Milwaukie’s Weekend Hot Spots

Close-in activities to our Rogers Farm neighborhood! Renaissance Homes’ exciting new Rogers Farm community off of Webster Rd in Milwaukie will be holding an open house event this weekend, July 18th and 19th, from 12-5pm. On your way, check out Grammas Corner Restaurant for a great breakfast or brunch. Our personal favorite is Grammas biscuits and sausage gravy. Yum. Also, in the parking lot right next door is a wonderful farmers market. Happening every Sunday, from 9:30-2pm, the farmers market features live music, fresh produce, handmade arts and crafts, and more. The busy market has 75 vendors with an abundance of Northwest grown and crafted products. You can also boat up to Milwaukie Riverfront Park, which allows you to dock your boat there all day. The farmers market and Grammas Corner Restaurant are just a block away! If you are not a boater the park features expansive 8.5-acre green areas, walking paths, and beautiful views of the Willamette River. The newly restored park is a focal point of new Milwaukie. Our Rogers Farm community is just a short drive away from these great weekend events, along with smaller community parks and creeks. We hope to see you there this...

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Portsmouth Neighborhood Eats

Cha Cha Cha Taqueria has become a Portland classic. With its colorful walls and captivating dishes, Cha Cha Cha is an easy lunch or dinner decision for family or friends. The family-owned, locally-sourced restaurant has eight locations in Portland, and all are equally delicious. Their seasonal margaritas are savor-worthy and are a perfect dinner treat. One of Cha Cha Cha’s locations is within walking distance to Renaissance’s modern stunner at 4748 N Hunt St. We’ll have this home open in a few weeks for the Ultimate New Home Showcase, a Portland-area home show the last weekend of April and the first weekend of May. The Renaissance crew will likely grab some Mexican fare before heading over for the UNHS festivities. If you’re looking for a nearby brunch spot while you’re on the tour, we’ve got you covered. Christie’s Restaurant is also within walking distance of the home on N Hunt St. It’s a definite neighborhood favorite, serving American-style breakfasts, tasty salads and an array of substantial sandwiches with local ingredients. Christie’s serve TAZO tea, as well as Nossa Familia Coffee. The entire staff is friendly and the breakfasts are fantastic. I ordered a side of thick-cut bacon for a fast, to-go breakfast. I would come back just for another slice. One of Christie’s personal favorites includes the toffee bark breakfast. Intrigued? Good. It involves two challah loaf slices drizzled with house made toffee sauce, chocolate ganache and Oregon hazelnuts. It’s served with two eggs and bacon. As the weather warms up, Christie’s outdoor patio would be a perfect afternoon getaway. Until then, the interior space is warm and relaxing, and is peppered with murals by local artists. Cha Cha Cha                                Christie’s Restaurant 5218 N...

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Coffee Grinds, Community at The Arbor Lodge

      The founder’s vision for The Arbor Lodge was to be both a community gathering place and a world-class coffee shop; a spot for friends, reading groups, neighborhood get-togethers, and foodies alike to enjoy Pacific Northwest artisan coffee.  Founded in 2011 by Arbor Lodge residents Scott and Jolynn Davison, the strong vision for The Arbor Lodge materialized into a woodsy, airy and delicious smelling space. Weekly meetings for book studies and writing groups are held in the spacious belly of the cafe, and local art decorates the tall walls of the shop. A life-size community calendar is near the drink pick-up, with more than a dozen community events. I stopped in after touring Renaissance’s nearby bungalows, and ordered a light breakfast: green jasmine tea and the café mocha muffin. The café mocha muffin truly tasted as good as it looked from the assortment of treats behind the bar. It was out-of-the-oven fresh, decadent and not too sweet. Most of the muffins and treats are gluten free and vegan-friendly. As for the tea – it was fragrant, smooth and packed with anti-oxidants. It’s safe to say I’ll be back for a tasty breakfast soon, along with the many patrons who call The Arbor Lodge a second home.The Arbor Lodge serves Taniger Coffee FOXFIRE Tea, and sources treats from Nuvrei Pastries. Open Monday – Saturday  6:30am – 6pm & Sunday 7am –...

