Savings” presented by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. 

Oregon Health Authority will be on hand to give you the facts on radon and to tell you how to test for radon in your home.  January is National Radon Action Month 

For more information about Fix-It Fairs, visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/fif.  Or check out #FIXITFAIRPDX.

Future Event:

Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. George Middle School 10000 N Burr Ave., Portland, OR 97203 ¡Clases en español!


Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

Energy Trust of Oregon

KUNP Univision

Pacific Power

Written by Jennifer Kane, Expanded Exposure LLC.

Lents – Portland’s Next Big Thing!

Portland city officials had a hunch back in 1996, and began pumping money into this far southeast neighborhood.  Finally, what was once considered the “outer realms” of 82nd Ave, has now become the “next big thing” in Portland.  Even Thrillist.com took note and listed Lents as one of “12 Neighborhoods Across America That Are About to Blow Up”.   Lents – Portland’s Next Big Thing!

Where is Lents?

Lents’ official neighborhood website, ILoveLents.com, defines Lents as “three square miles of East Portland, extending about 12 blocks in either direction from Interstate 205”.  It is confined on the west by 82nd Avenue and extends east to 112th Avenue.  The bulk of the commerce is confined by Powell to the north and Foster to the south.  But, technically, the southern boundary of Lents happens at the Clackamas County line near Mount Scott.

Lents Boundary Map in Portland, Oregon.

Boundary Map of Lents neighborhood in Portland, Oregon.  Image Courtesy, IloveLents.com

Taking Its Turn in the Portland Resurgence,

After spending close to 100 million in restoration since then, residents and officials are beside themselves, as the city’s aspirations are finally being realized.  No longer dubbed the “Felony Flats,” Lents residents are proud that their long misunderstood community is attracting the growth and commerce that it deserves.  But, a few things had to converge for that to happen. 

1.) As part of the Lents Town Center Development Project, the city worked to remove failed businesses and to clear space in the area along 92nd Avenue.  Installation of infrastructure and  improvement of sidewalks now promote pedestrian traffic, which is necessary for a town center.  Portland is notorious for creating a sense of space, so that each neighborhood has a distinct feel and identity.  A quaint and walkable main street increases the livability of an area, and attracts quality residents who invest in their community. 

Lents Town Center in Southeast Portland, Oregon. Image Courtesy, Twelvism https://www.flickr.com/photos/twelvizm/

Lents Town Center in Southeast Portland, Oregon. Image Courtesy, Twelvism

2.) Accessibility improved with the addition of the MAX Green line in 2009, Portland’s light rail.  There are three major stops within walking distance in Lents, on Foster, Holgate, and Powell.  Lents is about a 30-40 minute commute to downtown, and about 15 minutes to the Clackamas Town Center.

3.)  The housing prices in Portland continue to surge.  Prices have inched out first-time home buyers and anyone with a modest income from purchasing a home “close-in”.   Where are buyers heading now? – Lents

4.)  After struggling for years to attract provocative businesses to the area, the city is now experiencing success.  A major developer,  Palindrome, led by Chad Rennaker, has begun scooping up lots and businesses in the area. 

Enter the Current Superstar – Zhaus Brewing Company

Zhaus Brewery

Zhaus Brewing Company has an ample selection of distinctive beers.  The Ramona Red, named after a street in Lents, is one of our favorites.  It’s a Northwest-Style Red Ale with wood, spice, pine and citrus notes that shine against the crips backdrop of a blend of pale carapils, caramel and chocolate malts. Image Courtesy: Kimberli Ransom

Rennaker’s latest development, Zoiglhaus Brewing Company, or more easily spouted, Zhaus, opened their doors this past fall.  And, they were named one of Portland’s best new breweries in 2015.  Zhaus is setting the tone for Lent’s fledgling town center, and is already successful in acting as an anchor tenant to attract other investors to the area. 

Zhaus Brewery

Zhaus offers Bavarian style beers, and menu items like goulash, jagerschnitzel, and flammkuchen (German pizza).  Image Courtesy: Kimberli Ransom

In his own words, Rennaker said of the brewpub, “that creates the spark that hopefully leads to other development.”

