Happy Thanksgiving!

Linda and I want to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving. Even in these challenging times we have so much to be thankful for. We live in a great country that provides us with opportunities. We live in a great community that appreciates diversity and values all lives. We enjoy our family and friends, and even though we can not be close to them this year, we hold them close in our hearts.

Thanksgiving message with pumpkins on a blue background

Linda and I are giving thanks for you, our readers. We appreciate that you take the time to read the blotter and that you are as eager to learn about real estate as Linda and I are eager to share.

There will not be a market activity report this week. Next week’s report will combine two weeks: last week and this.

Enjoy the holiday!

LO’s Gallery Without Walls

There are a few things that Lake Oswego is known for: great schools, the amazing hanging flower baskets, and the Gallery Without Walls. These three items, in my opinion, pretty much define this town. Personally, I moved to LO for the schools. I’ve never regretted that decision. The schools are profoundly better than the community I moved away from. So that’s why I moved here. But why did I stay?

My kids are now in their 30’s. I do appreciate the schools, but I stayed because of the town. This town is wonderful. I have been very active in Girl Scouts and various groups like book clubs and the Festival of the Arts. There is true community here. I also stayed because, well, it’s beautiful in LO. Driving about town I just so enjoy the famous hanging flower baskets and the many out door sculptures that make up the Gallery Without Walls. They make me feel optimistic. Art is an important part of my life. I want to see it as much as I can!

The Gallery Without Walls was started 20 years ago. Each winter a committee from the Lake Oswego Arts Council begins the selection process for the years selections. The sculptures are installed in October and remain for two years. So every year half the on loan sculptures are switched out and new installations are installed.

Also each year the citizens of LO vote on the People’s Choice. The winning sculpture is purchased by the Arts Council and installed in a new location as a permanent feature. Over the years the permanent collection has grown to include 50 pieces that are located all over town. Along with the permanent collection and on the on-loan collection, the city now enjoys 90 sculptures. That’s a lot of art to enjoy as you drive to drop your kids off at school or go to get groceries. It makes the day just a little bit sweeter.

Gallery Without Walls is just one more reason that I love living in LO.

Helping Locally During Covid 19

Did you ever have any idea that we would experience a pandemic? I just didn’t conceptualize this circumstance at all. We are certainly learning a lot about personal strength, patience, and perseverance. And all of us are facing this time with different abilities to cope. Some are better off financially than others. Here in LO there are several ways that you can help, if you are in a position to do so.

The city of Lake Oswego has created a temporary utility assistance program. Starting with a $20,000 fund contributed by the city, individuals are also being encouraged to donate. Donations are voluntary and tax deductible. To apply for assistance, or to donate, you can go to www.lakeoswego.city/novel-coronavirus-covid-19/temporary-utility-assistance.

To help feed local families the city has partnered with Hunger Fighters to collect gift card donations. Folks are encouraged to buy gift cards from their favorite restaurants and then to drop them off at city hall (380 A Ave, drop the cards into the utility payment box in the South entrance vestibule). The gift cards will then be distributed to local families in need by Hunger Fighters. This is such a win-win. It helps local restaurants that are struggling to pay employees and to stay in business, and it helps those who are needing food.

Meals on Wheels has become more important than ever. This program is seeking donations for both their home delivery program and their lunch-to-go program. For information and to make a donation go to www.lakeoswegomealsonwheels.org or telephone 503-635-3758.

Together we will get through this. Thank you for any help you are able to give the community. Thank you for reading the blotter.

Run, Ride, Walk Around the Lake

This is a re-post of one I did many years ago. It will give you the directions for exercising with a trip around the lake. Please be sure to observe social distancing. We are getting some beautiful weather and getting outside to enjoy it is a real treat.

Absolutely one of the best features of living in Lake Oswego is the ability to enjoy the lake. And one of my favorite ways to enjoy it is by riding a bike, or taking a walk or a jog around it. The first time I ran the lake was in 1980. I have done it many, many times since then. Although I have to admit that these days instead of running it, I bike or walk it. It’s just about 8 miles all the way around. Biking it, the challenge is to do it in one hour’s time. I know that does not seem very fast, but there are two substantial hills in the ride and if you can do it in an hour, you are kicking some serious #*%*. Walking it takes about 2.5 hours, and running it, back in my hey day, took just over an hour.

The route around the lake is not an obvious course. You need to have someone who has done it before show it to you. I suppose you could just journey out and figure it out, but there are a couple of spots where taking the right turn will not only make the route more enjoyable, but it will also make it more safe.

