Featured Neighborhood: Glenmorrie

Western Red Cedar
Camperdown Elm
Glenmorrie is not a very big neighborhood, but it packs a lot into a small area. It is bordered by Glenmorrie Terrace to the North, the Willamette River to the East, Marylhurst University to the South, and Skyland Dr to the West.

This neighborhood is known for it’s amazing trees. In the late 1800’s, Parker Farnsworth Morey, the first President of Portland General Electric, built a grand estate on what is now the Glenmorrie neighborhood. He hired an English gardner to oversee the landscaping and brought in many wonderful trees that included Giant Sequoia, Camperdown Elm, Hemlock, Red Alder, and more. These trees are still in the neighborhood today.

In honor of Arbor Week, April 1st to 7th, a walking tour will be held on April 1st to visit many of these trees. Meet at George Rogers Park at 2pm.

So what are the houses like in Glenmorrie? Most were built in the 1950’s and 1960’s and tend to be classic ranch style with custom features like vaulted hemlock ceilings and extensive brick work. There are a few newer homes, but most are older and traditional.

At this time there are 5 houses for sale in Glenmorrie. The least expensive is a short sale that was built in 1954. It has 2459 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths and is priced at $379,000. The most expensive is a 1985 house with 5894 square feet that has 5 bedrooms and 4 1/2 baths. It’s priced at $899,000.

If you enjoy trees, consider going on the neighborhood walk at the start of Arbor Week. And if you want a home that is surrounded by lush landscaping, consider Glenmorrie as a good otpion.


Featrured Neighborhood: Bryant

There are 25 neighborhoods in Lake Oswego and today I want to focus on one in particular: Bryant. Bryant is found on the South side of the lake and is bounded by Upper Drive on the North, Southshore and Kelok roads on the East, Childs and Deerbrush roads on the South, and Pilkington on the West.

Lake Grove Swim Park
Highlights of the neighborhood include Waluga Junior High School, West Bay, Lamont Springs Nature Park, and on the Northern edge, one of Lake Oswego’s two swim parks, the Lake Grove Swim Park.

There is a small commercial commercial district that allows the neighborhood to enjoy 4 excellent restaurants. LaVang’s is an institution having been opened many years ago by a Vietnamese doctor who used the proceeds to support an orphanage in Vietnam. I am not sure if the connection to the orphanage still exists, but I can tell you that the good food has remained. It has wonderful Pho and amazing salad rolls. Deno’s Pizzeria has about the best caesar salad I have ever eaten. Pine Shed Ribs serves Santa Maria Style Barbeque. And the newest addition is Oliver’s which specializes in farm to table fresh ingredients with a Mexican flair.

West Bay
Housing in the area runs the gamut. There are several condominium complexes with pricing ranging from $100,000 to $175,000, with 1 currently for sale, 2 pending and in escrow, and 1 closed sale in the last 6 months.. The single family residential has a much broader range.

There are currently 22 houses for sale. The least expensive house currently for sale was built in 1952 and is a bank foreclosure. It has 2324 square feet (928 is in an unfinished basement), 3 bedrooms and 3 full baths. It is listed for $229,900.

The most expensive house currently for sale is on a canal. It was built in 1985, is on nearly half an acre with 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths, and is listed for $1,199,000.

25 homes have sold in the last 6 months. The low sale occurred on a mid-century modern home that was built in 1962. With 1700 square feet, 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, it was listed for $229,900. It sold in just 2 days for $209,400. The most expensive sale was a 1992 built home with a brick facade and 3-car garage on a cul-de-sac. It had 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. Listed for $850,000, it sold in 56 days for $750,000.

I think what I like about the Bryant neighborhood is how walkable it is. Relatively flat, you can walk to the swim park or to a good restaurant in 10 to 15 minutes. I don’t live in the Bryant neighborhood, but I do live close enough that I walk through it regularly. Lamont Springs Park is a personal favorite.

Please feel free to let Linda or myself know if we’ve peaked your curiosity and would like more information about homes in this area.


