Portland’s Most Obsession-Worthy Dishes in 2021

Marvelous yet simple French toast from Sweedeedee


What are the best dishes of the year? The answer is highly personal—it’s an art, not a science. Consider this: Which dishes are you still dreaming about the next day? Did anything change your perception of what something familiar can be, be it French toast, a tostada, or the humble green bean? What broke your food brain—flying-ant mayo, a fish-sauce pork patty, wine lees ice cream? What are you telling your friends they Must Eat Right Now, hell or high water? 

PoMo food writers Karen Brooks and Katherine Chew Hamilton have reached their conclusions. They might surprise you.

Karen’s Picks

Best Holy Shit Bite: French Toast at Sweedeedee 

The famed corn cakes are RIP. Moan if you like. I’m still wailing. But at this reborn North Portland gem, a new morning glory has risen: French toast in full beast mode. Behold, three triangles of custard-soaked bread, hot-seared until every inch is thunderously toasty and charred. Chunky house berry jam, seeds and all, erupts over the top like a rogue berry cobbler. The whole plate shimmies with raw, smoky Okinawan sugar beads scattered everywhere. And yet, nothing is too sweet. Killer. 5202 N Albina Ave, sweedeedee.com

Sandwich of the Year: Soft-Shell Crab Sandwich at Scotch Lodge 

A showstopper of a soft-shell crab sandwich


What makes a sandwich worth a drive across town, something so good you taste it in your sleep? Flavors that make the neurons bristle—sweet, heat, funk. acid? Absolutely. But textural contrasts seal the deal—that blissful moment when hot/cool/creamy/crispy delights are revealed through soft, teeth-sinking bread. And then there’s life’s eternal ingredient: Kewpie mayo. All of this comes together, improbably, in a bumping whiskey cave—uber-crispy soft-shell crabs, two per sandwich, protruding claws and all, on a cloud of milk bread. Inside is a flavor/contrast double-down: plentiful fried shallots and a burst of white kimchi slaw bound in Kewpie, pickled shallots, and hot Chinese mustard. Portland’s next great sandwich is here. 215 SE Ninth Ave, scotchlodge.com

When Green Beans Ruled Portland: Haricots Verts at St. Jack 

The humble green bean takes the spotlight at St. Jack

Never have I ever witnessed people injected with dog-drooling excitement over the prospect of string beans. Until last summer. That’s when a dowdy icon of chlorophyll became a gorgeous object of desire, leading otherwise sane people to mumble, “Have you tried the haricots verts at St. Jack?” Count me among them. Under the restaurant’s newly appointed Paris-fresh chef John Denison, the slender French beans were swirled, tornado-like, around an eye of cream-thick Brillat-Savarin cheese, which we stirred in like a decadent, DIY cheese sauce. For winter, the kitchen—one of the year’s best —is whirling Brie into an endive gratin. 1610 NW 23rd Ave, stjackpdx.com

Best Batting Average: Oma’s Hideaway 

Caramelized spare rib tips from Oma’s Hideaway


Dish for dish, no place had more home runs than this Chinese Malaysian–meets–stoner food menu. Every week since opening in July, when we called it Portland’s Most Exciting New Restaurant, Oma’s drops a new infatuation: intricate wonton mee noodles; exuberant spare rib tips enveloped in dark fish sauce caramel; sambal-coated prawns, heads and all; a blazing steak tartare rethink, capped with candied anchovies. That doesn’t count the aptly named Oma-Zing burger or the curry fries, supercharged with Tang. If you haven’t tried Oma’s roti yet, we can’t help you. 3131 Division St, omashideaway.com

The Breakfast Sandwich that Will Take Over the World: Matta 

Move over, McDonald’s

In another life, Richard Le is aproned up in a corporate fast-food lab, getting paid a gazillion bucks to hypnotize brains, wallets, and Bill Oakley. Instead, with his B Boy bravado and Vietnamese -American lens, Le has slayed the fast-food giants … from a food cart. The building blocks of his breakfast sando are familiar, but every element is flavor-jacked, with its own mission statement—the fish-sauce pork smashburger, a just-runny egg, the crackle of curry-spiced hash browns tucked inside, and a lime-green pandan bun made by Le’s baker wife, Sophia. It’s a marvel of swoon and ratio, backed by cheese drip, hot honeychives, and đặc biệt sauce (cart-made ketchup and spicy mayo). Even Le agrees, noting after he finished one on a lunch break recently: “Fuck, that is delicious.” 4311 NE Prescott St, mattapdx.com

One Dinner to Top Them All: Berlu  

Nguyen’s creations, like the shallot cake, often straddle the line between dinner and dessert.


