Category Archives: TRENDING NOW

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.


 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.

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 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,, 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,

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

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:

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 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.

Cully – A Diamond In The Rough

Northeast Portland’s Cully Neighborhood – Truly, A Diamond In the Rough

There is a movement happening in the Northeast Portland neighborhood of Cully.  Passion for a sense of place and pride in ownership is apparent, as the community continuously pulls together, enhancing the area and creating a family-friendly environment.    

Neighbors in the Northeast Portland's cully neighborhood are proud of their community. Image courtesy: Billy Brown

Neighbors in Northeast Portland’s Cully neighborhood are proud of their community. Image courtesy: Billy Brown

Their latest project is one for the history books!  Living Cully, a collaboration of Hacienda CDC, the Native American Youth and Family Center, and Verde, have decided to take the neighborhood back.  The group pulled their own investments and Indiegogo funds to purchase the black sheep in the area, The Sugar Shack.  Seedy, and rumored to be conducting illegal activities, the strip club was an eyesore that parents were no longer willing to accept. The space will now cater to the needs of the community, potentially offering retail services, a community center, a youth recreation center, and a business incubator.

Family and livability are top of mind as neighbors converge and create community gardens, events, and festivals.  They even petitioned the city for a new park!  Khunamokwst Park, located at NE 52nd and Alberta, celebrated its grand opening on May 16, 2015.  The 2.4 acre park is complete with playground, innovative “nature play” area with boulders to climb on, interactive water feature, walking and jogging paths, picnic tables, and even a small skate park for beginners. 

Neighbors in Cully fight for more parkland. Khunamokwst Park celebrated its grand opening on May 16th, 2015. - Portland

Cully fights for more parkland in Northeast Portland. Khunamokwst Park celebrated its grand opening on May 16th, 2015.

Taking Notice,

All of this growth and numerous “do-gooder” stories, are attracting attention from investors and first-time homebuyers.  Like the rest of Portland, development is surging; but, thanks to the active neighborhood involvement in Cully, issues like crime and traffic control are being met head on. 

Why Cully?  What Do The Residents Say?

  • Affordability with easy access to downtown, numerous amenities, and jobs
  • Extra large lot sizes are excellent for raising families and urban farming
  • One of the highest levels of cultural diversity seen in close-in Portland (51% of Cully residents represent communities of color vs. 28% citywide)
  • A strong sense of community identity and involvement from neighbors
  • A balanced mix of commercial and residential development
  • Easy access to HWY 205, Columbia Blvd, Portland International Airport, and shopping at Cascade Station.
Dog Park Cully Northeast Portland. Image courtesy: Anneheathen

Dog Park’s like Sacajawea Off-leash Dog Park in Cully are a favorite for dog-owners.  Northeast Portland. Image courtesy: Anneheathen

  • Parks: Sacajawea Off-leash Dog Park, Whitaker Ponds Nature Park, Khunamokwst Park
  • An impressive mix of restaurants, pubs, bakeries, and shopping along the 42nd Avenue corridor and Fremont St.
  • Friendly community gardens: Rigler Community Garden, Emma’s Garden, Cully Neighborhood Farm and Farmers Market, and others
Community gardens have been popping up all over Cully neighborhood in Northeast Portland. Image Courtesy: d-olwen-dee

Community gardens have been popping up all over Cully neighborhood in Northeast Portland. Image Courtesy: d-olwen-dee

“I have lived in Irvington and Rose City Park as well

as downtown, and definitely feel the diversity of Cully

was a draw–ethnic, spatial, property size and style.

The people are more interesting and just as good!”

— Cully Resident (Source:

What might a weekend in the life of a Cully resident look like?


At the end of a long week at your tech job downtown, you hop a quick ride on the Max and connect with the #75 Bus, which takes you up the Alameda Ridge to your favorite watering hole, Nepo 42.  After a glass of Reverend Nat’s Overlook Organic Heirloom Cider, you and couple of companions head over to Old Salt Market, hoping to get a bite of their famous pork chops before they sell out.   Satisfied, you pop into Pollo Norte for a whole rotisserie chicken, which is perfect for making chicken sandwiches for the kids’ lunch next week.  After dropping the chicken at home, you and your better half head out to the Spare Room to cut it up on the dance floor.