Featured Neighborhood: Birdshill

Lake Oswego has 22 neighborhood associations. This week I want to tell you about Birdshill. Birdshill is one of the smaller associations and is more loosely organized. It consists of two distinct parts. To find Birdshill, you’ll want to be West of the Willamette River, North of Foothills Park, East of Terwilliger, and South of Iron Mountain Blvd./Edgecliff Rd.

Half of Birdshill is the very South end of Dunthorpe. Dunthorpe is a high-end luxury neighborhood that has City of Portland addresses but is actually in un-incorporated Multnomah County. Well, except for the part that is City of Lake Oswego and in Clackamas County. The feel of the neighorhood is large lots situated in a lush, wooded setting. These homes feel like estates. Most of the homes are older, although the occasional newer home does exist.

The other half of Birdshill is along the Willamette River. It’s tucked away and a hair-pin turn off of State Street to find. I really don’t think many people who live in Lake Oswego have ever been down in the area. It is a little gem: particularly if you want access to the river.

Houses along the river often feature deep-water docks and people who have these properties not only enjoy their boats, but a number of them have been known to also have sea planes. You do realize that with the right boat you could leave your back yard in Lake Oswego and travel the pacific to your home in Hawaii? Yes, this location would allow you to do that.

Besides being very close to Foothills Park, the neighborhood is adjacent to Tryon Creek State Park, as well as having a small park on the Willamette River itself.

Because Birdshill is a small neighborhood, at any given time there are only a few houses for sale. Today, there are currently just four. The least expensive is a 1956 daylight ranch with 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, and sitting on .98 of an acre. It’s priced at $525,000. The most expensive is a grand 1932 estate with 4 bedrooms, 3 full baths and 2 half baths, sitting on .86 of an acre that is priced at $2,125,000.

Please let us know if you would like more information about living in Birdshill. As always, Linda and I are here to help.


Featured Neighborhood: Uplands

Lake Oswego has 24 distinct neighborhoods, each with its own characteristics and features. Today I am going to focus on Uplands.

Uplands is centrally located and very close to Lake Oswego High School and Lake Oswego Junior High School. It is South of Country Club Rd, North of Iron Mt. Blvd., West of Lake Oswego Country Club, and East of Boones Ferry Rd.

I think its most distinguishing characteristic is that it is quiet and wooded. There really are no busy streets in this area with traffic consisting primarily of people who live in the area. There are two nature parks: Springbrook and the Iron Mt. Natural area. There is also a little park, probably the smallest in the city: Prestwick Park. Springbrook Park has a wonderful trail system that is enjoyed regularly by locals. It is 52 acres and full of Big Leaf Maples.

The housing is diverse. It is an established area with many homes dating from the 1950’s and 1960’s. The location and the large lots really appeal to buyers and over the years many of the small homes have been enlarged or torn down and had new homes built. This creates a mixture of old and new, large and small.

There are currently 11 homes for sale in the neighborhood. The least expensive is 2039 square feet, built in 1995 on a very small lot (unusual for the area). It has 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a 2-car garage, and is priced at $339,000. The most expensive home for sale was built in 2009. It is on nearly half an acre and has 6490 square feet with 5 bedrooms, 4 full baths and 2 half baths. There is a 3-car garage and it is priced at $1,895,000.

Also located in Uplands is the City’s Indoor Tennis Center. With our cold and wet winters, this is a real feature. There are 4 indoor courts that can each be rented for $16 an hour. The center has a wide variety of competitive and social events that include a City Tennis League, USTA League, group mixers, Tiny Tot Tennis, and more.

This neighborhood, while it feels like it is isolated, is actually very close to pretty much any part of town you want to go to. From Uplands you are just minutes to both downtown Lake Oswego and to Lake Grove. It has quick access to Hwy 217 and I 5. It also is pretty close to the lake and many of the homes have boating easements.

So when looking for a home in Lake Oswego, be sure to consider the Uplands neighborhood. And please let Linda or I know if you would like more information.