Some of my favorite meals this year fell on my soul like a bear hug. But this one was pure excitement, as chef Vince Nguyen charted a new direction for Vietnamese cooking—for himself and for us. Not every course works on his new Vietnamese-forward tasting menus. But the highs are plentiful, led by fresh ideas and combinations not seen before—some of them featuring cakes and custards that skirt the line between dinner and dessert. I’m still thinking about those baby turmeric-stained banh xeo (rice pancakes) presented like shrimp ceviche tacos and shrouded in a thousand sprouts and scallions. This is the place to watch, in Portland and beyond. 605 SE Belmont St, berlupdx.com 

Katherine’s Picks

The Dish that Inspired Childlike Wonder: Kanpachi and Chicatana Tostada at República


When’s the last time you opened a smoke-filled glass dome to find a kanpachi tostada inside? Lauro Romero’s cheffy play on the classic antojito was a high point on my favorite tasting menu of the year, not just extremely delicious but bold and dramatic. Romero deploys ingredients in multiple creative ways—the seasonal flying ants, a delicacy in Mexico, are both ground into an aioli artfully dabbed on top and used to smoke the kanpachi. With a constantly changing tasting menu boasting courses like this—plus things like stone fruit ceviche and bone marrow caramel with mezcal-soaked apples—it’s easy to see why República is PoMo’s Restaurant of the Year 2021. I can’t wait until next year’s flying ant season. 721 NW Ninth Ave #175, republicapdx.square.site 

A Feat of Timing and Texture: Cochinita Pibil Panuchos at Loncheria Los Mayas

Panuchos and a taco from Loncheria Los Mayas

When a panucho craving hits, it hits hard—especially if you’re familiar with the pinnacle of panuchos served at Loncheria Los Mayas. This weekdays-only cart perfects this dish where timing is of the essence: the handmade corn tortillas are plucked from the deep-fryer, then quickly stuffed with creamy black beans and sealed while the tortilla is still soft. The slow-cooked cochinita pibil is the best I’ve had in Portland, bathed in a velvety, citrusy sauce and topped with fiery pickled onions. When the panucho meets the cochinita, it’s a melding of crisp textures, melt-in-your-mouth meat, and bright avocado and onion—something that transcends the sum of each of its (very good) components. 4212 NE Prescott St, 503-754-3059

Best Drinking Snack: Rose Ddukbokki at 1st Street Pocha

Rose ddukbokki and corn cheese

I hauled ass to Beaverton immediately when I saw this menu item alongside 1st Street Pocha’s main draw, the fried chicken: rose ddukbokki, a cream-sauced version of the classic rice cakes seen in Squid Game, with the addition of bacon and hot dogs. It’s a different beast from the original, maybe more along the lines of a chewy carbonara with the added nostalgia of crispy-edged hot dog slices. Why stop there? Add a handmade Korean corn dog, some chicken wings, and the requisite soju and beer. 12590 SW First St Suite B, Beaverton, 503-567-1322

Most Memorable Finish to a Themed Tasting Menu: Wine Lees Ice Cream at Verdant

Wine lees ice cream is a surprisingly satisfying end to a wine-themed tasting menu

When I heard that Verdant, the new pop-up by former Holdfast chef Will Preisch at Abbey Road Farm in Carlton, was doing a tasting lunch featuring Abbey Road’s wines throughout the menu, I didn’t expect that the course that dazzled my taste buds would be the dessert—much less a wine ice cream. Nor did I expect that wine lees, a byproduct of the winemaking process that’s often thrown away, could be so tasty—hints of grape, a little yeasty funk, and a surprising savoriness combined with a super-creamy custard. Another surprise: the wine gelee on top, which I had pegged as a pretentious annoyance, was bouncy and bright, like one of those lychee jelly candies. Little frozen wine grapes as garnish tied the whole thing together—an unexpected finish to a thoughtful, must-try tasting menu. 10501 NE Abbey Rd, Carlton, abbeyroadfarm.com

Winter weather season returning to Portland area, how to be prepared


PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) – Winter weather is returning to Oregon this week, and officials said this should serve as a reminder to prepare for more ahead.

This week’s weather is forecasted to bring snow, ice and cold temperatures in higher elevations. Though it won’t be like the ice storm in February of this year, Drew Stefani, a supervisor at Pearl Hardware, said it’s never too late to prepare.

“It’s always good to have the things before you need them because whenever we get ice or snow we get a huge run on ice melt, or things like that and it’s hard to get it,” Stefani said.

To save money on heating bills and to keep your house warm, seal windows and doors so cold air can’t get in.

“Take a loop around your house inside and out,” Stefani said. “Find any potential leaks for warm air and potential inlets for cold air.”

She also said many winter items can be used for years. So, investing now can have a long-term payoff.

“You can get a shovel and use it for years and get it for whenever,” Stefani said. “You can get ice melt and it can sit for years. Just having that and being prepared (is) super helpful.”

The most bought item during winter at Stefani’s store is ice melt. She said when there is a big winter storm, her store sells out fast. She also said the supply chain crisis is impacting Pearl Hardware. Preparing now is better than waiting the last minute.

“When it comes to something very specific to a season, fans and heaters are usually tricky because you can’t buy them all year,” Stefani said.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is also reminding the public to start preparing your car for winter roads. Dylan Rivera, a spokesperson for PBOT, said drivers should start carrying chains in their cars. If possible, also invest in snow tires.

Rivera said the Portland area can have different microclimates. Weather in downtown Portland could he different than in the West Hills. He said chains aren’t the only thing drivers need.

“Everyone needs to have and emergency kit in the trunk of your car with a few bottles of water, a warm blanket,” Rivera said. “Those snow chains for your vehicle, some jumper cables, and other critical supplies. First aid kit, things you might need, if you do find yourself stranded by the side of the road.”

Rivera also wants to remind the public to familiarize themselves with PBOT’s snowplow routes. He said critical roads for public transit and first responders get plowed. Drivers can check live snowplow routes on their Winter Weather Center website.