To the city’s delight, Rennaker has also secured a deal to purchase the site where the New Copper Penny currently sits.  This is a large site that sits at 92nd and Foster, and has the capability to act as another alluring anchor tenant.  Residents and officials long felt that this restaurant and nightclub, who had historically made waves in the area, was a stalemate in Lents’ revitalization efforts.  Residents would like to see a neighborhood grocer coming into the area, but that remains to be seen.

Rennaker has also discussed his vision for a covered public plaza that would house the Lents International Farmers Market, and would act as a multimedia performance venue that would include a screen to show outdoor movies.  The plaza would fill the void between Zhaus and the Harold Street Apartments.  One thing is for certain; Lents now has the momentum it needs!

“It’s a transformation that we’re seeing in front of our eyes,” said Lents Neighborhood Association President, Jesse Cornett.  “I think it’s exciting.”

What Do the Residents Say About Lents?

“It’s one of the most misunderstood and undervalued neighborhoods in Portland,”  Tammie Ellis, Lents resident and local Realtor said.  She shares her story below:

“In 2005, we sold our PDX home in FOPO (Foster Powell), before it was FOPO. We wanted to take some time off from home ownership to travel; so, we rented. Unfortunately, life got in the way of travel, and I was diagnosed with breast cancer. This inspired us to change our life. We wanted to live in a home that we could manage with one income, if necessary, and it had to have a real yard. We wanted the ability to sit under a shade tree, plant a little garden, sit around a fire-pit, entertain family and friends, and most of all have a real DRIVEWAY and a place for friends to park when visiting. By the time we got ready to buy again in 2007, the housing market was crazy. We couldn’t find a livable home for under 300K west of 82nd Ave. Then we decided to venture out east of 82nd. Through a series of luck, persistence, creative looking and some much needed help and guidance from our Realtor, Kelly Stafford, we bought our current home for under 200K. In 2013, I was diagnosed again with breast cancer, and I cannot imagine not having my back yard (see photo attached) to heal under the shade of my apple tree.”

Tammie's gorgeously green and spacious backyard in Lents, Portland.

Tammie’s gorgeously green and spacious backyard in Lents, Portland.

We love living in Lents, and are excited about the rest of Portland soon discovering how great life can be in Lents.”  – Tammie Ellis

The Crossroads of the East”…..

As Portland grew, and the urban sprawl slowly headed east, lot sizes became less congested, and city life began to mix with the rustic periphery.  Lents now offers some of the largest lots in the city.  It boasts easy access to outdoor recreation, while offering all the metropolitan amenities of downtown via the MAX and I-205.  Plenty of shopping and big box stores, like Fred Meyer and Walmart mix with an eclectic assortment of international restaurants along 82nd Ave to the west.  Further past, the delightful and delicious buzz of Division Street is still close enough to easily experience on a Friday evening.  Favorites within Lents are Eagle Eye Tavern, El Pato Feliz, and Oliver’s Cafe.  All of these conveniences, and still incredible nature parks like Powell Butte and Kelly Butte are almost in your backyard! 

Get Outdoors in Lents:

Lents Park – Offering an awesome 38 acres, and featuring a dog park, sports fields, gardens, walking paths, a playground, plenty of open spaces and picnic tables; this park is a favorite in Lents.  COMING SOON!: The Portland Pickles are the new amateur baseball team set to start playing this June, 2016.  To watch a game at Lents Park, pick up tickets here: http://www.portlandpicklesbaseball.com/

Beggars Tick Wildlife Refuge – This 20-acre wetland nature preserve has great atmosphere with many birds and wildlife.

Bloomington Park – 13 acres with beautiful fields and picnic tables.

Ed Benedict Park  – A sport friendly park with basketball courts and a skate park, walking paths, a playground, and public art.  The Portland Memory Garden is located in the Southeast corner, and is a unique space designed for people with memory problems, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Glenwood Park – 7+ acres with spacious, wide open fields.

Playhaven Park – 3+ acres that includes a basketball court, play areas, paved paths, and picnic tables.