Featured Home in Southwood Park

62nd-parkAre you wanting to enroll your children in the Lake Oswego School District, but are concerned about finding a home that is large enough, that you can also afford?  Look no further.  A home that fits this profile has come onto the market.

Southwood Park

The Southwood Park neighborhood is actually an area of unincorporated Clackamas County.  It is just North of Westlake and just West of Mountain Park.  The street boundaries are Kruse Ridge Dr to the North, Sierra Vista/Twin Creek to the East, Pamela to the South and I-5 to the West.  At the South end is Southwood Park, a City of Lake Oswego Park with 2.5 acres of woods and grassy open areas.

Because it is an unincorporated part of Clackamas County, it tends to have lower property taxes.  But because it is in the Lake Oswego School District, it is highly desirable and popular for all manner of families.  One important note:  not all houses in Southwood Park are in the LO School District.  At the North end some homes are in the Portland School District.  So be sure to confirm the school attendance for the home you are interested in.

You should also be aware that it has extremely easy access to I-5, Hwy 217 and the Kruse Way business community.  It is also close enough to Portland Community College Sylvania Campus that the school can be accessed via trails on foot or on bike.

As for real estate, when I think of Southwood Park, I think of great value for the dollar that you spend.  An excellent example of this is in today’s Featured Property:  13638 SW 62nd.

62nd-front2Featured Home

This new listing has 4 bedrooms and 3 full baths.  With2268 square feet, it also has a formal living room and 2 family rooms, all of which have either got a wood burning fireplace or a wood stove.  The roof was replaced in 1998 with a 50-year metal roof.  The windows were replaced in 2003, the deck in 2007, and the gutters in 2008.  This summer the house has been totally repainted both inside and out.  The lot is about 7000 square feet and is extremely private with mature landscaping.  It sits just a short distance from Southwood Park.

I have confirmed that this home is located within the Lake Oswego School District.  The elementary school is Oak Creek, the junior high is Lake Oswego Junior High School, and the high school is Lake Oswego High School.

Think about all of that space with lots of bedrooms and plenty of living areas.  That’s a nice big house that could easily house 4 to 6 people.  And the list price is just $319,900!  It is just a great home for the money.  Please let me know if you have any interest in further information.  I’d be happy to send you a copy of the listing or to arrange for you to see the interior.   E-mail me at jdgregoire@earthlink.net .

If you’d like to do a drive through the neighborhood, feel free to take a swing past this house.  From Kruse Way in Lake Oswego go North on Westlake Dr.  Turn West on Southwood Dr and then left again on SW 62nd.  The house is all the way down the street, on your left, near the park:  13638 SW 62nd Ave.

Happy house hunting,


Featured Neighborhood: Westridge

westridge-sign1It’s time to showcase another of Lake Oswego’s wonderful neighborhoods, Westridge. Westridge is not very large.  According to city-data.com, it is  just .238 of a square mile. It is bordered on the West by Bryant Rd, on the North by Royce Way, on the East by Cooks Butte Park, and on the South by Childs Rd. The population of the neighborhood is about 650 people, which translates to about 300 houses. It’s been my experience that people who live in Westridge love it. They will often move within the neighborhood rather than move out of it. So what’s the attraction?

First, it’s a very quiet area. There are no through streets that people use to get from one part of town to another. There are only neighborhood streets. So the only cars driving into the area are those of people who live there or their guests.

westridge-trail1Second, it has two terrific parks. Cooks Butte Park is on the Eastern edge of Westridge. It’s 42 acres of natural area. It’s what is called a passive park. In other words, it is left quite natural with soft-surface trails for hiking, but not a lot of development such as picnic structures or play grounds. It is best enjoyed for the trees, the trails, and the views. The top of the park has an elevation of 718′. It’s a wonderful spot to hike up to and then sit and watch the sunset. The other park is Westridge Park. It’s adjacent to Westridge Elementary School. It’s 2.2 acres and has a playground, a volleyball area, and a soccer/little league field. This is where you take the kids to burn off some energy and to enjoy a fine, sunny afternoon.

