Co-Housing During the Coronavirus: What are Seniors Up To?

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Ann Lehman | PDX Commons co-housing, The U-shaped building that residents collectively designed, built, own and manage makes interaction easier. There are walkways in front of the condos.

Even before the pandemic forced everyone to hunker down at home, 79-year-old Fran Rothman decided to move out of a townhouse and live the rest of her life where she would never feel alone.

The retired special education teacher and social worker settled into an arrangement that promised to grant that wish: Collaborating housing, or co-housing, in which everyone in the community agrees to share chores, solve problems and socialize together.

At PDX Commons, a 55 and older complex in Southeast Portland’s Sunnyside neighborhood, Rothman can open the front door of her condo and find camaraderie.

Neighbors she’s known over years of committee meetings and potlucks can be heard singing on their balconies. Folks wave at one another as they move about, and people not seen outside for a while are called to make sure they’re fine.

If it weren’t for COVID-19, the three dozen seniors living here would be looking forward to a dance party with a live rock and roll band. Instead, they continue to keep their distance while watching out for one another.

The U-shaped building they collectively designed, built, own and manage makes interaction easier.

There are walkways in front of the condos on the top three levels and next to the courtyard is a large meeting and dining space. Twice a week, resident foodies using the communal commercial-style kitchen take turns making dinners for everyone.

“Our meals rival Portland restaurants,” says Rothman. “We have great cooks who live here. We’re not talking about a pot of soup.”

Some of the ingredients are harvested from gardens residents tend to on the rooftop deck.

They take the elevator to the ground level to spend time in the library, media room with a big screen TV, or the craft and exercise room. In another wing is a workshop and bike storage as well as a dog-wash station.

Although the sit-down group dinners indoors are now masked affairs in which people bring their own plate to take home to eat, in good weather homeowners can be six feet apart outdoors around a fire pit.

“We all are in this together,” says resident Ann Lehman, 67, of the group that makes decisions by consensus. “The loneliness factor exists but not like for most adults living alone or even a couple by themselves or someone in a nursing home with their own room.”

Lehman says a perk of living with retirees who are regular hikers, bicyclists and campers is she can go for a walk with one of them without planning in advance.

Co-housing requires work

Each co-housing complex is unique, in physical size and configuration to work for the young families or empty nesters, or both, who live there. The private homes could be newly built or remodeled apartments. The communal space could be a multipurpose room or a century-old farmhouse.

The common goal: To coordinate efforts to benefit all.

People living in collaborative spaces buy a unit or sign a lease knowing they will interact often with their neighbors. People who want to control the activity may not like all the committees, writes Charles Durrett in ”Senior Cohousing: A Community Approach to Independent Living-The Handbook.”

Those who benefit desire traditional forms of community and a sense of belonging, according to Durrett.

“Living in community supports resilience,” says Eli Spevak, who lives at Cully Grove, a 16-unit co-housing community in Northeast Portland that his company, Orange Splot, co-developed with Zach Parrish in 2012.

“It also helps to live with people who have a wide range of skill sets, a nice level of trust and the ability to team up on group tasks,” Spevak says, adding these are “all handy things in case of catastrophe, whether that be earthquake, massive power outage or pandemic.”

Oregon has 30 co-housing communities, according to the CoHousing Association of the U.S.

Some are within walking distance of parks, shops, restaurants and grocery stores; others are remote or on acreage. All have a focus on sustainable living, reducing waste and keeping costs down with residents managing the finances and keeping up the property.

PDX Commons’ building, shared areas and private spaces were developed and constructed by Urban Development + Partners based on designs by Works Progress Architecture with residents’ input. J.R. Abbott Construction was the general contractor.

The condos have from 625 to 1,250 square feet of living space. All 27 were sold for between $355,000 and $720,000 before the building was completed in July 2017.

Today, an 846-square-foot condo with two bedrooms and two bathrooms and a north-facing balcony at 4262 S.E. Belmont St. #404 is for sale at $595,000.

Property taxes are $7,300 a year and homeowners association fees, at $557 a month, cover water, garbage pickup, recycling and community Wi-Fi and activities as well as property insurance for the building and a reserve fund.

 PDX Commons is participating in National Cohousing Open House Day on April 24 over Zoom (join in by filling out a contact form at pdxcommons.com/contact.

In agreement

Part of each owner’s continuing responsibilities is to work on committees.

Rothman is a member of the building, grounds and finance committees. One of her jobs is night watch, in which she makes sure outside doors are secured.

Events like a dance party are planned by the FunC (fun committee) and the gift-loan committee sorts out what people are donating or letting the community use, from a kayak to garden sculpture.

A retired nurse and a scientist contributed to the health committee, which sent group emails as facts became known about COVID-19.

When the coronavirus was even more of a mystery, people reacted to fears to different degrees.