Once you’re prepared, both Rivera and Stefani said check in on your neighbors, especially the most vulnerable like the elderly.

“Just look out for one another,” Stefani said. “Be a community.”

Pending home sales surge in October — will the new COVID-19 Omicron variant outperform the real estate market?

Number: Rapid increase in contract conclusions

The number of homebuyers who signed home purchase contracts in October increased significantly, far exceeding economists’ expectations.

The National Association of Real Estate Agents reported on Monday that pending home sales increased 7.5% in October compared to September. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch predicted a 0.7% increase in pending home sales in October.

Compared to last year, pending sales were down 1.4%. This reflects how much colder home buying activity has been since the rapid pace of 2020.

The Pending Home Sales Index measures real estate transactions that have been contracted for previously owned homes but have not yet been sold and are benchmarked to 2001 contracting activities. This index provides insight into direction. Second-hand home sales will take months to come, based on closed transactions.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, said, “Inspired by soaring rents and expected rises in mortgage rates, consumers with a strong financial base will sooner or later sign contracts to buy homes. I have. ” report. “This solid purchase is a testament to the relatively high demand, as it occurs when inventories are still significantly low.”

According to the report, sales increased in all regions, driven by a 11.8% increase in the Midwest. Yun added that the report consolidates the forecast that existing home sales will exceed 6 million annually in 2021.

Big picture

The October Pending Home Sales Report may help explain some of the content of the October Existing Home Sales Report released last week. Sales of reserved homes declined in September, but sales of existing homes increased in October. Many economists were surprised by the increase in existing home sales in October. This is because the pending home sales report is generally an indicator of existing home sales, as it records when the contract was signed and existing home sales reflect when the transaction was closed.

Sales are still fast-paced, especially in the fall, but most economists expect the momentum to slow next year, especially if mortgage rates rise as expected.

In the short term, the future trajectory of the housing market may depend on what happens with the omicron mutant of the virus that causes COVID-19. It is not yet known how contagious the new variant is and whether it increases the likelihood of more severe cases of COVID-19 that can lead to hospitalization or death. If the variant is shown to be a greater threat, and if it circumvents the protection provided by the vaccine, policies aimed at controlling infection rates may be reintroduced.

The real estate industry is adapting in many ways to provide more flexibility, so it is unlikely that a slowdown similar to what happened at the beginning of the pandemic will occur. However, if the new variant emphasizes consumer confidence, some prospective buyers may infer the decision to buy a home again.

What they are saying

George Ratiu, Economic Research Manager at Realtor.com, said: “The real estate market has left the overheated spring of 2021 as an increase in the number of homeowners ready to move forward with a delayed plan for the pandemic has boosted new listings and curbed price spikes.”

Pending home sales surge in October — will the new COVID-19 Omicron variant outperform the real estate market?

Source link  Pending home sales surge in October — will the new COVID-19 Omicron variant outperform the real estate market?

Portland exploring new Willamette River park on east side

A Willamette River park could be built beside the new Burnside Bridge if the design could include access ramps.

COURTESY RENDERING: HUMAN ACCESS PROJECT - The nonprofit Human Access Project has plans for a ramp leading from the new Burnside Bridge to a proposed waterfront park. New terraces and trees would allow people to enjoy the water, but a ramp for people with accessibility issues would really make it popular, claims the group. Portland City Council voted Nov. 17 to spend $20,000 on a cost analysis, which is essential to get Federal and state grants.

COURTESY RENDERING: HUMAN ACCESS PROJECT – The nonprofit Human Access Project has plans for a ramp leading from the new Burnside Bridge to a proposed waterfront park. New terraces and trees would allow people to enjoy the water, but a ramp for people with accessibility issues would really make it popular, claims the group. Portland City Council voted Nov. 17 to spend $20,000 on a cost analysis, which is essential to get Federal and state grants.

The Portland City Council voted Wednesday, Nov. 17, to explore the idea of a new waterfront mini-park on the east bank of the Willamette River between the Burnside and Morrison Bridges.

The council voted to spend $20,000 of its Budget Monitoring Process money on a cost analysis of the plan put forward by the Human Access Project, which has already built beaches and a swimming dock on the river.

Multnomah County is currently working on replacing the Burnside Bridge in the first half of this decade. The Human Access Project’s plan asks for the new bridge to be connected by a ramp to the esplanade for wheeled and pedestrian access. However, current plans only show stairs and an elevator.

Willie Levenson, HAP’s Ringleader, told the Tribune that this part of the esplanade might have large stone steps, like bleachers, leading down to the water. Such terrace designs are popular worldwide, including on the Rhône river in Lyon, France, beside the Marco Polo Tower in Hamburg, Germany, and downtown Boise, Idaho. The rough design calls for new trees and a sound barrier to block out noise from I-5, which is just tens of yards away to the east.

The Human Access Project was behind Poet’s Beach under the west end of the Marquam Bridge and Duckworth Dock, a swimming dock just north of the east end of the Burnside Bridge.

But as Levenson said, with this one, everything rests on the ramp. “If we don’t have a ramp, there’s no point in having a park,” he said.

COURTESY PHOTO: HUMAN ACCESS PROJECT  - The Human Access Project proposes building a waterfront park with terraces leading to the Willamette River when the Burnside Bridge is replaced, if a ramp is added from the bridge. The current stairs are visible at left.