42nd Avenue in Northeast Portland yhas a variety of options availabe to quench your palet from a dry cider to a rich IPA. Image courtesy: Austin Kirk:

42nd Avenue Corridor in Northeast Portland has a variety of options available to quench your palate, from a dry cider to a rich IPA. Image courtesy: Austin Kirk: 


After sleeping in, you and the family skip down to Jim & Patty’s Coffee Shop.  This duo has been brewing coffee and serving up pastries since 1974, and their sour cream coffee cake is famous!  Loaded on latte, it’s back to the home front to finish the tree house.  Later, a craving for Jamaican Jerk starts creeping into your senses.  So, you load up the crew and head to Fire on the Mountain, who arguably serve the best wings in town with 12 different sauces. 

Jim and Patty's Coffee Shop is a favorite in Northeast Portland. Patrons from Beumont neighborhood and Cully pop in to catch up and sample the house made pastries and baked goods. Image Courtesy: Jeff Nelson -

Jim & Patty’s Coffee is a favorite in Northeast Portland. Patrons from Beumont neighborhood and Cully pop in to catch up and sample the house made pastries and baked goods. Image Courtesy: Jeff Nelson – 

Sunday –

You start the day with a hearty namaste at Bikram Yoga Fremont Street, then meet the family at Sacajawea Park to let Bella run free.  Persuaded by the blue sky, you venture on to Emma’s Garden to pick up some fresh tomatoes.  And, on the way home, indulging in a lavish rueben from Ira’s Deli is a must!  Another perfect weekend!

Ira's Deli on Prescott is known in Northeast Portland's Cully neighborhood for serving up hot sandwiches and gyros. Image courtesy: Incase

Ira’s Deli on Prescott is known throughout Northeast Portland for serving up hot sandwiches and gyros. Image courtesy: Incase

Cully Real Estate –

Period: August – November 2015

Average Listing Price: $370,790

Average Sales Price: $307,417

Median Sales Price: $299,975

Price per square foot: $259

Home Styles: Modest family homes, ranches, smaller Craftsmans

Population: 13,000+

Size: three square miles.

Livability Score: 75 (source

Distinctions: Named one of Portland’s Hottest Microhoods by PDX Monthly

Future Growth: Zillow reports that Cully home values have gone up 11.4% over the past year, they also predict that values will rise 5.5% within the next year.

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


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.

Where are the Best Neighborhoods in Portland, Oregon?

Moving to Portland, looking to invest, or just wanting to downsize now that the kids have moved out?  We’ve broken out the best neighborhoods in Portland, divulging flavor, demographics, and median home prices so that you can find the perfect fit.

Springtime along the waterfront in Portland, Oregon.

Springtime along the waterfront in Portland, Oregon. (Image courtesy, Ian Sane)

The beauty of Portland, Oregon, is that you are always literally minutes away from a cool coffee shop, a clever dining experience, a bit of theatre or culture, an inviting park with mammoth pine trees, a community garden sprouting organic greens, a boutique with exclusive local jewelry, or a hand-crafted IPA.  The city has been dubbed by numerous websites and magazines as America’s most bike friendly city.   Portland also has an extensive and affordable transit system that easily connects each of it’s unique districts, which allows for a cozy sense of community. We welcome you to go explore!

Never a dull moment in Portland, Oregon. Bike Parade. Image courtesy, Tomas Quinonas

Never a dull moment in Portland, Oregon. Bike Parade in motion. (Image courtesy, Tomas Quinones)

Kenton / Arbor Lodge / Portsmouth / St. Johns – North

Historic Kenton town has reemerged as a contender in the noteworthy neighborhoods of Portland.  Like much of Portland, which is experiencing massive growth, this area has seen a renaissance of new shops, and restaurants in its downtown area on N. Denver Street.  The neighborhood itself sits in North Portland, just south of the Columbia River and St. Johns.     

The iconic Paul Bunyan statue gazes out over Historic Kenton in Portland.

The iconic Paul Bunyan statue gazes out over Historic Kenton in Portland.