“We made sure no one was so alone that they were scared,” says Lehman. “No one has been sick from COVID. Now, we’re struggling to make sure everyone gets vaccinated.”

Residents held Zoom meetings in March 2020 to agree on a code of conduct to reduce the risk of anyone contracting the virus.

As recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hands are washed often, surfaces are sanitized and cleaning chores were stepped up.

Families and friends could not visit inside the complex or stay in one of the two shared guest rooms.

Residents with health conditions that made them more susceptible to COVID-19 had groceries delivered or neighbors shopped for them.

“Ultimately, if these are the people you live with, you are not going to jeopardize them,” says Rothman. “We supported everyone’s comfort zone.”

Over the last year, the residents have spent more time together, since no one was traveling, and they learned new skills. Many participated in national co-housing webchats and virtual conferences.

Lehman led yoga classes and other exercise sessions continued even when the teacher couldn’t enter the complex. Birthdays are celebrated by everyone standing on porches and blasting a favorite song on iTunes.

Over time, they formed small social pods with folks on the same floor.

“As we get older, it’s better to live around people than in your own space,” says Rothman. Experts agree that limited social support and stimulation can lead to isolation, which affects physical and mental health.

After Rothman and her partner moved to Portland from Sacramento seven years ago to enjoy the city’s cultural activities, good transportation and closeness to recreational camping area, they lived in a townhouse where neighbors were friendly, but there were no joint activities.

Rothman says a co-housing complex is a place in which relationships can thrive: “Where you can enjoy your neighbors, do things with them and share with them.”

— Janet Eastman | Source here

New Socially-Distanced Venue to Host Waterfront Blues Festival

A Portland events company is poised to turn a former shipyard into a 7-acre outdoor event venue for the summer, with COVID-19 protocols in place.

The Waterfront Blues Festival is a go this summer after it was canceled last year because of the pandemic. The annual festival will have a new home for 2021 and allow much smaller crowds.

It will be a highlight of a whole series of events planned for The Lot at Zidell Yards, a former shipyard being converted into an outdoor venue on Portland’s south waterfront between the Tilikum Crossing and Ross Island bridges.

Fuller Events of Portland has big plans for the space, which is not far from Waterfront Park where the blues fest is usually held.

“Our project is to bring back events safely,” said Christina Fuller of Fuller Events. “We’re building out a socially distant outdoor performance venue knowing that events look different.”

Renderings of the venue show what “different” looks like: pods of space, set apart for small groups to gather.

“So you’ll get the experience of sharing the moment of the live music or the charity auction or the festival, but still within appropriate spacing and the comfort of being around people that you choose to be around,” said Fuller.

Fuller and her husband Tyler are no strangers to Portland’s biggest events.

From the Waterfront Blues Festival to the Rose Festival, Hood to Coast and more, they’ve been involved in making big events go off smoothly. Their goal for 2021 is get back some of what the pandemic took away from event goers and those who work in the industry.

Their plan for The Lot at Zidell Yards includes food service, a stage for performers and an enormous 16-by-30-foot LED screen to highlight lives shows or show movies.

Starting in May with a 300-person limit on the property, they plan to have variety of socially distant events on the site. The “upriver” Waterfront Blues Festival is set for July 2-5 and benefits Meals on Wheels People.

“And so we really encourage people to patronize the blues festival not only because it’s going to be a wonderful event with some terrific musicians, but also that ticket price helps to feed older adults in our community as well,” said Meals on Wheels spokesperson Julie Piper Finley.

Fuller says it will be a highlight of a season of fun, safe events that will bring back the community.

“And we’ll feature local, regional, national artists that folks have known to associate with the blues festival, and we’re just over the moon that we still have a waterfront place just a little bit up the river.”

Other events planned for the venue include Portland Pride, a series of film and music hosted in partnership with Hollywood Theatre and more live music.

Article Source

Portland-Area Construction Crews Volunteer to Build $1 Million House to Raise Money for Kids with Cancer

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The owner of Vancouver’s Marnella Homes is galvanizing construction workers in the Portland area to volunteer to complete a luxury residential property, valued at more than $1 million, near Vancouver Lake. Building Industry Association of Clark County

 Builder Tony Marnella doesn’t want to sell just one new house to raise money for children with cancer. Rather, he wants to build one each year, starting now.

The owner of Vancouver’s Marnella Homes is galvanizing construction workers in the Portland area to volunteer to complete a luxury residential property, valued at more than $1 million, near Vancouver Lake.

After the last donated Bosch appliance and high-end finishes are installed this summer, the 2,827-square-foot dwelling will be sold. All proceeds will go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, at which families do not have to pay for travel, housing or food while children receive free cancer treatments.