COURTESY PHOTO: HUMAN ACCESS PROJECT – The Human Access Project proposes building a waterfront park with terraces leading to the Willamette River when the Burnside Bridge is replaced, if a ramp is added from the bridge. The current stairs are visible at left.

Jan Campbell, the Board President of Disability Rights Oregon and a HAP Board Member, uses a motorized wheelchair to get around. She said she would happily take transit from her west side home to the new Burnside Bridge, then go down a ramp to an accessible park by the water. “There are ways we can get down now, by the Vera (Katz) statue, that’s the way I go. But the elevator is no longer working in the area near where they would build this. Many years ago, there was a working elevator, but it just wasn’t maintained.”

Campbell added that elevators, such as those used by TriMet at Hollywood, are not ideal.

“They break down, people use them for many different things, and they are just not safe.”

She said that the goal is to make the river accessible to more people. A ramp would be ideal for her, but other disabilities would have to be considered. “Ramps can be difficult for people with limited mobility and vision, with skateboards coming down at them. We’d hope there’d be some type of barrier separating pedestrians from other users.”

Commissioner Mingus Mapps, who manages the Bureau of Environmental Services, introduced the amendment to spend the money. Mapps lavished praised the project at the tail end of a council meeting on Nov. 10. “Just $20,000 could be a catalyst for fundamentally reimagining and improving Portland’s Eastbank Esplanade,” Mapps told his fellow councilors. He sold the plan as an accessibility issue, with the ramp making it easy for people in wheelchairs to access the esplanade at this point, and as an environmental one, given that Human Access Project strives to repair natural habitats along the river. “This bridge replacement project is also an opportunity to reimagine our waterfront so that that space is greener,” Mapps said.

He explained that in order to be considered any Federal infrastructure dollars for the project, the city would have to figure out the cost first.

COURTESY PHOTO: HUMAN ACCESS PROJECT - A similar terraced waterfront park on the Rhone in Lyon, France. Portland's Human Access Project promises something similar on the east bank of the Willamette River between the Burnside and Morrison Bridges.

COURTESY PHOTO: HUMAN ACCESS PROJECT – A similar terraced waterfront park on the Rhone in Lyon, France. Portland’s Human Access Project promises something similar on the east bank of the Willamette River between the Burnside and Morrison Bridges.

Each agency had its say on who would be responsible for a project involving Environmental, Parks, Transportation, and Multnomah County.

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty also supported the cost analysis while warning that her bureau, PBOT, did not have extra money for the bridge. “If anybody’s been up to Vancouver, Washington lately and seen the beautiful waterfront they have, I continue to come back to Portland and say, ‘Why not us?’ This will give us an opportunity to start imagining what life would look like if Portlanders got to enjoy the riverfront and they didn’t have to own an expensive condo in order to enjoy access to the water on a regular basis.”

Hardesty added, “Human Access Project is my hero. They hear no, and they never hear no. They just go and talk to somebody else. This is a great way to spend $20,000 of one-time money.”

Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio said, “I really love the Human Access Project and all their community-centered work, so I completely support their visioning. I just want to state, too, that it’s a separate thought process than what Parks has been doing, in concert with PBOT and the bridge, but we’re certainly open to seeing where their project visioning leads.”

Wednesday’s vote was part of the fall supplemental budget process, which allocated more than $18 million toward addressing homelessness, $7 million to public safety and $2 million to boost the economy. The money came from a $62 million surplus generated by higher than expected business license taxes.



Portland to build $23M, 60-unit housing project for homeless

The new development in the Kenton neighborhood is a partnership between the region’s housing authority, Home Forward, and the Urban League of Portland.

COURTESY: HOME FORWARD - A rendering shows the design of the Hattie Redmond Apartments as viewed from North Interstate Avenue in Portland.

COURTESY: HOME FORWARD – A rendering shows the design of the Hattie Redmond Apartments as viewed from North Interstate Avenue in Portland.

The region’s housing authority and the Urban League of Portland are partnering on a new affordable housing project for people of color experiencing chronic homelessness.

Shovels hit the dirt at the future site of the Hattie Redmond Apartments, 7688 N. Interstate Ave., last month in Portland’s Kenton neighborhood. The four-story, 34,000-square-foot project will offer 60 units of housing for a total cost of $23.4 million.

Nkenge Harmon Johnson, executive director of the Urban League, praised the development as a way to “create place, meaning and vibrant community for Black Portlanders.”

“There’s a real need for affordable housing here,” added Home Forward director Michael Buonocore, “and a huge demand for housing that serves people of color who comprise a small percentage of the general population but disproportionately experience higher rates of homelessness.”

Blueprints call for 60 studio-sized apartments, each featuring a bathroom, bedroom area and “linear kitchen” with a sink, range, refrigerator and microwave. They will be priced for the budget of a person making 30% of the area median income, which would be roughly $18,500 a year for a single person household.

SERA Architects said the L-shaped building was given a “biophilic” design replete with calming geometries, many windows, a brick veneer and a gable roof fitting for the adjacent single-family neighborhood. Building amenities include a rooftop terrace, outdoor patio, computer, conference, community and workout rooms, as well as laundry and bike facilities. Limited parking will be available for building staff, as residents are not expected to own cars.

Home Forward offered relocation assistance to residents of a pair of duplexes and a squat four-plex built in 1945, which must be demolished as the new building sprouts along the bustling Yellow Line MAX tracks.

