The Week in Lake Oswego ~ Oct 12-18, 2020

Here are my picks for things happening this week!

Mon, Oct 12, 2020– 12:00-1:00PM –  Lunch 2 Go!  ~ Dining Room is obviously problematic during COVID, but this service continues M/W/F with drive-up service! They love to see your faces! $4.00 over 60 and $5.00 under 60. Adult Community Center – 505 G Ave –  Info & Ordering: CLICK HERE

Tue, Oct 13, 2020 –  4:00-5:00PM – Cook the Books Book Group~Join via Webex every week to eat and talk about food! Enjoy recipe exchanges and trying out recipes from a variety of cookbooks.  –   Info & Registration:  CLICK HERE  

Wed, Oct 14, 2020 – 6:30-7:00PM / Ages 2-12- All About Cats (Virtual Class) ~ Each week kids explore and learn all about the world of cats! – Presented by CCP~ Info & Reg:  CLICK HERE     

Thu, Oct 15, 2020 2:00-3:00 – Healthy Eating Every Day ~On Mondays and Thursdays learn how to adjust your eating during these challenging COVID times. Get back in the swing of healthy eating!  Presented by Adult Community Center – Info & Registration:    CLICK HERE

Fri , Oct 16 2020:  9AM-9PM, Video Postcards from Your Librarians!   ~ Check in every Friday for new stories, songs and general levity “till we can all be back together again”. Available online 24 hrs/day. Refreshed weekly. Presented by Lake Oswego Library.- Info: CLICK HERE 

Sat , Oct 17 2020:  10:00AM, Storyline Online   ~Every Saturday enjoy celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. Fresh videos are featured weekly on the Lake Oswego Library’s Kids Page.  Info: CLICK HERE 

Sun, Oct 18, 2020– 1:00-3:00PM –  Stewardship Work Party at Iron Mountain Park  ~ Help restore 50 acres of treasured natural habitat. Bring a shovel, pruners, gloves and a container of water. – Iron Mountain Park, Parking: Off Glen Eagles Rd –  Info & Registration: CLICK HERE

Market Activity ~ Sept 28-Oct 4, 2020

Last week in Lake Oswego we saw 16 New Properties come on the market, 22 move to Pending status, and 28 Closed Transactions. There are currently 170 properties to choose from in Lake Oswego!

NEW Sept 28- Oct 4, 2020

PENDING Sept 28-Oct 4, 2020

SOLD Sept 28-Oct 4, 2020

Lake Oswego and the Clackamas County Fires

Pardon me for this brief post. We’re all very busy with real estate amidst the wildfire situations that are hopefully subsiding. Our beloved Lake Oswego was poised to be on alert, but has now been taken off that alert status.  All of us are balancing normal lives with this additional set of circumstances.  You can set yourself up to receive alerts at this link: CLICK HERE

For now we all are thinking of our friends and loved ones in less protected areas who have needed to evacuate.  We’re grateful to only be dealing with the smoke and know that our blue skies are slated to return this week with some much anticipated rain.

What’s in the Blotter?

Linda and I have been writing this blog for a very long time. I would say at least 10 years. When we started this blog we wanted to name it after something uniquely associated with Lake Oswego. We chose The Property Blotter, which was a reference to the column in the local newspaper, The Lake Oswego Review. The column was called the Blotter. It lists every call to the Lake Oswego Police from the previous week. Bear in mind that LO is famous for having low crime, and a very well funded police department. Thus, many of the calls are a source of light humor.

With this in mind, I thought I’d give you a taste of this week’s police blotter, now known as the Police Log:

8/7 1:36 p.m. A resident said she was concerned about her elderly neighbor who had to use a double key deadbolt to get out of the gate to her condo near the 30 block of Condolea Drive. She worried the neighbor wouldn’t be able to get out in an emergency.

8/7 2:37 p.m. A caller said a dog showed up on their porch near the 14000 block of Goodall Road.

8/7 2:55 p.m. Kids were seen boxing near the 15500 block of Waluga Drive.

8/7 4:35 p.m. A man was seen yelling at buildings while walking in a parking lot near the 5000 block of Foothills Road.

8/7 6:26 p.m. A woman wondered if she was allowed to park her boat in her driveway for the winter.

8/7 7:33 p.m. A resident said a man was standing in grass and staring at his house near Overlook Drive and Stafford Road. Apparently this was an ongoing issue, with the man standing there “for hours.” It turned out the man worked for a care facility and he went across the street to smoke away from residents.

8/7 11:57 p.m. A resident said a “fugitive” was in their backyard and under the deck at an undisclosed location. Police found no one under the deck, though they did notice bird seeds on the ground and evidence of rats. Under the deck, a vent leading to a crawl space was missing, and the noise could have been from rats or a raccoon.

8/8 4:06 p.m. A caller said a skunk was dying in his yard and it needed to be put down near the 800 block of Clara Court.

And so goes the high drama of life in LO. We have it pretty good here when we have a police department who will answer the call about a dying skunk. I do love LO.

Enjoy your week.

A Bit About Basements

Most homes built before 1930 have basements. For Realtors and Appraisers, the existence of basements square footage is a bit of a conundrum. Should it be included in the square footage of the house? How valuable is it? Well, that depends…

First, some history on basements. I learned this from my favorite home inspector. A century ago when building was really booming in Oregon, the builders were primarily folks who had learned their trade back East, or from someone who had come from back East. The East coast has much colder winters than the Pacific Northwest. A house constructed in a location with really cold winters has to have a foundation that is deep enough that it is below the freezing depth of the soil. If it isn’t deep enough, the soil will expand when it freezes which can lift and damage the house. So in the East basements serve the purpose of getting the footing of the foundation deep enough. Then in about 1940 or so, builders in Oregon realized that our more mild winters meant that the foundations did not have to be that deep. Thus construction practices changed and builders quit building houses with basements.

It’s important to note that basements were not built with the intention of being water tight. They were built to protect the house from harsh, cold winters.

Now fast forward to today. When a house has a basement it is an asset to the property in that, even if leaky and unfinished, it is useful space. In a really bad basement storage can be elevated and it is a bit like a garage where you can put holiday decorations, paint, tools, stuff that you don’t need every day but want to keep around. Most basements are more than just a little bit useful and not all basements leak. Drainage systems can be installed and basements can be finished to be really great living areas.

So how do you value a basement. It truly depends on how well it is finished. If completely unfinished, I calculate the value of the house itself, above the basement. Once I know the value per square foot of that space, I give the square footage in the basement half the value per square foot of what is above it. If it is really beautifully finished, I will give it just about the same value as what is above it. But to get that kind of value it truly has to be well done with appropriate finish work, lighting, and an egress (a way out other than the interior stairs to get out in the event of a fire).

When I first got my real estate license I did not include unfinished basement square footage in the advertised size of the house. But over the years I came to realize that other properties with unfinished basements were including that space. To not include it made my listings sound small. So I now include it but I also clearly state whether the basement is finished or not and that it is included in the square footage.

There you have it, a bit about basements. Thanks for reading,

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. ( 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~