The St. Jude Dream Home Showplace, as it’s called, will be open during the NW Natural Parade of Homes tour in Felida Overlook in Vancouver from Sept. 10-26. The Building Industry Association of Clark County, which organizes the home tour, is helping Marnella connect with donors, contractors and businesses offering materials or services.

“Every dollar generated from these homes benefits children with cancer and their families,” said Marnella, who noted he was granted a new lease on life after surviving non-Hodgkin lymphoma and hopes to establish a tradition of completing many homes for St. Jude in the Northwest. “If we can help ease the pain of kids today and in the future, sign me up.”

St. Jude supporters across the U.S. have raised funds by holding raffles in which the winner receives a new home. About seven years ago, a smaller home for St. Jude was built in Bellevue, Washington, and sold to benefit the research hospital.

This is the first St. Jude Dream Home program in the Portland area, said DeeAnna Janku of American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC), a fundraising and awareness organization founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas in 1957 for St. Jude.

More than 540 St. Jude homes have been constructed nationwide since the first one in 1991, raising almost $500 million for research and treatment, Janku said.

For what he believes will be the first of many St. Jude homes, Marnella is working off designs for a Southwestern-inspired, single-level house named The Sedona that will have three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a powder room.

On Friday, Dario Ramos of Vancouver, along with a small crew, lent a hand to the project by installing post-and-beam framing. This weekend, volunteers from Aumsville’s Jose Garcia Construction and Hillsboro’s Arm & Hammer Construction will continue the work by putting up walls.

“For these guys to come out here is a big ask,” says Marnella. “Framing a home takes two to three weeks of full days with a standard crew.”

Marnella said he wanted to involve different crews to ensure there will be experienced volunteers for the next project — and allow “18 to 20 guys to go back to their families and share that they were part of this build and are appreciated for their generosity.”

Donors

Breaking Ground Excavation prepared the site and hooked up the underground plumbing, along with All County Plumbing. They used materials donated by Ferguson.

CalPortland supplied concrete for the foundation poured by Parker Concrete. Cascade Concrete Supply and West Coast Concrete have also donated to the project.

Gale Contractor Services will donate insulation. James Hardie and FiberMount donated siding materials that will be installed by Inline SidingWillamette Carpentry will donate trim labor.

Other contributors include Indigo ConstructionJeld-WenLima One CapitalNova Caseworks and The Perfect Pitch Roof, according to DeeAnna Janku of American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC) and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

People can give any amount to offset specific costs — such as $1,000 toward the purchase of the lot or $50 toward lumber costs — by visiting the Marnella Homes website (marnellahomes.com/stjude) or calling 503-654-6642.

— Janet Eastman | 503-294-4072

Source

It’s Tough to Buy a House in Portland Right Now

But the city’s suburbs and exurbs are even hotter markets.

Remote work wasn’t the reason Dwight and Carla Hager decided to move out of their house in Portland’s Reed neighborhood last summer, but it blew their list of possible destinations wide open.

Dwight’s commute used to take him to either Kaiser Permanente’s Sunnyside or Hillsboro facilities, depending on the day. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, his call center shifts turned into work-from-home days. The new schedule—coupled with Carla’s planned retirement in a few years—meant the two could potentially have moved as far as McMinnville, Dwight says. They ultimately settled on Wilsonville as the sweet spot between city amenities, open space, and a reasonable commute.

Like the Hagers, plenty of Portlanders jumped farther out from the city in the past year. The housing market is surging throughout Portland and the surrounding counties, fueled by record-low interest rates and a desire for more space during a pandemic that’s kept many families cooped up together for months on end.

“An urban-to-suburban trend has been something that’s been widely talked about,” says Terry Wollam, managing broker at Wollam & Associates in Vancouver. “It’s not just urban-to-suburban, but it’s also suburban-to-rural.”

Wollam says he’s seen increased interest as far up Interstate 5 as Kalama and Kelso. On the Oregon side, Clackamas, Sandy, Boring, and Damascus have all become more popular destinations, according to Christopher Love, managing broker at the Woodstock office of John L. Scott Real Estate.

A recent John L. Scott Portland-area analysis shows a pattern of shrinking inventories and faster sales in the second half of 2020. The percentage of homes with pending sales in their first 30 days on the market hovered at 40–50 percent in 2019, but has been above 60 percent since June. The same pattern can be seen to an even greater degree in Clackamas, Washington, Columbia, and Clark Counties, where the 30-day-sales percentages ranged from about 68 to 86 percent between June and November 2020.

There’s another, less-conventional indicator of rural growth, Wollam says: a booming market for septic systems in new houses beyond the reach of municipal sewers. Cory McNair, owner of McNair Septic Design and Consulting in Clark County, just over the river in Washington, says 2020 was one of the company’s busiest years.

Some of the growth was in repair work, he says—existing systems failing under heavier use—but much of it was also in new systems for fresh construction in towns like Yacolt, Woodland, and Kalama.