Funding sources include $4.5 million in Metro bond funds, $9 million from the Oregon Housing and Community Services agency, $1 million in deferred development fees and $6 million from low income housing tax credit equity, per state documents.

Following the creation of Urban’s League supportive housing program Project HAVEN in 2016, the Hattie Redmond will provide on-site case management services such as “trauma-informed, culturally specific and client-centered” care, according to a news release.

“Meeting resident needs is our overarching priority,” Home Forward senior project manager Leslie Crehan said. “People who transition from homelessness need to feel safe and secure, and to have access to amenities that make their life easier.”

Formerly known as the Baldwin project, the development is named for Harriet “Hattie” Redmond, a Black woman who became a champion of the state’s Suffragist movement in the 1880s expanding the right to vote. She died at age 90 in 1952.

COURTESY: HOME FORWARD - Sixty studio apartments are planned for a new affordable housing project in the Kenton neighborhood.

COURTESY: HOME FORWARD – Sixty studio apartments are planned for a new affordable housing project in the Kenton neighborhood.


Analysis finds property owners in Portland’s most diverse, gentrifying areas hardest hit by code violation fines

Overgrown grass near a sidewalk on a residential street

A report from Portland’s city ombudsman found that property complaints and city fines over code violations like overgrown grass disproportionately affect gentrifying areas where residents are vulnerable to displacement. Staten Island Advance/Kristin Dalton

An analysis by a Portland city watchdog found that complaints about property maintenance have been highly concentrated in the city’s most diverse and rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods.

The report from the city ombudsman’s office made public Wednesday showed that neighborhoods with some of the fastest-rising home prices, and those with the most racially diverse residents, tend to also face the most financial consequences for property violations like overgrown grass, trash in a yard or a deteriorating building.

It suggests that the code enforcements could disproportionally affect residents of color and contribute to displacement.

 The city ombudsman’s office collected and analyzed of six years’ worth of maintenance complaints submitted to the Bureau of Development Services between 2013 and 2018. Portland’s enforcement system is primarily complaint-driven, and fines or penalties can be assessed if a resident has run afoul of one of dozens of code requirements. Some address safety concerns like a dangerous or collapsing structure, but others govern maintenance issues like peeling paint or missing siding.

Residents who are found to be in violation of city property rules can face escalating fines or end up with a code enforcement lien attached to the property that’s been deemed out of compliance. That could put the resident at risk of foreclosure.

The analysis showed that the number of property maintenances complaints was higher in neighborhoods with higher percentages of people of color, an increase in median home price between 2013 and 2017, and a larger percentage of the population below the poverty level.

But the number of complaints was lower in neighborhoods where the home cost per square foot was higher, the median household income was higher, and there was greater access to public transit and bike paths.

The ombudsman’s office tracked the number of complaints per 100 households in each of Portland’s 94 neighborhoods. They also tracked the number of liens per 100 households.

The neighborhoods with the highest numbers of complaints were: Woodland Park, with 29.55 complaints per 100 households; Mt. Scott-Arleta, with 23.97; Vernon, with 22.24; Lents, with 20.94; Brentwood-Darlington, with 20.65; Foster-Powell, with 19.43; Portsmouth, with 18.47; and Kenton, with 18.17.

Bridgeton, the Lloyd District, Old Town, Hayden Island, Sunderland and the Pearl District all had zero complaints. Downtown had 0.45 complaints per 100 households, Northwest Heights had 0.99, and Forest Park had 2.

Rebecca Esau, director of the city Bureau of Development Services, and Commissioner Dan Ryan, who oversees the bureau, said in a letter that they agreed with the findings and would begin looking for alternatives to the complaint-driven system. They also said they, along with the Portland Housing Bureau, would look into financial resources to help low-income homeowners with health and safety-related home repairs.

Esau and Ryan said their bureau was already making efforts to address the disparities created by some of the city’s code enforcement fees by loosening the requirements for people to qualify for a lien reduction on their property and by increasing the lien reduction for low income and disabled property owners from 50% to 100%.

They also encouraged low-income residents and homeowners of color to look into various programs the city already offers that assist with home repairs or help pay for them with grants.

The city’s Office of Equity and Human Rights also responded to the report, noting the disparate impact of racist policies on homeowners of color.

“The current report on BDS Property Maintenance illustrates one facet of a systemically oppressed structure connected to home ownership,” wrote Dr. Markisha Webster, director of the Office of Equity and Human Rights. “The Office of Equity respectfully asks City Council to digest the contents of this report and use it to shape the direction of services specific to property maintenance for Black, Indigenous and communities of color in Portland.”

The $300m flip flop: how real-estate site Zillow’s side hustle went badly wrong

Zillow reportedly has about 7,000 homes that it now needs to unload – many for prices lower than it originally paid

Zillow announced that its home-buying division, Offers, has lost over $300m over the last few months.
Zillow announced that its home-buying division, Offers, has lost over $300m over the last few months. Photograph: Andre M Chang/Zuma Press Wire/Rex/Shutterstock
 Online shopping can be dangerous, as the US property website Zillow has belatedly come to realize. While many of us wasted countless hours during the pandemic clicking through real estate listings on Zillow and daydreaming about the sort of pad we’d buy if we had deep pockets, the company was running a side-business, separate from its property searching website, in which it deployed algorithms to help it buy houses themselves and then flip them.