Last is the reputation of Westridge Elementary School. It is a very highly regarded school. While the schools in Lake Oswego all have good reputations, Westridge Elementary seems to stand out. It has a Distinguished Great Schools rating of 10 out of 10, according to the website greatschools.net.

westridge-park1Housing in Westridge is all single family homes. There are no condominiums or apartment buildings. The pricing of what is currently for sale goes from a low of $498,500 for a 2670 square foot home with 4 bedrooms and 3 baths, to a high of $899,900 for a 3243 square foot home also with 4 bedrooms and 3 baths. I would say that the most basic criteria for the variation in pricing is whether the home has been updated or not. The neighborhood was mostly built in the 1970’s and 1980’s. So if the house still has original kitchen, baths, woodwork and windows, it is just not going to be worth as much as a house that is
all updated. I also know that there are homes in Westridge that easily exceed $1,000,000. It is just that none of the higher-end homes are currently for sale. The homes that are the most expensive often are on extremely large lots. On the South edge of Westridge are Barton and Hilltop roads. These streets have houses on acreage, and those properties more closely resemble estates.

westridge-house1I want to point out a house that Linda and I visited on Broker’s tour on May 5th, 9 Westminster Dr. This home is an excellent example of great value. Built in 1976, it has been extensively updated. The kitchen and baths are all recent. There is new paint and flooring. The house has 3814 square feet, with 4 bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths. Probably the most distinguishing feature is a wonderful sunroom that allows you to sit and enjoy the garden all year round. The landscaping is exceptional. There is extensive brick work in patios and outdoor entertaining areas. The yard has sprinklers and it looks to me as though a professional was involved in the layout. It is really wonderful. Priced at just $597,000 it is a stand out for value. I tell people that in this market it is both a beauty pageant and a price war. I think this house wins in both categories.

So it’s easy to see the attraction of the Westridge area. If you’d like information on homes currently for sale in Westridge, please contact either Linda or myself, and we would be happy to send you more information.

Featured Neighborhood: Forest Highlands

mt-hoodTwo weeks ago I posted information about Tryon Creek State Park and mentioned that there are two neighborhoods in Lake Oswego with trail access into the Park. One is First Addition and the other is Forest Highlands. In our archives you’ll find a neighborhood profile for First Addition, and now you will also find this one for Forest Highlands.

Forest Highlands is located on the North side of Lake Oswego. It’s Southern boundary is Country Club Rd. It’s Western boundary is Boones Ferry Rd. It’s Northern boundary is the city limits, and it’s Eastern boundary is First Addition. It is 1.198 square miles in size.

The most striking characteristic of the neighborhood is that the houses are mostly situated on large lots. To put this into perspective, the average density of the population of Lake Oswego is 3410 people per square mile. In Forest Highlands it is 1353 people per square mile. Fewer people and fewer homes means that the area feels spacious: not at all like a subdivision. It feels like an area of fine estates. That is not to say that all of the houses are mansions.

red-fox-hills-signThere is, in fact, a beautiful condominium development in Forest Highlands, Red Fox Hills. The condominiums are all townhouse style: they are attached on the sides but do not have neighbors above or below. Amenities include expansive lawns and gardens as well as a pool and a recreation facility. Current pricing ranges from $226,000 for a 2 bedroom, bath and a half unit, to $399,000 for a 3 bedroom, 2 full bath unit. All units have garages.

For detached homes the range is much more broad. The least expensive house currently listed is $439,800. Built in 1973, it has 1812 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. It’s on a cul-de-sac and the lot is .28 of an acre. The most expensive currently listed is $2,995,000. It was built in 2006 with 7582 square feet, 6 bedrooms and 5 and a half baths. It’s on 1.89 acres.

Besides large lots, another characteristic of the area is that many homes have Mt. Hood views. The entire neighborhood is located on a gentle slope that faces East. Not all houses have views, but a surprising number of them do.