It’s easy to see where the demand comes from. More than 800,000 Oregonians—around 40 percent of the state’s workforce—are capable of remote work based on their industries, according to a July 2020 report from the Oregon Employment Department.

Working from home makes long commutes less of an issue, and it pushes people farther from the urban core in search of roomier houses with space for work, school, and recreation.

“We’ve seen more people want to buy houses with pools and workout facilities, the extra amenities that they can do at home, and when they stretch outside of the city limits their dollar stretches further,” says Jessica Tindell, president of the Portland Metro Association of Realtors.

The pandemic accelerated the suburban trend, but it didn’t create it. Love says his office has seen increased interest in the suburbs and exurbs for a couple of years, driven by a desire for lower property taxes and more space as Portland proper becomes denser.

“I think [COVID] was a scale-tipper,” Love says. “That was the last straw.’”

Wollam says he’s also seen a big surge in additions and renovations. The inner Portland market also remains highly sought after, Love says, with plenty of newcomers and locals who want to downsize or upsize.

Ultimately, single-family homes with space for home offices are in demand across the board, says Gerard Mildner, academic director at Portland State University’s Center for Real Estate. Buying a new house is a long-term commitment, but buyers and even some employers seem willing to bet remote work will stick around.

For example, Riverview Community Bank switched about 100 of the 237 employees at its Washington and Oregon branches to remote work, says executive vice president Kim Capeloto. The customer service staff will eventually need to return, but there’s a backroom contingent that may be able to stay remote.

“I think we’ll still have folks that operate remotely, for sure,” he says. “I think that it’ll end up being more of an option.”

By Anthony Macu  |  Source

Grocery Workers, Realtors Among Oregon Front-Line Workers Eligible for Vaccine April 5th

The state announced Friday that people in Group 7 of Phase 1B will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine two weeks earlier than planned.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Kat Granum has worked in the real estate industry for eight years. She says the last year has been the most stressful.

“We’ve been working since the stay-at-home order hit,” she said. “Trying to use all the safety precautions. Masks, gloves when they were recommended.”

Granum has been waiting for her chance to get vaccinated, and it is going to happen sooner than she thought.

Realtors were slated to become eligible for a vaccine in mid-April, but the timeline has been accelerated. Realtors are now eligible for vaccinations beginning April 5.

“I got an email from the Oregon Realtors Association and I immediately told my husband,” Granum said. “I was just really excited to have the opportunity.”

Just as excited as Granum are grocery workers. They, too, can get a vaccine two weeks sooner than expected.

“These workers can’t work from home,” said Miles Eshaia of United Food & Commercial Workers Local 555. “They can’t work remotely. They’ve shown up to work everyday throughout all of this since the beginning. Having access to the vaccine if they want it is a really good thing.”

RELATED: Oregon moves up vaccine eligibility for front-line workers, adults with underlying conditions

There are dozens upon dozens of front-line workers who will become eligible for a vaccine as soon as the first Monday in April. Those working in food service, finance and the legal profession are included in the group.

“In keeping with Oregon’s commitment to equity, this change gives front-line workers and other [Phase 1B, Group 7] populations more time to get vaccinated,” said Patrick Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority.

Allen says the state is able to move up the vaccine timeline two weeks early because more and more doses are coming in from the federal government and counties and health providers are making progress vaccinating seniors.

Granum is ready for her shot. She plans to jump online and schedule a vaccine appointment as soon as she is allowed.

“I don’t know if it’s a day my kids get to go to school but if it is, I’ll be on the computer right after they leave.”

 Mike Benner | Source: here

Portland Timbers’ 2021 MLS Season Schedule is Set

Portland Timbers
An exterior shot of Providence Park before the Portland Timbers host LAFC in an MLS match on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020. Sean Meagher/Staff

 The 2021 season schedule is set for the Portland Timbers as they begin their 11th season in Major League Soccer.

Portland’s first two games previously had been announced, but on Wednesday MLS revealed the full 34-game schedule. The Timbers open April 18 against the Cascadia-rival Vancouver Whitecaps in Salt Lake City, and their home opener is April 24 against Houston.

The Timbers will take on the rival Seattle Sounders at Providence Park on May 9 and Aug. 15, and then visit the Sounders on Aug. 29. Portland’s other matchups with the Whitecaps are scheduled for at Vancouver on Sept. 10 and in Portland on Oct. 20.

Portland will have three-game homestands twice, in early August and late September, with five consecutive road games sandwiched in between.

At least 10 of the Timbers’ matches will be broadcast nationally. Of the 24 currently set to be broadcast locally, 16 will be on Fox 12 Plus and eight are pegged for Root Sports. Local radio broadcasts for all the games will be on KXTG (750 The Game) and in Spanish on KGDD (93.5 FM/1150 AM).