It did a lot of buying, but hasn’t been so great at the selling. This week the company announced that its home-buying division, Offers, had lost more than $300m over the last few months. Offers will now be shut down and about 2,000 people laid off. Zillow reportedly has about 7,000 homes that it now needs to unload; many for prices lower than it originally paid.

You would be forgiven for not knowing that Zillow was even in the business of buying houses. For most of its 15-year history the Seattle-based company focused on publishing online real estate listings. Then, in 2018, its CEO, Richard Barton, started to aggressively move the company into a business known as iBuying. The idea is that algorithms would identify attractive homes to flip; Zillow would buy the home directly from the seller; minor renovations would be made; Zillow would quickly flip the house and pocket a profit. At one point Barton aimed to buy 5,000 homes a month by 2024.

iBuying is a nascent industry. A recent report from Zillow found that the four largest iBuyers – Zillow Offers, RedfinNow, Offerpad and Opendoor – were responsible for just 1% of all US home purchases in the second quarter of 2021. (Although that number goes up to 5% in certain fast-growing markets like Phoenix.) But while it’s still in its infancy, there’s a lot of excitement among tech types about the future of algorithm-powered home buying. “There is an arms race right now of who will become the Amazon of real estate,” a real-estate professor at Columbia University recently told Marketwatch. “That’s why all these companies like Zillow or Redfin want to have everything in house.”

Enormous companies with deep pockets and mounds of data bidding against ordinary people in an already absurd housing market? It sounds like a nightmare for anyone who isn’t a tech investor. And indeed, news of what Zillow has been up to has caused a backlash on social media, largely fuelled by a viral TikTok by a Nevada real-estate agent called Sean Gotcher that claimed iBuyers manipulate the housing market.

Gotcher didn’t explicitly name Zillow but he heavily alluded to them and accused the company of using data harvested from people perusing their dream homes while they are bored on the website. Gotcher said this nameless company then buys a ton of properties in the neighbourhood people are searching for, and overpay for a couple of adjacent properties in order to artificially drive up prices. (Zillow and Redfin have denied doing this and real estate experts have noted they don’t have enough market share for this strategy to work.)

Zillow may not have been explicitly manipulating the market, but it was certainly trying to use technology to outsmart it. In the end, however, the market won. Zillow’s flipping flop should serve as a reassuring reminder that not everything can be automated. There are various reasons why Zillow got burned, including a labour shortage making it difficult to renovate homes. But the biggest issue is that its algorithm simply wasn’t up to snuff. It couldn’t deal with the complexities of pricing in a volatile market and resulted in Zillow overpaying for a lot of property.

While individual homebuyers may not have to compete against Zillow any longer, it’s unlikely that buying a house is going to get any cheaper or easier anytime soon. Those 7,000 houses Zillow is sitting on? Bloomberg reports that they will probably be offloaded to institutional investors like BlackRock rather than regular people. And while Zillow may be ending its iBuying business, the financialization of housing looks set to continue. Big money is gobbling up real estate and leaving many first-time buyers out in the cold.

Source: The Guardian

Written By: Arwa Mahdawi

Date Posted: November 4, 2021

Survey results: Trib readers sound off on fate of Lloyd Center

Source: Pamplin Media

Written By: Dana Haynes  Date: November 05 2021

COURTESY PHOTO: JULIA DEBAEKE - The Lloyd Center with some very empty store spaces in 2019. Mixed-use residential and commercial use, and low- to medium-income housing, led a Portland Tribune survey of best future uses of the site of the Lloyd Center. But about 20 readers want a Major League Baseball stadium.

Mixed-use and low- to medium-income housing led the way, but the skating rink still has its fan base.

COURTESY PHOTO: JULIA DEBAEKE – The Lloyd Center with some very empty store spaces in 2019. Mixed-use residential and commercial use, and low- to medium-income housing, led a Portland Tribune survey of best future uses of the site of the Lloyd Center. But about 20 readers want a Major League Baseball stadium.

Portland Tribune readers were asked about the best use of the space occupied now by the Lloyd Center, after it was announced that a real estate finance trust said it will foreclose on a $110 million loan and redevelop the site.

Earlier this week, an unscientific survey was sent to people who receive the Tribune’s email newsletter. As of Friday, Nov. 5, almost 280 people had responded.

The overwhelming favorite option include a combination of low- and middle-income housing in a mixed-use setting — a combination of residential and commercial space.

And many readers wanted that, plus keeping the skating rink as is.

No two people offered the exact same answer to the open-ended question: “What would be the best use for that building, or that site, should the mall cease to be?” But an estimated 67 people opted for mixed use, with 43 readers — often the same ones — opting for affordable housing.

“It’s time to reimagine the district as a vibrant hub for commerce and housing, in one of the west’s best transportation zones. Let’s be bold!” — Survey respondent

“Instead of mall space, use some space for low-income apartments and training space for the low-income people. Maybe child care so folks could work,” wrote a reader named Colleen.

Another reader, Michele, agreed. “Redevelop for much-needed mix of housing, with supportive services include jobs training, child care on site. It’s time to reimagine the district as a vibrant hub for commerce and housing, in one of the west’s best transportation zones. Let’s be bold!”

A reader named Stanley wrote, “This is an opportunity to create an innovative mixed-use project that should also include affordable housing and some recreational use.”