The area has a quaint, slower feel than its southern counterparts, and feels well-established.  Stop in to Posie’s Coffee Shop for fresh baked pastries and stroll through Kenton Park. Or, grab a local lager and people watch at the Kenton Station.  The north edge of town is protected by the gaze of a massive and iconic Paul Bunyan statue.   This national landmark was erected in honor of Oregon’s centennial celebration in 1959.  From the Kenton Firehouse (circa 1913) to remnants of the towns meatpacking days, this charming downtown lives up to its title of Historic Kenton. 

Tour this beautiful North Portland home, listed for sale 3924 N. Juneau St. in Portsmouth.
Contact Home Sweet Home Realty: or by phone at (503) 515-2986
Kenton Median Home Price: $258,700

Just South of Kenton lies Arbor Lodge, comprised of modest Bungalows, “Old Portland” style homes, Cape Cods, and others.   There are two well-known parks in the area.  The Peninsula Park and Rose Garden was a horse track race at the turn of the century; and the Arbor Lodge Park offers a big expanse and an off-leash policy for dog lovers.  Arbor Lodge is flanked by a New Seasons and Fred Meyers, and is only a short 5 minute ride on the Max’s Yellow Line to Downtown. 

Peninsula Park in North Portland's Arbor Lodge is a favorite of local residents. (Image courtesy Raven Stroud)

Peninsula Park in North Portland’s Arbor Lodge is a favorite of local residents. (Image courtesy, Raven Stroud)

Arbor Lodge Median Home Price: $336,000

Portsmouth is home to the University of Portland, and is bordered by the Willamette River.  It’s just south of St. Johns, and west of Kenton.  The good location but still low prices make this area a perfect option for first time home buyers.

Tour this beautiful North Portland home, listed for sale 9322 N. Exeter Ave. in Portsmouth.
Contact Home Sweet Home Realty: or by phone at (503) 515-2986
Portsmouth Median Home Price: $239,900

Undoubtedly charming, St. Johns has been called a “town within a city”.  The streets are lined with family-owned businesses that have been there serving this extraordinarily friendly “town” for generations.  Cyclists venture to this North Portland area during good weather to take in the sights of the marvelous St. Johns suspension bridge, which was designed by the same acclaimed builder who reconstructed the Brooklyn Bridge.  The Gothic-like towers have cemented this as one of Portland’s most iconic landmarks.  

The iconic St. Johns Bridge in North Portland, Oregon. Image courtesy of : Adam Simmons

The iconic St. Johns Bridge in North Portland, Oregon. (Image courtesy, Adam Simmons )

People are flocking to this North Portland gem, where a New Seasons is set to open in 2016.  And, with the ample green space and numerous walking trails at Cathedral Park, this area is sure to remain beautiful for years to come.

St. John’s Median Home Price: $234,700

Alberta Arts District / Concordia – Northeast

Bring on the funk!  Outside of downtown, this flank of Portland keeps it urban and fresh (think Beastie Boys not spinach).  The 20-block stretch on Alberta Street is home to moody little coffee shops, some of the best Indian food around at Bollywood Theatre, boutiques, music venues and of course, art. 

Mural depicting life in the Alberta Arts District. Portland, Oregon

Mural depicting life in the Alberta Arts District. Portland, Oregon

The area is a prime example of the power of community.  Once a bustling little hub in the 1950s, where families could hop a street car and enjoy a soda pop at the corner Rexall Drugs store, Alberta Street became overrun with gang activity in the late 1970s.  Then, in 1981, a robbery occurred at the beloved Rexall Drugs.  The owners closed the doors, switched off the lights to the comforting sign that was a reminder of better days, and the neighborhood fell further into disrepair.   

An amazing woman by the name of Roslyn Hill is credited for the slow turn around and revival of Alberta Street.  Hill, or the “Queen of Alberta” to some,  purchased a building in foreclosure in 1993, and opened Roslyn’s Garden Coffee House.  Hill purchased a dozen or so buildings, and recreated artsy and inviting store fronts with plant life, wood and corrugated metal. She rented to community-minded tenants and pushed for more community organizing.  Slowly but surely, the citizens took their streets back with efforts like the Streetscape Project, Art Walks, Last Thursday block party and the Alberta Street Fair  Finally, in late 2014, the iconic orange Rexall sign was officially relit.