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Woodlawn neighborhood features great architecture, restaurants

Portland’s Woodlawn neighborhood in NE Portland is charming with its streets lined with bungalows. Bordered by Columbia Blvd. to the north, Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. to the west, 22nd Ave. to the east and Ainsworth St. at the south, the neighborhood offers entertainment, great grub and easy-access to downtown. And Renaissance Homes is proud to unveil its LEED-certified Morrison Bungalow at 1045 NE Oneonta in Woodlawn – set to complete in about a month. The 2,288 sq. ft. new home features a den on the main floor, one car garage, kitchen with a corner pantry that opens to the great room and dining area and outdoor covered patio. Upstairs, enjoy the loft space, laundry room in close proximity to the home’s three bedrooms and its luxurious master suite with a walk-in-closet. Its location on NE Oneonta is within walking distance to restaurants, pubs, schools and shopping destinations. Enjoy exploring: Restaurants: Walk east to P’s & Q’s Neighborhood Market and Deli, known for its decadent starters and sandwiches and weekend brunches. Or, walk a block west to Firehouse Restaurant and enjoy a meal from the wood-fired oven. The restaurant is within the old Firehouse 29 and boasts and bright red exterior. Still hungry? Good Neighbor Pizzeria has a fresh pie made from scratch waiting for you. Hoping to stay a bit longer with some entertainment? Invite the neighbors over to Café Alchemy and listen to music, perform some of your own tunes, listen to poetry and participate in game nights while enjoying organic comfort food. Beers: The Oregon Public House – a non-profit pub — a block away is the perfect spot to sip craft brew while supporting a local charity. The family-friendly environment allows patrons to choose where they’d like their food and beverage proceeds to go. Shopping:...

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Kenton Portland Farmers’ Market five minutes from 3733 N. Baldwin

Open on Fridays through Sept. 26, the Kenton Portland Farmers’ Market takes place between 3 and 7 p.m. in North Portland’s Kenton neighborhood at 8303 N. Denver Ave. And if you lived at our move-in ready Renaissance home at 3733 N. Baldwin St., you could fill up that basket on the front of your bike and be there within five minutes. Offering a standard mix of offerings from local farmers, bakers, salsa-makers and juicers, the market includes sought-after vendors such as Columbia River Smoked Salmon, Greenleaf Juicing Company, Bushel and Peck Bakeshop, Scratch Meats and more. The Kenton neighborhood is also known for its great parks – Kenton and Trenton City Parks and Delta Park West – and thriving restaurant scene with flavor varieties from establishments such as Po’shines Café De La Soul, Pizza Fino, Cup and Saucer Café and The Rockin’ Cowgirl. With great freeway access – it takes about 8 minutes to get downtown – the area hugging the Columbia River with the Expo Center and Portland International Raceway lives like a small town. Walk to Columbia Park, too. For more information about Kenton, click here. Renaissance Homes is an award winning Street of Dreams custom home builder specializing in green building for the Portland market.Visit our Design Studio to personalize your next home.                 Photo credit source:...

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Neighborhood profile: Belmont District

Feel like a scramble and corned beef hash at Utopia Cafe? Or Slappy Cakes? Want to spend the afternoon at the Avalon Theatre’s Wunderland arcade? Later we could check out the bands at Blue Monk. Located in SE Portland, the Belmont District runs along Belmont Street from approximately 31st to 60th Avenues and is part of the Sunnyside neighborhood. Sunnyside is bordered by Laurelhurst to the north, Mt. Tabor to the east, Buckman to the west and Richmond to the south. The retail and residential area is seven blocks wide and developed around the first trolley line in East Portland in 1888. Now, the area is a mecca for culture and home to Wordstock Festival – an annual festival of books, writers and storytelling – and the famous Christmas lights at Peacock Lane. Since the 1920s, each house on quaint Peacock Lane has been decked out for the holidays. Mostly Tudor style homes, the houses glisten with lights, nativity scenes and rotating life-like replicas of holiday favorites. Drawing big crowds, several nights each season only pedestrians and horse-drawn carriages are allowed to experience the magic. Other nights, expect a steady stream of cars packed with wide-eyed onlookers. Peacock Lane is a block east of SE 39th Ave./Cesar Chavez Blvd. and runs between SE Startk to SE Belmont streets.             Additional Belmont neighborhood hot spots: Movie Madness Video – at the corner of SE 44th and SE Belmont – is an independent video store offering a comprehensive collection of films on DVD, Blu-Ray and video. Here you’ll find rare, out of print and hard-to-find films alongside new releases. Don’t leave before seeing the museum of costumes worn by cult classic film stars and view actual movie props. Julie Andrew’s dress from “The Sound of Music’s” famous “Do-Re-Mi” number is on...