Zenger Farm – a working urban farm that models, promotes and educates about sustainable food systems, environmental stewardship, community development and access to good food for all. 

Leslie Knope would be proud – The Springwater Corridor

Springwater Corridor

Springwater Corridor in Southeast Portland, Oregon.  Image Courtesy, City of Portland

The Springwater Corridor is the crowning jewel for parks and recreation in Lents.  Crossing along the Johnson Creek, this nearly 21-mile long paved path is excellent of hikers and bikers. Nature-lovers cross through wetlands, buttes, and pastures as the trail leads from one park to another. The corridor is part of a larger 40-mile loop that connects Lents with Milwaukie, Sellwood, and Downtown Portland, and back over to the east toward Powellhurst-Gilbert, Gresham and Boring.

The I-205 Multi-Use Path is another fantastic advantage to Lents.  The path runs along the I-205 freeway for 16.5 miles from NE Marine Drive in Portland to SE 82nd Drive in Gladstone.

Lents Real Estate Market:

Lents has a population of 20,000 people, encompasses 3 sq. miles, and is one of the most ethnically diverse in Portland.  It possesses a nice mix of residential neighborhoods and commercial businesses.

Average Listing Price: $206,781

Average Sale Price: $227,655

Median Sale Price: $225,000

Average Price per Sq Ft: $194

The median sale price has gone up approximately 13% in Lents from 2014 to 2015.

Schools that serve Lents neighborhood:

Gilbert Park Elementary School

Earl Boyles Elementary School

Mount Scott Elementary School

Lents Elementary (K-8)

Kelly Elementary (K-8)

Marysville Elementary at Rose City Park (K-8)

Happy Valley Middle School

Ron Russell Middle School

David Douglas High School

Clackamas High School

Check out Lents at one of their ANNUAL EVENTS:

Movies In The Park: Free and fun for the whole family! Lents Park features outdoor screenings in the summer months.

Lents Street Fair, formerly Ramona Street Fair / Founders Day:  A summer extravaganza, complete with parade, over 50 craft and food vendors, plenty of kid friendly activities and games, live music, and history displays to celebrate the town of Lents.   

Fun On Foster:  Nearby neighborhood, Foster/Powell hosts this street fair.

Sunday Parkways: Happening throughout the entire city in the summer months, the City of Portland closes streets to cars, making way for bikers of all ages and walkers to enjoy our neighborhoods.

For more information about Lents neighborhood, available properties, or to list your home, please contact Home Sweet Home Realty via email at info@hshrealty.net or by phone at (503) 515-2986.

Written by Jennifer Kane, Expanded Exposure LLC.

Christmas Gift Drive for Children in Oregon Foster Care

Christmas Gift Drive

for Deserving Children in Oregon Foster Care

at Home Sweet Home Realty

Christmas Tree Gift Drive at Home Sweet Home Realty Portland Oregon

Feeling Grateful! Thank you to everyone for surrounding our Christmas Tree with gifts! We’re looking forward to delivering these to Embrace Oregon. Keep ’em Coming!!!!!!

Home Sweet Home Realty is partnering with Embrace Oregon to provide gifts for children in Oregon Foster Care.

Please bring a wrapped gift to our office now through 12/15.  Drop off anytime Monday – Friday 9-5 or Saturday 9-2 to our office at 4555 N. Williams Ave., Portland, Oregon.

What Do Kids Want This Year?  Be the BEST SANTA EVER and pick up one of these cool gifts:


Portland Oregon christmas gift drive

These kids are on the nice list, so let’s do our best to make it a happy Christmas morning!

Tri-county is about 300 gifts short for the kids in foster-care. Do something special for a kid today!

Home Sweet Home Realty is also happy to have donated a weeks worth of meals to the homeless through Ryan Albitz and The Urban Gourmet.

“All of your generosity warms my heart! Thank you!!!” – Kelly Stafford, Home Sweet Home Realty


Christmas Gift Drive Details Portland

Christmas Gift Drive for Children in Oregon Foster Care


Written by Jennifer Kane, Expanded Exposure LLC.