The Alberta Arts District's Rexall Drugs store sign was relit in December of 2014, signaling growth and prosperity.

The Alberta Arts District’s Rexall Drugs store sign was relit in December of 2014, signaling growth and prosperity.

Concordia and nearby Vernon, King, and Sabin neighborhoods are all within a short drive or walk to the Alberta Arts District.  The city has enacted a gentrification program throughout the area that has created a blend of races and socioeconomic identities.

Tour this beautiful home in Northeast Portland, listed for sale at 5403 NE 11th Ave. near the Alberta District.
Contact Home Sweet Home Realty: or by phone at (503) 515-2986

Peruse the the numerous galleries and chat with local artists and crafters.  Stop into the quaint cottage that doubles as Clary Sage Herbarium.  Sit down to dine with the kids on an old school bus at Grilled Cheese Grill.   Or venture off of Alberta a few blocks to enjoy a pint in an old renovated classroom at McMenamins Kennedy School.  There’s no doubt that Alberta is back on the  map.

Not far from the action of the Alberta District is this lovely English cottage located near the up and coming 42nd Avenue.  Come take a tour at 4535 NE Prescott.  Contact Home Sweet Home Realty: or by phone at (503) 515-2986


Tour this beautiful home in Northeast, listed for sale at 837 NE Killingsworth St. near the Alberta Arts District.
Contact Home Sweet Home Realty: or by phone at (503) 515-2986

Median Home Price: $375,000

Mississippi Avenue / Williams St. – Northeast

Mississippi District has become a North Portland destination, and for good reason.  The area has undergone a major renovation in recent years, and now attracts young and trendy professionals with cultured tastes. 

The Meadow Everything is made by hand, curated with expertise, and shared with passion. A driving force in the artisan movement and culinary world, we celebrate life’s simple pleasures world renowned chefs to rabid foodies to everyday home cooks.

At The Meadow everything is made by hand, curated with expertise, and shared with passion. World renowned chefs, rabid foodies and everyday home cooks delight in this Northeast Portland culinary shop.  Their Himalayan Salt blocks make an excellent house warming gift.

On Mississippi there is plenty of shopping, with trendy tailor-made garments,  books from local Oregon authors, vinyl and music, and coffee snob gadgets.  Looking for bitters to make at home, hand-crafted cocktails? The Meadow offers novice and professional chefs a choice of 120 gourmet salts from around the world, 500 artisan chocolate bars, and unique bitters.  SunLan Lighting is the oldest single owner business on the street and is run by the quirky and hilarious Kay, the lightbulb lady. 

Mississippi Studios offers great sound, amazing musicians, and premium libations. (Image courtesy - Christian Reed)

Mississippi Studios offers great sound, amazing musicians, and premium libations. (Image courtesy – Christian Reed)

True to its Portland roots, there is a range of eclectic restaurants and bars smattered about.  Hungry?  Be bold and sample the fried grasshoppers at the delightful Me-Sen Thai Eatery and wash it down with a Tom Yum cocktail.  Perk up with a cup of Joe at Fresh Pot, then stop in for live music at Mississippi Studios.  Order up a gluten free pie at Mississippi Pizza, and head to the dark saloon esque Atlantis bar in the rear for a delightful Greyhound with fresh pressed grapefruit.

Vegans love the Veggie Pizza with gluten free crust at Mississippi Pizza in Portland, Oregon. (Image courtesy, Avry)

Vegans love the Veggie Pizza with gluten free crust at Mississippi Pizza in Portland, Oregon. (Image courtesy, Avry)

Only about a 1/2 mile away is the North Williams Corridor, home to a major bicycle thoroughfare and an undeniable growth spurt of new construction.  The stretch currently sees more than 3,000 cyclists a day, with bikers sometimes out numbering motor vehicles.  A popular New Seasons has sprung up, along with crafty bars catering to the local traffic, like Hopworks BikeBar.  The ever famous Tasty and Sons serves griddled bacon wrapped dates that attracts foodies of all ages.  And after a day well spent, why not treat yourself to a yoga class or massage at the Yoga Shala of Portland?    