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Wilsonville Farmers’ Market features food, music, cooking demonstrations and more

Taking place on Thursdays through Sept. 11, the Wilsonville Farmers’ Market takes place at Sofia Park at 28836 SW Costa Circle from 4 to 8 p.m. each week. This market features 50+ vendors sharing prepared foods, live music, cooking demonstrations and showcasing interactive events. The market supports the economic growth of the city and is committed to promoting an active lifestyle and the importance of community. Enjoy offerings from local farmers – such as Albeke Farms and Baird Family Orchards – and sample specialty foods from Miss Hannah’s Gourmet Popcorn, Bliss Nut Butters and The Hummis Stop. And the market is the perfect spot for great spirits from Vinn Distillery, Arcane Cellars, Wild Roots Vodka and The Beer Station. Don’t forget to visit food carts such as Big O’s Delicious Pizza, Kat’s Crepes, Las Carmalitas and The Tamale House and to pick up some gifts from Urban Cowgirl Trading Co. Candles, West Coast Body Co. or Brittany Hill Designs. This special market is just one of the dozens of reasons why residents at the new Renaissance Boat Club in Wilsonville may never need to leave the city. Offering a stellar location hugging the Willamette River and 126 acre Memorial Park, Renaissance Boat Club is a playground for those seeking an active lifestyle and convenience to hot spots such as restaurants, shopping destinations, a gym, cinema and walking trails. The neighborhood features 2.8 acres of preserved open space, a private dock with a deeded boat slip for every homeowner and a spring-fed 1.35 acre artesian pond with rainbow trout and crayfish. For more information about the market, a complete list of vendors and directors to its location at Villebois, visit the Wilsonville Market website. To watch a short video about the market, click here. Click here for more information about...

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Top 10 Most Walkable Cities, PDX #7

Walkable cities aren’t only good for avid pedestrians. They also have a higher GDP per capita and higher education levels than metropolitan areas that are harder to navigate on foot, according to a new report. Foot Traffic Ahead: Ranking Walkable Urbanism in America’s Largest Metros, a report from the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at George Washington University School of Business and Smart Growth America, ranks the 30 largest U.S. metro areas based on how many “walkable urban places” they have. The report defines a walkable urban place, or a WalkUP, as a location with high clusters of civic institutions, employers, medical centers, retail shops, and cultural assets. It’s sort of the opposite of a bedroom community dominated by residential real estate with supporting commercial businesses and civic organizations dotting the landscape. The rankings are basically what you’d expect, with Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, and San Francisco, at the top. Sprawling, car-reliant cities like San Antonio, Tampa, Phoenix, and Orlando are at the bottom. Here’s the full list. Washington, D.C.’s ranking above New York is slightly surprising. But the report explains that this is because Manhattan contains most of New York’s WalkUPs, and that slice of the city contains just 8% of the metro region’s population. Meanwhile, Portland, a city known for having walkable neighborhoods, is ranked down at seventh place. According to the report, almost all of Portland’s walkable spaces are concentrated in its central city. Walkability hasn’t yet spread to the suburbs. In addition to putting together rankings, the report also looked at the relationship between walkability, education, and GDP, finding a correlation between the percentage of the over-25 population with a college degree and metropolitan GDP per capita. Walkable urbanism and “educational attainment” are also positively correlated, as are walkable urbanism and per...

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10 Best: Up-and-coming neighborhoods around the USA