The Timbers will have a new-look defense this season, and a recovering attack as midfielder Sebastian Blanco and forward Jaroslaw Niezgoda each are coming off of ACL injuries.

Current Oregon Health Authority regulations cap fan attendance at Timbers games to 25% capacity, or about 6,300 fans. Timbers fans will be welcomed back to Providence Park for the first time in more than a year when Portland takes on C.D. Marathón in CONCACAF Champions League play on April 13.

PORTLAND TIMBERS 2021 MLS SCHEDULE

(Home games in bold; all times Pacific)

Sunday, April 18: at Vancouver (in Salt Lake City), 7 p.m. (Root)

Saturday, April 24: vs. Houston, 7:30 p.m. (Fox 12 Plus)

Saturday, May 1: at Dallas, 5 p.m. (Fox 12 Plus)

Sunday, May 9: vs. Seattle, Noon (ABC)

Saturday, May 15: at San Jose, 7 p.m. (Fox 12 Plus)

Saturday, May 22: vs. LA Galaxy, 12:30 p.m. (ABC)

Sunday, May 30: at Philadelphia, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

Saturday, June 19: vs. Kansas City, 7:30 p.m. (Fox 12 Plus)

Wednesday, June 23: at Houston, 5:30 p.m. (Root)

Saturday, June 26: vs. Minnesota, 7:30 p.m. (Root)

Saturday, July 3: at Austin, 6 p.m. (Fox 12 Plus)

Saturday, July 17: vs. Dallas, 7:30 p.m. (Fox 12 Plus)

Wednesday, July 21: vs. LAFC, 7:30 p.m. (Root)

Saturday, July 24: at Minnesota, 5 p.m. (Fox 12 Plus)

Friday, July 30: at LA Galaxy, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

Wednesday, Aug. 4: vs. San Jose, 7:30 p.m. (Root)

Saturday, Aug. 7: vs. Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m. (Root)

Sunday, Aug. 15: vs. Seattle, 5:30 p.m. (FS1)

Wednesday, Aug. 18: at Kansas City, 5:30 p.m. (Fox 12 Plus)

Saturday, Aug. 21: at Austin, 6 p.m. (Fox 12 Plus)

Sunday, Aug. 29: at Seattle, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Friday, Sept. 3: at Houston, 5 p.m. (UniMas)

Friday, Sept. 10: at Vancouver, TBD (Fox 12 Plus)

Wednesday, Sept. 15: vs. Colorado, 7 p.m. (Root)

Sunday, Sept. 19: vs. LAFC, 3 p.m. (FS1)

Saturday, Sept. 25: vs. Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m. (Fox 12 Plus)

Wednesday, Sept. 29: at LAFC, 7 p.m. (FS1)

Sunday, Oct. 3: vs. Miami, TBD (FS1)

Saturday, Oct. 16: at LA Galaxy, 7:30 p.m. (Fox 12 Plus)

Wednesday, Oct. 20: vs. Vancouver, 7 p.m. (Fox 12 Plus)

Saturday, Oct. 23: at Colorado, 6 p.m. (Fox 12 Plus)

Wednesday, Oct. 27: vs. San Jose, 7 p.m. (Fox 12 Plus)

Wednesday, Nov. 3: at Salt Lake, 6:30 p.m. (Root)

Sunday, Nov. 7: vs. Austin, 3 p.m. (Fox 12 Plus)

By 

Article source can be found here.

Hundreds Gather in Portland to Speak Out Against Anti-Asian Hate

Saturday’s vigil was part of a national vigil held in more than 20 cities to honor the victims in Atlanta.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A couple hundred people gathered at Salmon Street Springs along Portland’s waterfront to honor the lives lost in Tuesday’s Atlanta area shootings.

A 21 year-old white male was arrested after shooting and killing 8 people at three different Atlanta businesses. Six of the victims were Asian women.

“It’s a pretty devastating week for us. The hate crime intensifies dramatically over the year,” said Iris Zhao with the Chinese Friendship Association of Portland.

RELATED: These are the victims of the metro Atlanta spa shootings

Zhao, along with Hardy Li of Chinese American United, helped organize Saturday’s vigil. Voices were amplified over a loudspeaker, speaking out after the Asian community has been the targets of an increasing number of bias crimes and racist incidents over the last year.

“We need to show our solidarity.” Li said in front of the crowd. “We want to unite everybody. Got to stand up against hate crimes.”

The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, tracked reported hate crimes in 2019 and 2020 in the 16 largest cities in America. They found that anti-Asian hate crimes increased by nearly 150% last year compared to the year before.

RELATED: Two hate crimes against Asian Americans that Portland’s DA is looking at right now

Xi Wei and Xuijun Tan, both international students from China studying at Portland State University, came to the vigil.

“The recent incidents towards Asian women makes me really sick and feels like we need to speak up and we need to stand up and support our community,” Tan said.