The location is sprinkled with parks.  The homes, mostly an older East Portland style, are in good shape and tidy.   And, it is completely accessible, as there is a pedestrian/bicycle bridge that crosses over Hwy I-5, and connects Mississippi Avenue to the Max stop on Interstate Avenue.   This means fast and convenient access to Downtown.  Not surprisingly, the home prices in this area are rising.   You can find Home Sweet Home Realty nestled here in a 1906 Victorian.  

Median Home Price: $369,900

The Pearl District / Nob Hill / Alphabet District- Northwest

The swank and stylish Pearl District is nestled in Portland’s northwest corner just north of downtown; it’s hugged by NW Broadway to the east and Hwy 405 on the west.   Upscale high rise residential communities cater to professionals, jet-setting empty nesters, and hip young families in this posh neighborhood.  In all this chic modernism, the  original cobblestone streets remain, and are an interesting juxtaposition to the bit of warehouse and light industrial buildings also found here. 

Charming apartments covered in ivy in Portland's The Pearl District.

Charming apartments covered in ivy in Portland’s The Pearl District. (Image Courtesy, C. Jill Reed)

Numerous restauranteurs, designers, and artists have opened up shop to cater to the well-to do crowd that roams through.  Time and again, The Pearl gets the nod from foodies the world over as having some of the best cuisine that Portland has to offer.  Connoisseurs delight with Latin tapas at Oba, explore their palate with Peruvian fare at Adina, and indulge at Irving St. Kitchen with the duck sausage stuffed quail.  For a special celebratory evening, stop in to the Painted Lady for dinner ,and stay the night in their guest cottage. 

Some Portland landmarks also grace the area like Powell’s City of Books.  Powell’s is the largest new and used bookstore in the world, and covers an entire city block.  This is just another reason why Portlanders are great conversationalists – they love to read!  Portlanders also love their beer, and Deschutes Brewery and Public House is a well-known hot spot located in this part of the city.

The "Go By Streetcar" sign lights up the night in Portland's The Pearl District.

The “Go By Streetcar” sign lights up the night in Portland’s The Pearl District. (Image courtesy : Ian Sane)

The street car and the Max zip through the area, and Union Station hems the east end.  Visitors and residents can easily join in with cool events like the Portland Bastille Day, the Portland Saturday Market, or take the kids to play in the fountain and artificial waterfalls at Jamison Square.

The historic and desirable Alphabet District sits just North of the Pearl and is home to  many beautifully restored Victorians, plus apartments and other buildings.  Many would argue that some of the best shopping in Portland can be found here on NW 23rd and 21st avenues.  The Pearl and the Alphabet District are so popular that they even warrant their own glossy magazine, The Pearl. 

Median Home Price: $494,250

Hawthorne District / Division St. (Richmond, Sunnyside) – Southeast

Although it’s hard to claim the title of most creative neighborhood in Portland, the Hawthorne District may have it. Tucked between Belmont Street to the south and Division Street to north, the main commercial stretch of Hawthorne is hopping with hipsters and hippies from 5th to 50th Avenue. 

Get lost one of the many thrift stores on Hawthorne in Portland, Oregon.

Get lost in one of the many vintage clothing and thrift stores on Hawthorne in Portland, Oregon. Image of The Red Light Clothing Exchange

A visit to Hawthorne feels like a stop over to San Francisco’s Haight and Ashbury.  In fact, this area was a mecca for the counterculture revolution for the gay community in the late 60s.  As far back as the 1800s Hawthorne has had a sensuous history.  The Oregon Hospital for the Insane operated here from 1862 – 1883, until the area was converted to community green space.  Because of this, the street we now rely on for funky inspiration was known as Asylum Avenue up until 1888, when East Portland residents petitioned to have it changed to Hawthorne Avenue.

Today there are tons of offbeat shops and mysterious second hand stores like the House of Vintage that are filled with curious nooks and crannies where you may even find a mogwai, if your lucky.   The Famous Bagdad Theatre and Pub lights up the strip with its retro neon lights and Moorish architecture.  The Fresh Pot, which holds the distinction for being one of the first coffee shops in Portland to wholesale Stumptown Coffee, has its original location here.   