An estimated 31 readers felt the site would best be used for some combination of homeless shelters, homeless services, or both.

“Should be converted and used to house the homeless instead of pushing them out into local neighborhoods.” said a reader named Billy.

“The entire facility should be converted into housing for Portland’s homeless,” according to a reader named Robert. “It would be safe, warm, and with easy access to city and state social services. It could probably house several hundred homeless in a dormitory setting.”

A reader named Roxane opted for a variation of that. “Not suitable for low-income housing but what about offering all sorts of services to the homeless and addicted and mentally ill people?” she asked.

The next most popular set of options revolved around entertainment. Twenty readers want the site used as a stadium for Major League Baseball — Portland does not have an MLB team, but efforts to lure one here have been ongoing for decades.

At least 24 people asked that the ice-skating rink remain, either as is, or as an outdoor venue.

Six suggested a kind of entertainment destination. “It could be turned into an entertainment/restaurant destination,” wrote an anonymous responder. “Live Nation was considering a music venue there, as was a movie theater group. Combine that with supporting restaurants and I think it could be a winner. In addition, some of the space could be used for housing and office space, but keep the skating rink, and the new spiral stair. Those are icon emblems of the place that used to be.”

An estimated 22 readers feel the best use of the mall is … as a mall.

“Would be so nice to have it remain a shopping destination, as the east side is underserved for shopping,” wrote a reader named Rebecca.

“I think the city of Portland should buy the mall and continue to operate it, using the income to fund city functions, much as the city bought Pittock Mansion and turned it into a park,” wrote Lisa.

The flip side of that: a retail format that isn’t the traditional mall. “Homes and offices sound OK, but a general array of stores: hardware, dry cleaners, dime stores … restaurants must be needed in that community,” wrote Susan. “So why not change it … to something other than a mall?”

Readers also came up with other options:

• Seven seek a new city park.

• Five people want to see senior housing or a retirement community.

• Three suggested turning it into a school.

• And other options, with at least one vote each, included a hub for bike-centric services, a U.S. Post Office, an industrial campus, a cluster of food carts, and space dedicated to nonprofits.

Two readers were adamant that it not become “a new Pearl District.”

And, being an unscientific survey, of course, some readers’ responses ranged from the humorous to the cranky.

“Civic detention center for vagrants and … ‘peaceful protesters’ who loot and use violence to freely express their societal complaints,” wrote one.

“Don’t know and don’t really care as my family will never go there,” wrote Don. “PDX is on such a disastrous path that no one I know goes anywhere there.”

One reader blamed “globalist Zionists” for the closure of Lloyd Center.

And one reader felt the ultimate answer for the mall was to think small.

“Put in a Cheesecake Factory.”

Where to Eat in Portland This Week (Before It Heats Up and After)

Cully Central is a Lao beer bar that turns out dishes you can’t find anywhere else.

1. Miami Nice

2117 NE Oregon St., 818-200-5571, miaminicepdx.com. Noon-9 pm Wednesday-Sunday.

At Miami Nice, you may not immediately realize you’re eating vegan. The croquettas are fried up tightly, and the Cubanito is neatly pressed. Many menu items are versions of street/comfort food that owner Valerie Espinoza loves—with a vegan twist. The chop salad comes with marinated soy curls on top instead of chicken. The dish’s bright yellow sauce draws stares; it’s a mixture of curry, mustard and mayonnaise she worked on to get just right. Other menu items stand out for their Mami-specific flavor, like the Big Papi, which has green olives in the picadillo instead of raisins. The starchy food works well to stave off the high ABV in beers at Culmination Brewing, where Espinoza runs the kitchen.

2. Cool Moon

1105 NW Johnson St., 503-224-2021, coolmoonicecream.com. Noon-10 pm daily.

For conventional ice cream, we’ve long loved Cool Moon best. The chocolate flavors are more Valrhona than Hershey’s, and there remains a solid core of unusual—but consistently creamy—naturally flavored and well-balanced offerings. Definitely order the kulfi, redolent of cardamom and rose water, Thai iced tea and Mexican-influenced horchata cookie.

3. Nacheaux

4765 NE Fremont St., 971-319-1134, nacheauxpdx.com. 4 pm-8 pm Wednesday-Thursday, noon-8 pm Friday, 10 am-4 pm Saturday-Sunday.

At Anthony Brown’s relatively new brick and mortar—formerly a garishly teal-colored food truck—, Mexican favorites get hitched to Southern food and Cajun-Creole flavors. You can find “Mexicajun” food in both Louisiana and Southeast Texas, but it’s a rare concept in Portland, if not entirely unheard of. The “Nacheaux nachos” start with a big pile of fresh-fried chips and also feature carnitas that could just as easily be cochon au lait, while a cheesy “crunchwrap” comes stuffed with red beans, dirty rice and fried chicken.

4. Cully Central

4579 NE Cully Blvd., 503-206-8911, cully-central.business.site. 4-10 pm Monday-Friday, 11 am-10 pm Saturday, 11 am-9 pm Sunday.

Cully Central is something unique in Portland: a Lao beer bar with 20 handles, boasting favorites from Breakside and pFriem. It turns out dishes you can’t find anywhere else, in particular a subtle khao piek sen chicken noodle soup with thick and chewy rice noodles and a light cinnamon and pepper broth.