USA Today does regular features on travel around America. This time around they focus on neighborhoods going through a revitalization – and a Portland neighborhood makes the Top 10 list of must sees! From USA Today Travel Experience America Section: Debates about gentrification notwithstanding, watching a blighted area get a new lease on life can be awfully heartening. We’ve listed a few of the most promising and unlikely rebirths below. Cleveland: Ohio City Detroit: Midtown Kansas City: The Westside neighborhood New Orleans: Freret Street Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh’s East Liberty Portland: Southeast Portland’s Division Street has been slowly evolving into Portland’s hottest food neighborhood for more than 10 years, led by now legendary pioneers Pok Pok and Stumptown Coffee. Nowadays, much of Division between 12th and 45th avenues has filled in, including Sen Yai, Chef Andy Ricker’s Thai noodle house, Yataimura Maru, a Japanese-style pub and offshoot of the popular sushi and ramen focused Shigezo Izakaya, Bollywood Theater, serving buzzworthy Indian street fare, and the Italian-inspired menu at Ava Gene’s, opened in 2013 and hailed by the likes of Bon Appétit. Raleigh: The North Person Street Business District Richmond: Church Hill St. Paul: Lowertown Santa Fe: The Railyard Read the entire story at USA Today | By Leif Pettersen...

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Take a trip to the Ponzi Vineyard in Sherwood

You don’t have to be in as beautiful of a place to enjoy good wine, but it helps. Ponzi Vineyards in Sherwood is nestled into a gorgeous hillside just miles from Renaissance Homes’ community, Rychlick Farms. If you’ve already visited the grounds, you know just how picturesque it is, but for me, it was my first time there. I was speechless as I entered the modern style tasting room. Ponzi technically has three locations – a wine bar in Dundee, the historic Ponzi house in Beaverton and the Sherwood tasting room and vineyard. The Sherwood vineyard spans over 40 acres, 25 of those rolling acres are covered in vines. The modern tasting room overlooks part of the vineyard and is open to the warm June air. As the sun starts to fall behind the Cheleham Mountains, the tasting room’s outdoor ceiling heaters and fire pit keep you toasty. I tried Ponzi’s signature flight, which was $15 and covered six wines: 2013 Ponzi Pinot Gris, 2013 Ponzi Arneis, 2013 Ponzi Pinot Noir Rose, 2011 Ponzi Pinot Noir, and 2012 Ponzi Dolcetto. This equaled out to $2.50 for a small pour – not bad considering the quality of the wine. Ponzi is well-known for its Pinot Noir and the 2011 vintage is really delicious. A fun, new wine from the signature flight that I would definitely taste again is the 2013 Arneis. This white Italian grape grows primarily in the Piedmont region of the country. The word arneis literally means ‘little rascal’ in Italian, as the varietal is very difficult to grow. The grapes tend to be less sweet and produce a full bodied taste with pear and floral undertones. It’s a nice, crisp wine for drinking in the heat of summer. The 2013 Arneis is priced at $30 per bottle. In addition...

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Visit The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge

The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge is a fun and educational place to take your kids — or yourself — as the weather warms up to enjoy nature as it’s intended. The refuge boasts abundant and picturesque walking trails centered on integrating oneself with wildlife.  Spring is a prime time for catching a glimpse of the season’s crowned jewel: the yellowthroat songbird.  The songbirds arrive in the spring and use the dried mud flats for breeding and nesting grounds. Bald eagles are also seen in the refuge, arriving in the fall months, typically from northern breeding grounds. In addition to nearly two hundred species of birds, there are twenty five species of reptiles and amphibians among a sea of lovely grasses and other varieties of trees and plants. I went for a walk around the refuge — three miles in all. The path takes you into a beautiful, open meadow where you can hear the ducks splashing in the wetlands nearby. In the center of the refuge is a single tall tree that stands in one of the wet areas. A massive nest rests in the top branches.  I couldn’t make out the specifics, so after the walk-around, I made my way into the refuge’s main building to see if anyone knows what the nest entails. As I walked into the refuge’s main building, a kind volunteer ushered me to the wildlife viewing area, telling me that the huge nest in the tree currently houses a bald eagle. He sets the telescope on the nest for me and lets me take a peek: I see the majestic eagle in the nest, swiveling its head to look for prey. I definitely did not expect to see such a beautiful animal. The picture I took of the eagle magnified by the...