The famous Bagdad Theatre lights up Hawthorne Boulevard in Portland, Oregon.

The famous Bagdad Theatre lights up Hawthorne Boulevard in Portland, Oregon.

There is a Safeway and Fred Meyer flanking the main strip, and many delightful lunch, brunch, and dinner spots in between.  Castagna features yellowfoot chanterelles with pork and hop infusion.  The Waffle Window was featured on Portlandia, and has a walk up Dutch window serving Liege style sugar waffles.  And Harlow is becoming a new favorite for their all gluten free brunch menu.

Health conscious foodies who want delectable grinds with anti-oxidant punch, know that Harlow on Hawthorne never disappoints. They pack em in at the Brunch hour with Gluten Free Biscuits and Gravy (special) and the Bridgetown Hash.

Health conscious foodies who want delectable grinds with anti-oxidant punch, know that Harlow on Hawthorne never disappoints. Harlow’s packs ’em in at the brunch hour with Gluten Free Biscuits and Gravy (special) and the Bridgetown Hash.  Remedy that hang-over with an assortment of crafted smoothies and elixirs like the “WitchDoctor”; It’s full of boosters like wheatgrass, ginger, and echinacea.

Division Street, which sits only a few blocks to the south, was recently dubbed Portland’s “hottest dining destination” by Oregon Live.  And for good reason, Division street is where the iconic Pok Pok dishes up their famous Vietnamese chicken wings daily.  Dessert lovers know the secret to soft-serve honey ice cream, and its found at at Sunshine Tavern just a few doors down.  Lauretta Jean’s is a must do for handmade pies; try the Spiced Pear Streusel, and wash it down with a piping hot espresso from Good Coffee on 48th and Division.

Voted again and again as one of the top, iconic dishes of Portland. Pok Pok's Vietnamese chicken wings. (Image courtesy, H.L.I.T.)

Voted again and again as one of the top, iconic dishes of Portland. Pok Pok’s Vietnamese chicken wings. (Image courtesy, H.L.I.T.)

Not far from the great dining on Division is this remodeled bungalow located at 2735 SE 70th, Portland, Oregon.  Contact Home Sweet Home Realty: or by phone at (503) 515-2986


Craftsman homes and numerous units of multifamily housing, give assorted options to those in search of the spirited atmosphere here.  And, talk of the new Max line coming through soon, will only add to that growth.

Median Home Price: $433,000 

Woodstock – Southeast

Is Woodstock Portland’s next hot neighborhood?  A question that was recently asked by staff reporter for the Portland Business Journal, Wendy Culverwell, has been on many minds since the announcement of a 3-story New Seasons coming on the scene in Summer of 2015.

While there are still a few generic strip malls along Woodstock Blvd, unique businesses are sprouting up to accommodate the influx of hipsters, young families, and the creative renaissance man that we have come to know and love in Portland.

Nestled down in Southeast Portland, with Southeast Holgate Boulevard to the north and Johnson Creek to the south, the area has great walkability, bike-ability, and an active community.   Historically one of the oldest neighborhoods in Portland, Woodstock was named after a Walter Scott novel by the same name, which was the fashionable trend in the late 1800s. Nowadays, active listings are disappearing in almost record time.  Promptly enough, residents recently convened in a public discussion to create a well-thought out planning and growth agenda for the neighborhood, called the Woodstock Visioning Project.

The Delta Cafe in Woodstock, Portland, is famous for their Southern comfort food.

The Delta Cafe in Woodstock, Portland, is famous for their Southern comfort food. (Image courtesy, Jason Lander)

Day-tripping into this pocket of Southeast Portland?  Woodstock residents would recommend 1st Cup Coffee House for their gluten-free New York style boiled bagels.  Or, visit The Delta Cafe, serving up some of Portland’s most legendary Southern comfort food.  There’s also Otto’s Sausages that has been featured on Diner’s Drive-Ins and Dives. 

The area continues to grow and take shape, and 1st time home buyers are picking up property fast.   

The Median Home Price: $316,500

Median Home Prices accurate as of : 2/28/15

Written by Jennifer Kane, Expanded Exposure LLC.