Then I like the street names: Hideaway Ct, Tippecanoe Ct, Dapple Grey Ln, Pebble Beach Ct, Rockinghorse Ln. Who wouldn’t want to live on Hideaway Ct? Except for Livingood Lane over in the Palisades neighborhood, I think Tippecanoe Ct is my favorite street name in Lake Oswego.

tryon-creek-park-signAnd then there is that wonderful proximity to Tryon Creek Park. The entrance from Forest Highlands is at the turn about at the end of Boca Ratan Dr (right behind Red Fox Hills).

It’s just a very pretty area. As you know if you have been looking at real estate in Oregon, or if you live in Oregon, our land use laws have created fairly high-density housing in order to preserve more of our farms and forests. So when a client asks me to recommend homes with larger lots, lots as big as an acre, the first neighborhood that comes to my mind in Lake Oswego is Forest Highlands.

Dispelling Eight Lake Oswego Myths

Trestle approaching Lake OswegoOn occasion at the PropertyBlotter, we will lapse into the nostalgic and the historic.

Today, we share a handful of myths concerning the lake, the town, founders, its early industry, and famous headstones.

(Full disclosure: I got this from the very interesting Oswego Heritage Council site).

  1. Oswego Lake is not an artificial lake. The natural lake was enlarged by successive dams that raised the water level and by a canal that connected it to the Tualatin River in 1873. Lakewood Bay, on the other hand, is largely man-made. It was originally a marsh, known as the Duck Pond. Developers flooded this swampy area in 1928 by digging a channel that linked it to the main lake.
  2. It is frequently said that Albert Alonzo Durham named Oswego after his birthplace in New York. However, Durham was born in Chenango County, not in Oswego, New York.
  3. The iron furnace in George Rogers Park is not a “chimney” or a “chimneystack.” This misconception probably stems from the fact that the stone tower containing the smelting chamber is called a “stack.” When it was operating, the furnace was a roaring inferno filled with burning charcoal and iron ore. A 33-foot-tall brick chimney once topped the furnace, but it was dismantled in the late 19th century. The furnace is also sometimes mistakenly called a foundry. An iron foundry re-melts pig iron and casts metal products.
  4. “Smelter” or “furnace” — what’s the right term? Oswego residents said “furnace” in the 19th century, which explains how Furnace Street got its name. Sometime in the early 20th century, residents began calling it a “smelter.” While this is technically correct, the term used by most historians is “furnace.” In the National Register of Historic Places the Oswego Iron Furnace is listed as the “Oregon Iron Company Furnace” after the company that built it in 1866.
  5. Oswego was not the first town to produce pig iron west of the Rocky Mountains. The Mormons built a small furnace at Cedar City, Utah in the 1850s. However, the 1866 Oswego Furnace was the first iron furnace on the West Coast. It was also the longest running and most productive of four furnaces built west of the Rockies in the 19th century.
  6. Oswego’s dream of becoming the “Pittsburgh of the West” was hardly unique. No less than eleven towns with mining or industrial ambitions aspired to this title. Among them were Kirkland, Washington; Richmond, California; Pueblo, Colorado; Eureka, Nevada; Llano, Texas; East Saint Louis, Illinois; and Terre Haute, Indiana.
  7. The city of Lake Oswego is not named after Oswego Lake. On the contrary, the lake is named after the town. Until 1913 the lake was called Sucker Lake. At the beginning of the 20th century developers searched for a more marketable name, at one time considering “Lake Tualatin.” In 1913 they successfully petitioned the U.S. Geographic Board to change the name to Oswego Lake. In 1960 when the city incorporated much of Lake Grove, the names of both communities were combined and the city was renamed Lake Oswego.
  8. Linus Pauling is not buried in the Oswego Pioneer Cemetery although there is a headstone there with his name on it. Pauling died in 1994 at his ranch in California. The family placed the headstone in the cemetery to honor his memory in the town where his relatives are buried and where he spent part of his childhood. Pauling’s grandfather was a German immigrant who came to Oregon to work in the Oswego Iron Furnace. Linus Pauling is the only winner of two unshared Nobel prizes: the prize for chemistry in 1954 and the Peace Prize in 1963.

Now, you know the rest of the story.

Source: Oswego Heritage Council. Photo courtesy of City of Lake Oswego.