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Lovely’s Fifty Fifty in Boise neighborhood is sweet

Imagine eating pizza and actually having energy afterwards, instead of feeling tired and bloated. You don’t have to sacrifice taste, either. At Lovely’s Fifty Fifty, a casual dining establishment that is serious on its mostly local and organic ingredients, you can expect friendly, gracious service, consistently excellent fresh food, and a new-found obsession with their ice cream. My fiancé and I are now weekly regulars. We try different things most weeks – although some tried-and-true favorites include their oven roasted cauliflower with zante currants, chicories, yellow raisins and almonds, as well as our custom mozzarella and marjoram (now basil) pizza with arugula, calabrian chilies and anchovies. The secret to their pizza is their naturally leavened dough and top-notch ingredients from these purveyors: Chop Butchery, Olympic Provisions, Gathering Together Farm, Viridian Farms, Wobbly Cart Farm, Ayers Creek Farm and Groundwork Organics, among many others. I’ve learned that in Portland there are many restaurants that advertise their food as local and organic, but it is another to actually execute it. Lovely’s is also known for their homemade ice cream. They rotate flavors but right now have salted caramel, cherry vanilla (my favorite), malted milk ball, rhubarb buttermilk, honey lilac and mint stracciatella. A nice touch to their wine list is a featured glass. If you don’t trust your judgment on wine (I don’t), you can bet this glass will be delicious. I’ve had a very unique unfiltered floral red, and a clean and sharp white, both superb. Occasionally, Lovely’s Fifty Fifty has a wait. On one occasion it was 30 minutes, but we had a drink at Interurban, a cool bar and restaurant next door. In short: It’s worth the stop to the historic Mississippi District for fresh wood-fired pizza, delicious salads and side vegetables and frothy ice cream. They’re open...

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City profile: Lake Oswego

The 1924 motto for the Oswego Lake Country Club “live where you play” still accurately describes the city today. With award-winning schools, one of the top libraries in the United States, an abundance of recreational opportunities, some of the lowest crime in the state, beautiful homes and sought-after restaurants and shops, Lake Oswego is the Palm Springs of Oregon. The citizens are friendly, parents are involved and year ‘round city-organized events are popular. Located 15 minutes south of Portland and surrounding the 405-acre private Oswego Lake, the city was founded in 1847 and incorporated as Oswego in 1910. Lake Oswego was the hub of Oregon’s brief iron industry in the late 19th century and today is an affluent suburb of Portland. The sought-after community is a recreational paradise, maintaining 573 acres of parks and open spaces. With 24 developed parks, an amphitheater, swim park, water sports center on the Willamette River, an adult community center, a public golf course, indoor tennis center, seven outdoor tennis courts, a handful of picnic shelters, a private country club and equestrian riding club, residents stay active year ‘round. Its yearly summertime Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts draws 25,000+ attendees worldwide. The Arts Council of Lake Oswego promoted philanthropic support of arts in the city. A quick loop through downtown will highlight dozens of sculptures in a variety of mediums as part of a rotating “gallery without walls.” The Lake Oswego Public Library has been rated among the top 10 libraries serving similar population sizes in the United States. The top-rated Lake Oswego School District features six elementary schools, two junior high schools and two high schools with an average class ration of 23 students per instructor. And if you’re looking for shopping and dining opportunities within the city, hot spots can be...

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Lake Oswego’s movie theater reopens

Lake Oswego’s downtown movie theater is reopening May 1 and with a new purpose.             As originally published in the Lake Oswego Review by Cliff Newell, the reopening of this iconic Lake Oswego staple is just in time for summer events: In 1940, the Lake Theater opened with the movie “Another Thin Man.” In April of 2014 the highly-renovated Lake Theater and Café is being reopened by another thin man, owner Drew Prell. Prell is slimmer after such a long and harrowing wait for his prize project to be completed, a much longer time than he originally planned. Now the wait is over, and Prell is the picture of enthusiasm as the theater gets ready to open its doors, possibly as early as this weekend. “It’s a good thing I’ve been in this business for 35 years,” Prell said. “This has taken every bit of my expertise and every bit of my patience. I am so excited about this place. It is so cool.” Fortunately, Prell had enough patience to wait out a sour economy that threatened to derail his dream. He was given four extensions over the past year in order to have more time to meet the obligations to complete the interior improvements to the theater. If he had not gotten the theater ready by the April 15 deadline, Prell would have had to reimburse the city’s Lake Oswego Redevelopment Agency (LORA) up to $200,000. There was some concern by city councilors that Lake Oswego would be left liable for “a hole in the ground.” Brant Williams, city redevelopment director, thinks allowing for the extensions was the only way to go. “The alternative would have been no theater and no improvements,” Williams said. “If the extensions had not been granted we would probably have been left with...