“We heard about the shootings, and that was devastating, and we wanted to support our community. Even though we are international students, we are part of the Asian community.” Wei said.

In Multnomah County, authorities received 271 reports of bias crimes last year. So far this year, they’ve received 61, which is on pace with last year.

This includes all bias crimes. The majority were race-related. More than half the reports involved Black victims, but Asian victims reported the second-highest number of race-related bias crimes in Multnomah County, with 42 since the beginning of 2020.

“Even though it hasn’t happened to you, it could,” Zhao said, “If you ever get mistreated or bullied, what are you gonna do? If you’re not standing up right now, this could continue happening.”

If you are the victim of a bias crime or you are witnessing one, immediately call 911. If you are the victim of a bias crime and the suspect is no longer present or if you have information about a bias crime committed in the past, call the non-emergency line at 503-823-3333.

RELATED: 11 Asian-owned Portland businesses vandalized in the past month

 Devon Haskins

Source article here.


As an Asian woman, the shooting in Atlanta and the ongoing crime surrounding Asian Americans has affected me deeply. It saddens me that people can hold so much hate in their hearts for a particular group of people. I worry about my elderly father potentially becoming a victim of someone’s rage. We have to come together and support each other, not tear each other down because of some false narratives during the start of the pandemic.

-Sara Matsuzaki, 4th generation Japanese-American (yonsei)

Hotels with Ties to Women’s History

March is Women’s History Month. It’s a time to give women the accolades they deserve. For sure there’s herstory when it comes to women and hotels. Here are some of the hotels that have unique ties to women and celebrate their achievements.

Hotel Metropolitan, Paducah, Kentucky

Talk about moxie. In 1908 Maggie Steed, an African American woman built the Hotel Metropolitan to accommodate Black travelers during segregation. After being turned away because she was a woman, the 24-year-old widow used her late husband’s name to open the hotel. It was the first owned and operated hotel in Paducah by and for Blacks. It was much beloved by iconic guests like Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Ike and Tina Turner, and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall to name just a few. The Hotel Metropolitan was listed in the legendary “Green Book” as a safe haven for Blacks. Today, the restored hotel is a museum with tours available by appointment.

C. Baldwin, Houston

The 2019 addition to Houston’s hotel scene is named after the “Mother of Houston” Charlotte Baldwin Allen. She is honored for her trailblazing spirit. She was a developer, cattle rancher, businesswoman and philanthropist. She married Augustus Chapman Allen, a real estate speculator who co-founded Houston with his brother. The couple separated in 1850, he left town and she stayed. Charlotte became the primary financial driver of Houston’s construction industry. She donated countless public land, even though as a woman she didn’t legally own any herself, including what would become the first city hall. The hotel has a female GM and showcases interiors by two high-profile, women-lead design firms. You can’t miss the enormous portrait of Charlotte near the hotel’s reception desk.

Hermitage Hotel, Nashville, Tennessee

The Hermitage was a hotspot for suffragist activity. According to the hotel’s website, during the historic hotel’s earliest years women were not permitted in the Oak Bar. Their place was the Loggia, a sun-filled salon steps above the lobby (and now called the Veranda). Here, as in other parlors across the country, it was customary to socialize over tea. And, more: Such gatherings helped propel the suffrage movement. In May 1920, the Tennessee League of Women Voters was formed in the Loggia. As efforts to ratify the 19th Amendment accelerated, the afternoon tea became a campaign event.

On August 18, 1920, the Tennessee General Assembly passed the ratification for the 19th Amendment, giving the amendment the 36th––and final––state necessary for ratification. Just blocks from the state capitol, both pro- and anti-suffrage groups headquartered at the hotel for six weeks leading up to the final vote. Its 250 guest rooms and suites, lobby, meeting rooms, and dining room were filled-to-overflowing with pro- and anti-campaigners. They called it “The War of the Roses.” The anti-ratification forces, led by women wearing red roses, were squared off against the yellow-rose-wearing pro-suffrage campaigners.

Viewing the hotel’s private collection of historic artifacts that date back to the 1920s is a must. The hotel launched a Yellow Rose Tea for the month of March to celebrate Women’s History Month.

The Martha Washington Hotel & Spa, Abingdon, Virginia

Before the Civil War this building, now a hotel, was an all-women’s college called Martha Washington College, named after First Lady Martha Washington. The college paved the way for women’s careers in nursing and other professions. The school closed in 1932 and reopened in 1935 as a hotel.