I am going to outline the basic route. **UPDATED: MAP AT BOTTOM OF THIS ARTICLE**

I will try to keep the directions easy to follow. I do the route in a clockwise circle. You can reverse it if you like, but I do it clockwise because with this route you warm up properly for the hills and then also cool down before you finish.

Start at the Lake Grove Swim Park, which is just North of the intersection of Southshore Blvd and Lakeview Blvd, along Lakeview Blvd. Proceed North on Lakeview. I suppose it is actually slightly Northeast, but for the sake of keeping it simple, head North along the shoulder of the road. There is a nice wide bike path and you’ll be enjoying the view of the lake and the stately mansions. You will go about half a mile before you come to the first right hand turn.

This is Summit. Yes, it’s called Summit because it’s a big hill. Summit will take you on a slightly winding route up to the top and then back down again. These are some of the best views of the lake because you are up so high and you really get to see the width and breadth of the water.

After you come down the hill, Summit will dead-end at Iron Mountain Blvd. Turn right which will have you heading East. This is a long, flat stretch of road through a heavily treed area with views of the Lilly Pond. Most of the length of this section does not have houses on it. As you come back into the housing area, in fact almost immediately as soon as the driving speed goes from 40 MPH to 25MPH, you want to watch for a sharp right turn just on the edge of the lower parking lot for Lake Oswego Country Club. This little street is called Milligan Lane. It is only a couple of hundred of feet long, and I don’t think it is well marked. So be watching and don’t miss it. If you miss it, you’ll add about a mile and a good deal of time lost in the surrounding neighborhoods trying to get back on course.

Milligan Lane will take you over a set of train tracks and drop you right on to Northshore Road. Turn left so that you are continuing to head East. This is just a spectacular stretch of scenery. You will be right down at the level of the lake meandering by fabulous homes and across quaint bridges with views of the lake and of Lakewood Bay. The road takes a couple of twists and turns, just follow the signs that identify Northshore. One of the homes you will pass, it will be on your right just before the humongous rock formation, is the house that was briefly occupied by Humphrey Bogart and his 3rd wife, Mayo Methot, or so local legend has it.

After you cross the bridge with the view to the left of Lakewood Bay you will come to a 3-way stop, turn left. Go about a block and take the first right. This is is Fairmont. You are only going to go about 100 feet before you turn left onto Middlecrest. Middlecrest is not a through street. It has a barrier erected to keep out auto traffic, but there is a pass through for bikes and pedestrians. Stay on Middlecrest a couple of blocks to the traffic light at State Street.

Turn right on State Street and go a long block to the bottom of the hill where there is another traffic light at McVey Avenue. Turn right and head up McVey. This is the big hill in this route. Pace yourself because when you think you’ve gotten to the top, you have not. You could stay on it up to the traffic light at Southshore, but I have found another route that I like that is more scenic and just more interesting.

Before you get to the traffic light at McVey there is a right hand turn at Oak. Take this right and follow the route as it levels out and gives you a bit of a breather before the climb starts again. You’ll cross a little bridge in an area that feels like a grotto. It is cool and moist and very refreshing on a hot day. Just after the little bridge you’ll turn right onto Palisades Terrace. This is another beautiful neighborhood where the houses will completely distract you from your saddle sores or your tired feet. You are now about 5 miles into the route with just a couple more to go. The uphill climb starts again while you are on Palisades Terrace. You’ll know you’re there, believe me. Palisades Terrace dead ends at Southshore Blvd.

Turn right at Southshore so that you are heading West. You’ll continue to climb for about half a mile. At the top, not only is there a bench where you can sit and look out at the lake, but there is also a drinking fountain. Yahoo! Continue down Southshore as you descend the hill and begin to cross the canals. Southshore will end at Lakeview Blvd, where when you turn right you will find yourself back at the beginning where you started.

Once upon a time this was a pretty treacherous route because you shared the road with cars. Today, pretty much the whole way is either on quiet neighborhood streets or has nice bike paths to separate you from the cars.

What I like about it is that it has a variety of terrain. There are a couple of hills to challenge, but not beat you up too badly, and there are so many great views of homes and the lake.

I do have a slight modification I do for the bike ride at the bottom of McVey that will put you onto a more gentle climb up the hill. For the sake of wearing out my welcome in your brain today, I am not including it here. But if you’d like to know it, drop me an e-mail and I”d be happy to share. (diannegregoire@oregonfirst.com) Or perhaps it will become a future posting.

If you do try my route around the lake I’d love to hear from you. I also apologize if somehow my directions are confusing or get you lost. As always, I think in this public venue I should remind you to observe the rules of the road, wear a helmet, and stay safe. I think you’ll find that it is an amazing way to get some exercise and to take advantage of this great town. Enjoy!