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Sharing “SweetStory” in Sherwood

When you step into SweetStory, you know you’ve entered someplace special. This bakery in Old Town Sherwood sets the scene to delight not only your taste buds, but also your imagination. I stopped in one Friday on my way to the Renaissance Homes community at Rychlick Farm in Sherwood. The darling shop is less than half a mile away on the other side of 99W on Railroad Street. A grand chandelier drapes from the ceiling, bouncing light into the glass desert cases, as if the gourmet cookies, bars and cakes needed more reason to shine. I am temporarily paralyzed as I admire the lemon ricotta cake. I am greeted by the owner, Michelle, a pastry chef who founded SweetStory with her husband. She gives me the low-down on some of her favorite treats: homemade kitkat bars, caramel brownies and the famous ‘betty bar,’ to name a few. She’s also fond of the artisan scones; the chocolate chip scone is said to garner rave reviews — not too sweet with a delicate texture and chocolate drizzled on top. The strawberry rhubarb bar just came into rotation as the weather is warming up. It’s sweet, and a bit sour. I personally think there should be a ‘kick’ to go along with a sweet, so this creation fits the bill. Another divine treat: the chocolate wine and raspberry macaroon — another apparent favorite. The cookie has a rich, chocolaty crunch with a nice wine undertone that pairs seamlessly with the raspberry filling. Are you hungry yet? If you want to plan ahead on your indulgence, SweetStory can design cookies and cakes for any occasion — Disney movie themed cupcakes, five-tiered wedding cakes, cake pops that look like soccer balls, you name it. When I visited, the bakers were busy decorating a custom...

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Attend Saturday’s Egg Hunt for Hope with Renaissance

The Renaissance Homes team is sponsoring Egg Hunt for Hope on Sat. April 12 at 12:30 at Laurel Ridge Middle School’s track and field in Sherwood. The eighth annual benefit includes four egg hunts – for children under 2 year old, those age 3 through kindergarden, those in first through fifth grade and adults – and will provide help for Sherwood resident Briana Dannen, a local teacher, mother and breast cancer survivor.   From 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., enjoy pre-egg hunt activities. Renaissance staff will be on hand helping out and passing out lots of Easter-themed toys and treats. At 1:30 p.m. the egg hunts begin and participation is $3 per child. The adult egg hunt is free. Snacks will be sold as a “donation” only and the event will be held rain or shine. This year marks a new location for the popular event – now at the Laurel Ridge Middle School track and field. Be sure to stop by next-door Renaissance at Rychlick Farm, Renaissance Homes’ new neighborhood in Sherwood and tour a move-in ready home. For more information about the event, visit www.egghuntforhope.com. The school is located at 21416 SW Copper Terrace in Sherwood. To donate to this year’s event, contact organizers at Leslee@ToddMccabe.com or call 503-880-9866. For more information about Renaissance at Rychlick Farm, contact Jack Hall at 503-545-3982 or visit www.Renaissance-Homes.com. Renaissance Homes is an award winning Street of Dreams custom home builder specializing in green building for the Portland market. Visit our Design Studio to personalize your next...

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Neighborhood profile: Brooklyn

Home to the Aladdin Theater, Brooklyn Park, True Brew Coffeehouse and plenty of recreational opportunities, Portland’s Brooklyn neighborhood hugs the east side of the Willamette River. Founded as a neighborhood in the 1860s, the area is comprised of many single-family homes, interspersed with industrial sites along the river and railyard. The area has a hometown neighborhood feel with great architecture, easy access to downtown and without the parking predicaments often found in more high-trafficed neighborhoods. One of Portland’s most desirable neighborhoods, Brooklyn is home to: Indoor soccer: Portland Futsal at 3401 SE 17th Ave. – the largest indoor soccer complex in Oregon, caters to leagues for youths, men, women and co-ed teams. The facility is for those who play the “Futsal” way – with a smaller, heavier ball and no walls to play off of. Springwater on the Willamette: This scenic multi-use trail features wide, paved pathways to accommodate walkers, joggers and those on bikes or in wheelchairs or strollers. Springwater features at least 10 trail bridges over Johnson Creek. 24 Hour Fitness: The Portland McLoughlin Super Sport facility features cardio equipment, personal trainers, a basketball court, cycling, lap pool and hot tub, saunas, stream rooms and strength machines. Edelweiss Sausage Co. and Delicatessen: An authentic European market, this family-owned-and-operated Old World Bavarian market carries rare sweet treats from Germany and other European countries and offers handcrafted meats, specialty sausages, sandwiches and catering. The Brooklyn House Restaurant: With a farm fresh menu, locally sourced ingredients and a nod to European fare, enjoy soups and salads, bread and cheese plates, pasta dishes and hearty steaks, braised lamb, chicken and veal. The many nods to German heritage dates back to more than a century ago. Giddeon Tibbets acquired the land in the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850 and built a...