Hotel Figueroa, Los Angeles, California

Kudos to the Hotel Figueroa. It broke a glass ceiling in 1926 as it was founded, financed and operated entirely by women for women. It was a respite for women travelers. The Figueroa hired Maude Bouldin, the first female hotel manager in America. She helped champion women’s causes and was pivotal in the hotel being civic-minded. The hotel hosted events and meetings from organizations like the Women’s Law Enforcement Committee of Southern California, the California League of Women Voters, the Women’s International League, and the Business Women’s Legislative Council. Women regarded the Figueroa as a place where they were free to speak their truth be it in the coffee shop, lounges, or during press conferences and rallies about art, activism, racism and social change. Bouldin’s portrait hangs in the hotel’s reception area.

Lafayette Hotel, Buffalo, New York

The Lafayette opened in 1904. It had the distinction of being designed by Louise Blanchard Bethune, the first woman member of the American Institute of Architects to have her own firm––which was a huge deal back then. Even after renovations, her creative touch remains, be it the large, arched windows of the Lafayette Brewing Company and the Crystal Dining Room at the back of the hotel, for example.

The Evelyn Hotel, New York City

You’ll find The Evelyn in the trendy NoMad neighborhood that has quite a history. In 1903 when the hotel was originally designed by William Birkmire, the area was named Tin Pan Alley and was the epicenter of the music industry with Broadway and vaudeville performers, musicians, and songwriters, including George Gershwin, ever present. The hotel opened in 1905 as Hotel Broztell. In 1992 it was named the Gershwin. After major renovations it reopened in 2017 with a name change as a tribute to Evelyn Nesbit. She was born in the late 1880s in Pennsylvania. She ventured to New York as a teenager to pursue her showbiz dream. She became a chorus girl, actress and a model for noted artists and fashion photographers. She is immortalized as a “Gibson girl” by artist Charles Dana Gibson. Her likeness adorned magazine ads, calendars, souvenirs and more.

Inn at Hastings Park, Lexington, Massachusetts

The Inn at Hastings Park is a short distance from where the Revolutionary War started. Innkeeping was an important aspect of Lexington’s history, which inspired owner Trisha Pérez Kennealy to combine the town’s history and its notable women into the inn.

Inspiration for the inn’s name comes from Maria Cary Hastings, a philanthropist who lived in Lexington in the 19th century. Maria donated the money necessary to start a library and insisted that it be open without charge to all who lived in Lexington. She supported the library throughout her life, which was named the Cary Library after her. Maria also ran Lexington’s Garden Club, which was the first in the U.S. This club provides a valuable service to the community by maintaining and supplying plant material for public spaces at many locations, and since its creation in 1876, it’s been primarily run by women. Hastings Park, across from the inn, was created and named in her memory.

The main building of the inn is housed in what was the Dana Home, which operated as an independent residence for seniors for more than 90 years. A portrait of Ellen Dana, the benefactor of the Dana Home, hangs in the inn’s living room.

The Duniway Portland, A Hilton Hotel, Portland, Oregon

There’s a story behind the hotel’s name. At the age of 18, Abigail braved the trail to Oregon and became a champion for social injustices and women’s rights, including the right to vote. She owned a newspaper that frequently published groundbreaking articles promoting free speech and human rights issues. Taking que from Abigail, The Duniway celebrates the artistic, creative and independent nature of Portland.

The Alida, Savannah, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Savannah, Georgia

The boutique hotel on the riverfront was named after Alida Harper Fowlkes, a local entrepreneur who worked to preserve the city’s heritage. As a young woman, she opened a handful of curated shops with goods supplied by merchants coming in and out of the harbors. She ran restaurants and restored many of Savannah’s homes and buildings, making a career by investing in what others abandoned and bringing the architecture of the city vibrantly back to life. During a time when most women stayed home, Alida’s is deemed “one of the most successful Savannah women of the 20th century.”

The Crawford Hotel, Denver, Colorado

The Crawford in Crawford Hotel is for urban preservationist Dana Crawford. She earned the honor for her help in revitalizing downtown Denver and creating the popular LoDo district. In 2014, it was Crawford who spearheaded the efforts behind the $54 million upgrade of Denver Union Station, the legendary downtown train station that went from being a memory to a transit center with more than a dozen locally owned restaurants, bars, shops as well as the hotel. She wanted Union Station to be “Denver’s living room––a place where both visitors and locals gather in a beautiful place with stunning architecture.”

Article by Sheryl Nance-Nash. It can be found here.

What Might the Future of Live Music Look Like in Portland?

Advocates hope venues will rethink their profit models and center young, diverse talent when the COVID haze clears.

Portland music
Sotaè, Veana Baby, and Rain Ezra performing at Columbia Park. IMAGE: COURTESY CAROLINA NASCIMENTO-TOUTAN

Last summer, after Congress introduced the Save Our Stages Act to create grants for shuttered music venues, fans across the country wrote 2.1 million letters to their representatives asking them to support the bill. The National Independent Venue Association tallied the number of letters from specific jurisdictions, and the result? Oregonians wrote more than anyone else in the country. While the Oregon Shakespeare Festival received the largest grant from the $50 million in federal CARES Act funds distributed in the state, Portland music venues also saw a solid chunk of that money.