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What Renewal Looks Like in 2020

Rod Long

As we all slow down a bit, most of us celebrate renewal this time of year with Easter, Passover or other traditions.  As I was out showing properties today, I was noticing the way we really are all in this together. Standing six feel apart with our masks on, I slowly and carefully remove the keys from the lockbox with a sanitizing wipe and move through all the precautions we are taking nowadays… fresh booties at each house, gloves, more wipes, hand sanitizer… We carefully tiptoe into people’s homes pondering if this one might be “the one”, careful to respect the human life that inhabits each home and leaving everything untouched and “safe” for those who follow behind or return home. We are all slowed down together.  Still moving forward with our various dreams and plans… just a little slower and a bit more thoughtfully. Considering each other slightly more seriously. Considering ourselves. It is a very sweet realization amid the madness… to see and to help the dreams unfold, and again to notice the truth of the fact that we really are all in this together.

How poignant the holiday of renewal at this moment in time.

May each of our dear Property Blotter readers be safe & healthy, and may your dreams stay intact and your plans proceed unhindered. My hope is that we all emerge with a renewed & lasting appreciation for each other and our unique yet intertwined lives in the years ahead.

Hoping For an Aquatics Center

Not including the 6 years I lived in Lake Oswego as a teenager, I have been living in Lake Oswego for 22 years. In all of that time, I have been wanting a decent swim center. I don’t swim regularly, I’m a walker, but I do love to swim. I think the reason I don’t swim regularly is because the current city pool is, well, awful. It’s located at Lake Oswego High School and was built many decades ago. It’s old, and dank, and just not inviting. So the news I got in the latest issue of Hello LO really lifted my spirits.

On March 16th, the Lake Oswego City Council, along with the Lake Oswego School Board, voted unanimously to proceed with planning and construction of a new Community Recreation and Aquatics Center. The plan is to build it where the Municipal Golf Course currently sits at the junction of Stafford Rd and Overlook Dr. The planned facility will include a lap pool, warm water pool (I think that means a spa), plus space for meetings and activities.

I currently swim at the SW Community Center in the Multnomah Village neighborhood of Portland. It’s about a 15 minute drive from my house, but worth it. I so hope what Lake Oswego builds will be something similar.

The nicest pool I’ve ever enjoyed was in Victoria, B.C. Called Saanich Commonwealth Place, it was built for The Commonwealth Games in 1994. What this swim center has that I think is pretty much pure genius, is a library and a coffee shop. Think about it. The kids need some exercise, you want a cup of coffee, and everyone needs a good book. Pure Genius.

Wishing you well in these strange times, and hoping that this swim center can still come to life,

Real Estate in the Time of COVID

Dear Property Blotter Readers,

Dianne and I are thinking of you during this challenging moment & wishing health and peace to you and yours. I hope this is a time of staying at home with your loved ones & enjoying some things you usually don’t get to enjoy.

I’m told by my trusted Mortgage Advisors that mortgage interest rates are supposed to dip to 3-ish again shortly as that zero interest rate flushes out the crush that happened a few weeks ago when they went down that low (the saturation pushed them back up to 4-ish for a time). Sales are actually moving along really well in Lake Oswego and the overall Portland area right now (see Market Report). Prices are lowering in some cases and being pushed up in others with multiple offers. In other words- the usual, and right now we have 182 Active Properties for sale in Lake Oswego, with 87 currently Pending and 22 Sold/Closed last week. 22 of those Active Properties went on the market just last week.

The other day RMLS removed the Open House section from the site. Some Agents will still choose to have them and be very careful, but most are not doing so out of an appropriate abundance of caution, for now. Everyone is being extremely careful with sanitizing everything and following Seller guidelines for private in-person showings. Buyers are demonstrating a bit more discernment up front & are seeing only properties they’ve decided are on their “serious” list, which cuts down on any potential exposure for everyone as we all do our part. Typically hand-sanitizer is out, booties are used for shoes, Buyers are advised not to touch anything (for them and for the Seller) and Agents will generally wipe the lockbox, door handles, switches etc. Buyers are encouraged to bring their own wipes & sanitizer with them and to wear gloves and/or masks as warranted either by Seller instruction or their own sensibilities. Some Sellers will want their own Agent at showings to observe that nothing is touched in the home so that their Seller can return home with their mind at ease, and/but either way, Agents are doing their utmost to ensure safe protocols are followed.

As for promoting Listings, there are, of course, cool tools that can and are being promoted more liberally like Virtual Open Houses, Video Walk-Through’s and other things. Ask me if you’re interested in learning more about that.

In general, we all are in this together, and the camaraderie at-a-distance and diligence in every sector of the real estate community is truly impressive ~ People helping people fulfill their life-goals and stay safe & healthy in the process.