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Baird’s on B opens in Lake Oswego

The energy at Baird’s on B Friday night was infectious. Downtown Lake Oswego’s newest restaurant at the corner of Second Street and B Avenue was packed with families, girlfriends having a night out, couples and others, like myself, who were curious after seeing the new signs brightly lit atop Chuck’s Coffee. The area hugging Oswego Lake boasts a myriad of dining opportunities – Clarke’s, Manzana, Tucci, Maher’s Irish Pub, Scratch, Five Spice, Blast Burger El Ranchito, and others. And the popular area’s newest contemporary bar and grill serves lunch, dinner and happy hour. Crafting the contemporary space Baird Bulmore and Cindy Oyama own Baird’s on B and completely remodeled the space to have more contemporary flair and an open dining concept. Modern light fixtures and bright décor give energy and a nod to the fresh, simplified fare. The kitchen was moved further back to open up the front of the restaurant and visitors can enjoy dining at either communal tables, at the bar near the TVs or in more private banquette seating opportunities overlooking downtown. As the weather warms up, visitors can also enjoy food and spirits from the second story terrace along B Avenue. According to their website – bairdsonb.com – Baird brought along executive chef Salvatore Campagna whose resume includes executive positions at El Gaucho in Portland, Sal’s Kitchen in NW and Hall Street Bar and Grill in Beaverton. Enjoy Northwest American fare at reasonable prices The menu boasts contemporary Northwest American fare highlighting local and seasonal offerings at reasonable prices. The Mac & Cheese my friends ordered made everyone else jealous – the portions were large and the cheese was melted to perfection. Others enjoyed the Fish & Chips and the House Burger paired with flavorful salads. When you visit, be sure to check out the...

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How to Know If a Neighborhood Is Gentrifying

Bargains may be few and far between in the current real estate market, but buyers can get a deal if they are willing to purchase a home in an up-and-coming neighborhood. But discovering a neighborhood with potential can be tricky. “When you buy in an up-and-coming neighborhood, you are able to get in on the ground floor of appreciation,” says Michael Corbett, real estate and lifestyle expert for real estate website Trulia. “You really want to look for neighborhoods where you can increase the value; the best way to do that is in transitional neighborhoods on the rise.” But like all investments, buying in a developing neighborhood comes with risks. After all, getting a bargain on a home only becomes an investment if the neighborhood continues to develop and home prices appreciate. Real estate experts offer the following signs homebuyers should be aware of when evaluating emerging neighborhoods: Development Is Already Happening: Construction activity, whether it’s retail, condominiums or residential homes, is a good sign of an area about to boom. “If you start to see large-scale development in certain areas, that’s a harbinger of progress and transition,” says Corbett. On a smaller scale, the big tip…is look for Starbucks going in.” She says the coffee giant spends a lot of money on market research to determine new locations. Trendy Establishments Are Popping Up: Development doesn’t have to be going at all hours of the night for a neighborhood to qualify as a potential hot spot, but the quality of the new retailers and restaurants are important. They don’t need to be the most expensive, but if they are concepts [wine bars, juice bars, organic or farm-to-table restaurants] that mimic those in flourishing neighborhoods, there is a good chance the neighborhood is on the rise,” says Doug Breaker, president...