5. Cooperativa

1250 NW 9th Ave., 971-275-2762, cooperativapdx.com. 7 am-8 pm Tuesday-Saturday.

Cooperativa has a lot of what you need in a beautiful, air-conditioned environment—it’s a grocery store, a coffee shop, an ice cream place, a sandwich shop, a bar, a restaurant and a pizzeria, infused with the vibe and flavors of Bologna, Florence, Rome and the Italian “slow food” movement. Never go outside again!

A Tour of Portland’s Best Cantonese Barbecue Spots

YāYā PDX, Pure Spice, Happy Dragon and Chen’s Good Taste are our top picks for roasted duck, char siu pork and roasted pork belly.

Step away from the hamburger and ribs—this summer, it’s all about the Cantonese barbecue.

Pork and duck, marinated and roasted in ways that create crispy skin, and tender meat laced with the flavors of hoisin, soy and star anise. And of those Cantonese specialties, I present a holy trinity of sorts: roasted duck, chopped whole and bone-in, flush with flavor; roasted pork belly, rendered well and with a perfectly crisp layer of skin on the top; and char siu pork, sliced and infused with hoisin and soy. Sometimes there’s also steamed soya chicken, and that’s fine too, but those three are the supreme meats.

Newcomer YāYā PDX brings takeout Cantonese barbecue to a close-in neighborhood, with delicious results, which inspired me to take a li’l tour of all my favorite spots, just in case you too would like to subsist on leftover duck for the better part of a month. (Pro tip: It makes fantastic fried rice.)


Chef Steven Chin calls Cantonese barbecue his soul food, and you really feel that. The streamlined menu focuses on serving meat over rice with hot mustard, dipping sauce and pickled cucumber and carrot. It’s simple and it’s great.

Of the three in our meat triumvirate, YāYā particularly nails the duck and char siu pork. Of all the duck I’ve sampled (and it’s been many; sorry to my avian friends), Chin’s is the most five-spice forward. The ducks he selects also have more meat on the bones than many of the others, leading to luscious full bites of bird. As Cantonese duck is served chopped and bone-in, this means a bigger and better pay off as you nibble.

The char siu is even better—tender and softly sweet, it’s a far cry from the red food coloring-spiked barbecue pork served at some establishments. In both cases, the juices from the meat make their way into the bed of rice, which is itself perfectly cooked and seasoned beyond standard steamed rice. The one downside to YāYā’s dishes is that all of the rich meats are accompanied by sweet sauces, and while the pickles have a bit of acid, they also are a bit sugary, meaning the whole meal tends a bit toward the saccharine. Bites of rice and throwing an order of the cool, crisp cabbage salad onto your order maintains balance.

Chin’s Cantonese approach, done in partnership with Portland restaurateur Micah Camden, is certainly geared more toward a crowd on Alberta than in the Jade District, but the cheffy turns he takes make for a great takeout meal.

EAT: YāYā PDX, 1451 NE Alberta St., 503-477-5555, yayapdx.com.

Chen’s Good Taste

Unless you’re a vegetarian, I can’t think of a tastier sight than the roasted meats hanging near the entrance to Chen’s Good Taste, a holdout in downtown’s Chinatown. To be perfectly honest, the finest way to have the meats at Good Taste are by ordering Super Bowl A, an absolute unit of soup that’s filled with noodles, wontons and bok choy and topped with roast duck and roast and barbecue pork. It is nigh on physically impossible to finish in one go.

But if you’re not in a soup mood, each of the trinity is sold by the pound or is available in all sorts of dishes. The roasted pork here is a true delicacy, perfectly salty and not too fatty. The contrasting crunchy skin hits just the right textural note in a blend of fat and umami that I crave regularly. Chen’s know this is its signature meat: You can order an entire pig, and it’s a bucket-list birthday plan of mine.

EAT: Chen’s Good Taste, 18 NW 4th Ave.,503-223-3838, chensgoodtaste.com.

Happy Dragon

This Independence, Ore., restaurant is a central valley favorite for duck, and when the owners moved to Northeast 82nd, they immediately upped Portland’s duck game as well.

Happy Dragon is most famous for its super-crunchy and deeply seasoned Peking duck, but the roast duck is something a little more accessible for everyday eating. A little less crispy than Peking, the roast duck maintains its juiciness, with the meat absorbing the rendered fat, while the skin is a vehicle for the 18 ingredients used in the marinade. Here the barbecue Pork is a bit of an afterthought, and the roast pork belly is totally serviceable. You won’t go wrong ordering either of them, as long as you don’t skip that duck.

EAT: Happy Dragon, 707 NE 82nd Ave., 503-256-3828, happydragonchineserestaurant.com.

Pure Spice

Known more for its fresh-from-the-kitchen dim sum, Pure Spice low key holds it down in the Cantonese barbecue category as well. Pure Spice doesn’t mess with a roast pork belly but makes up for it with its barbecue pork. It’s just a shade more tender and meatier than most, and lacks the overt sweetness that is often typical in a char siu situation.

Pick the menu option that lets you order the roast duck, steamed chicken (another Cantonese classic), and barbecue pork together for $22.50, and then spend some time with the rest of the menu: Grab some har gow shrimp dumplings, a scallion pancake and a rice noodle roll with XO sauce for maximum sampling satisfaction.

EAT: Pure Spice, 2446 SE 87th Ave.,503-772-1808,purespicerestaurant.com.