Please take care and do get in touch with me or with Dianne if you have a life-goal you don’t really want to put off ; ) We can make it happen, efficiently and safely.

Be Well~

This Week in Lake Oswego ~ Feb 3-9, 2020

Here are my picks for things happening this week!

Mon, Feb 3, 2020– 7:00PM –  Development Review Commission  ~ Opportunity to hear about upcoming projects including new athletic field lighting and a hitting barn at Lakeridge High School – City Hall, 380 A Ave –  Info: CLICK HERE

Tue, Feb 4 2020 –  7:00-8:30PM – “Bayou Boyz” for First Tuesday Music!!!!~***Ding! Ding! Ding!  These guys are just some of the best musicians in the region… at the Lake Oswego Library! Bayou Boyz promise to “swampify your world”. This is Louisiana-style music from coastal areas featured in the 2020 LO Reads title, Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, by Elizabeth Rush.  – Lake Oswego Library, 706 4th St-  Info:  CLICK HERE  

Wed, Feb 5th, 2020 – 4:15-5:00PM / Ages 7-12- Meet the Artist  ~ Each week explore an Artist who really made an impact in the world…such as Frida Kahlo, Picasso, Matisse, and Georgia O’Keefe ~ CCP, 1060 Chandler Rd –Info & Reg:  CLICK HERE     

Thu, Feb 6th, 2020 9:00-10:00AM – 50+ Aerobic Exercise to Music  ~ Low-impact class helps w/balance, flexibility, strength. Adult Community Center, 505 G Avenue – Info & Registration: (class has begun/can still sign up!)   CLICK HERE

Fri , Feb 7th 2020:  1:30-4:00, Beasts of the Southern Wild    ~ See this film from  in a theater and discuss it afterwards. In the movie, 6-year-old Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) lives with her father Wink (Dwight Henry) in a remote Delta community. Doors open at 1:30. Film starts at 2:00.  – Lake Theater & Cafe, 106 N State St  Info: CLICK HERE 

Sat , Feb 8th 2020:  1:00-2:30, Garden Planning 101   ~Learn about succession planting, companion planting and “what to plant/when”. – Luscher Farm, 125 Rosemont Road  Info: CLICK HERE 

Sun, Feb 9, 2020– 2:00-3:00PM –  Young People Facing Climate Change  ~ Hear a panel featuring youth from Lake Oswego and Lakeridge High Schools discuss how they are feeling about climate change and what opportunities are available to become involved. – City Hall, 380 A Ave –  Info : CLICK HERE


Oswego Heritage Council

I am a big fan of history and I really appreciate it when it is well preserved and appreciated. Lake Oswego history is quite fascinating. The town was originally founded as a result of the discovery of iron ore in hills where Iron Mountain Drive now runs. The ore was brought down out of the mountain, loaded onto barges and taken across the lake to the Willamette River where it was smelted into usable iron.

While LO never did actually become “the Pittsburgh of the West”, it did get it’s start as a company town that evolved into a vacation town for folks in Portland, and eventually into what it is today with a population of just under 40,000 people.

Preserving the history of the town is the focus of the Oswego Heritage Council. Located as 398 10th Street in downtown LO, the council is located in an elegant formal residence that houses a museum, meeting rooms and a formal garden. There is a permanent exhibit as well as rotating exhibits. Currently being shown is the Bickner and Woodward family collection of photographs from 1919-1921. The museum is open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 10-3. It is free.

The council is a 501 (c)(3) non profit. It is financed by the efforts of the council itself. In keeping with it historic mission, these efforts are primarily well known and respected annual events that include a classic car and boat show in August and a home and garden tour in June.

The facility is also available for rent. It’s suitable for meetings, luncheons, and small weddings.

As always, thanks for reading,

ARTmart is Back!

Lake Oswego is a very art oriented town. From the Gallery Without Walls, to the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts, you have art in your life is you live in or regularly visit Lake Oswego.

A new tradition has been added to Lake Oswego’s legacy, ARTmart. Did you know that the Arts Council of Lake Oswego maintains a gallery space at 510 First Street in downtown LO? I’ve been to a couple of exhibits there. ARTmart is an exhibit in this gallery space, but it’s unique. It is a community event that encourages citizens to donate art that they are no longer displaying in their homes or businesses. The art is offered for sale with the proceeds going to fund outreach and education programs. Any unsold art is donated to Community Warehouse in Portland with the mission of providing art work to neighbors in need.

This is a great chance to clean out your own collection and then find something new to treasure. I love it!

You can donate art through January 14th. The exhibit runs through January 31st. Exhibit hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11-5.

Art makes life better and this is a chance to help the community while also helping yourself.