“Portland is a music city. Nashville didn’t come through and write millions of letters to their representatives,” says Jim Brunberg, vice president of NIVA and co-owner of Revolution Hall and Mississippi Studios (with just a little exaggeration). “Portland did.”

Now, with COVID keeping venues closed for the foreseeable future, some local experts say the Portland music scene has an opportunity to revisit its priorities when the pandemic ends. The major theme? Loop in young people, and center talent.

In 2015, André Middleton founded Friends of Noise, an organization that hopes to create an all-ages venue centered on young musicians and sound engineers. Last summer, Friends of Noise lobbied the city for CARES funding to create such a venue. It didn’t work out, as funds were already spoken for. Instead, the organization, which in pre-COVID times ran music business and sound engineering workshops for teenagers, has continued to act as a sort of talent agency for emerging musicians. Over the summer, it produced six concerts at local parks featuring young talent (all of whom the organization paid) and did pro bono sound production for about 20 Black Lives Matter protests in the metro area.

There are currently no small all-ages venues in the city. One of the barriers to keeping these clubs open is the labyrinth of rules that regulate alcohol sales in Oregon. Larger venues, like the Roseland and the Crystal Ballroom, have often struck a compromise where adults could buy alcohol if they stood in a specific area. But Middleton argues the business model of most venues, where alcohol sales are a profit center and the entertainers just a hook to draw people in, is fundamentally flawed.

“I would love it if Portland could have an arts venue where the sale of alcohol was secondary to creating a venue for the enjoyment of the artists,” Middleton says.

One option is a public-private partnership, or a local tax subsidizing venues specifically. Ultimately, Middleton wants to open a community venue in East Portland led by musicians color. “Obviously people of color are part of the music ecosystem in Portland, but they don’t get the profits that it generates,” he says.

Meara McLaughlin, executive director of advocacy group Music Portland, says new music business models might include VIP events or subscription services. She also notes the Centers for Disease Control is telegraphing that live music events should have firmer start and end times to allow for cleaning, which could have the unintended benefit of making them more accessible to audiences young and old who need to get up early for work or school. And in the near future, she says, touring isn’t going to be a possibility, so all live music will be local. That means Portlanders need to take extra care to support the local scene. If our letter writing is anything to go on, there’s plenty of reason to believe we will.

By Christen McCurdy

The article source can be found here.

25 Most Affordable Neighborhoods in the Portland Metro Area

An increasingly sought-after characteristic on the part of metro-area buyers has been affordability.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Since the Hottest ‘Hoods project began several years ago, the Business Journal has highlighted the ZIP codes with the most home sales, the fastest-selling homes and, of course, those with the highest-priced homes — measuring all as indicators of residential desirability.

However, an increasingly sought-after characteristic on the part of metro-area buyers has been affordability, something the region once prided itself on compared to other large West Coast cities.

SEE SLIDESHOW: 25 most affordable neighborhoods in the Portland metro area

Therefore, we’ve turned the Hottest ‘Hoods project on its head to highlight the ZIP codes where first-time homebuyers and lower-income buyers might have a better shot at finding a home they can afford. The data is based on 2020 sales data from the Regional Multiple Listing Service (RMLS) and property tax rates obtained from SmartAsset’s Property Tax Calculator.

To do so, we equally weighted the average sale price, the median sale price and the number of homes sold in 2020, along with the relevant county’s property tax rate multiplied by the median sale price. Ranking ties were broken using the lower average sale price.

RELATED: US adds a strong 379,000 jobs in hopeful sign for economy

Of course, a lot of other factors may influence a home’s affordability, such as mortgage interest rates, utility bills, energy efficiency and cost to commute to work, but the index we’ve created gives one a good idea of some of the most affordable places to live in and around Portland.

Despite the pandemic and associated economic recession, home prices have generally continued to rise in the Portland region. According to RMLS data, the average median sale price in 100 metro-area ZIP codes increased 7.8% last year to $459,034. And according to Realtor.com, the median listing price for the metro area reached $525,000 in January of this year, up 9.2% from January of last year when it was $480,748.

RELATED: New Portland economic report shows pandemic has hurt low-income, BIPOC and women the most

recent report by the Oregon Employment Department, examined whether the pandemic made the state’s real estate market any more affordable. In it, regional economist Damon Runberg noted: “In an unexpected turn we have seen a large increase in the demand for housing during this pandemic recession. The high demand has led to historically low inventories of residential real estate for many communities across the state. High demand and low inventory is leading to dramatic home price appreciation, further increasing concerns around housing affordability.”

Stories from KGW reporters:

https://youtu.be/xBqkjFmy9cQ

 Brandon Sawyer (Portland Business Journal)

Source: here