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Biking the Springwater Corridor in SE Portland

Bike the equivalent of a half marathon on the first 13.2 miles  of 21.5 of the Springwater Corridor Trail. The trail starts at SE 4th Avenue and SE Ivon Street and ends on in Boring on Clackamas-Boring Hwy. No. 174 and Se Richey Rd. You needn’t worry about cars, the Springwater Trail is closed to any motorized vehicles.  Don’t forget water, snacks, front and rear lights and a helmet. Begin your journey with a scenic view of Portland’s downtown on your right, across the Willamette River. The trail will take you through the vibrant Sellwood neighborhood. Stop by Farmhouse Antiques at 8028 SE 13th Avenue.  Turn left onto SE Spokane, the street that corresponds with the end of Sellwood Riverfront Park. Make another left onto SE 13th, and the shop will be on your right. Head back on the trail with illusions of baked cinnamon French toast with a caramel pecan topping as motivation. Mehri’s Bakery and Deli is at 6923 SE 52nd Avenue. You will have biked well over 6 miles at this point. From the trail, turn left onto SE Harney Drive, then another left onto SE 52nd Avenue. It’s on your left, immediately after SE Bybee Blvd. To return to the trail, go south on SE 52nd, turn left onto SE Harney, and right onto SE 55th. In 4 miles, you will get to experience the magic of Leach Botanical Garden.  Who wouldn’t want to go to a garden that was originally named ‘Sleepy Hallow’ by its original owners, Lilla and John Leach? It was founded in 1931, expanding as the Leaches went on worldly trips to collect plants. Forty years later, Portland Parks Bureau acquired the property. Leach Botanical Garden is open Tuesdays-Saturdays 9 a.m.  to 4 p.m. and Sundays 1 to 4 p.m. Bikes...

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Your perfect day in Clinton/Division

Your new Renaissance home at 3926 SE Clinton is in the heart of all the action. Located in Southeast Portland, the area thrives thanks to its strong community spirit. Passionate mom-and-pop shop owners are up early rearranging window displays and adjusting daily specials on the menu. From specialty grocery stores, theaters and authentic ethnic food, this neighborhood east of the Willamette River is a mecca for those who cherish the comforts of rich culture. Your perfect day in Clinton/Division: Morning: Extended family is in town for a fun family reunion in Portland and to see your new home on SE Clinton. Your four bedroom house proves the perfect backdrop for the weekend of festivities and the charming Clinton Street Guesthouse bed and breakfast a block away serves as convenient, overflow lodging for guests. Start the weekend off with breakfast at Block’s Delicious Daily down Clinton Street. Enjoy the warm breakfasts and sweet pastries before walking across the street to Clinton Community Garden to share what you’ve been growing. Afternoon: It’s time to shop and showcase all the charming offerings your neighborhood offers, such as the versatile and waterproof North St. bags — crafted from recycled materials and perfect for bike commuters. And the ladies will stop at vintage clothing shop Xtabay to try on vintage dresses. Fragrant offerings from Camamu Soap are will remind your guests of Portland when they are back home. Grab some kale “Dharma” juices to-go from nearby Portland Juice Co. and share another reason why Portlanders love being green. Grab-and-go lunch items from New Seasons Market proves the perfect complement to the sunny, adventurous day. Enjoy the fare at peaceful Piccolo City Park. Evening: Let the kids rent a movie from Clinton Street Video and take full advantage of the bonus room in your new,...

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Exploring Thai cuisine in Woodstock

Relative to the Thai population in Portland, there are a good number of Thai restaurants in the city. In the SE Portland neighborhood of Woodstock, known for the prestigious Reed College and innovative Woodstock Elementary, there sits a quaint Thai restaurant. Bai Mint, nestled between Radio Shack and The Flower Shop, has been open since 2011. Upon the drive to Bai Mint, Woodstock seemed alive for a Sunday evening. Two young women were walking on Cesar Chavez and Woodstock Boulevard, bright lights were twinkling in maple trees in front of Woodstock Wine and Deli, and plenty of car lights brightening up the lush meridians, one with a wooden “Welcome to Woodstock” sign. Bai Mint’s walls are covered with beautiful large photographs of various scenes in Thailand, such as the Floating Market. My fiancé and I ordered spring rolls with tofu. We were pleasantly surprised by the peanut dipping sauce. It was slightly spicy and sweet, with a smooth consistency and crushed peanuts that made for a nice texture. Brian ordered the house special curry noodles with chicken: stir fried rice noodles with vegetables in a peanut curry sauce. I tried a few bites and it was impressive. It was too spicy for me, but the flavor was rich, but the dish wasn’t heavy. It transported me back to Thailand! I ordered the pad see ew: stir-fried rice noodles, egg, broccoli and Asian kale with a sweet soy sauce. I’ve had this dish at several other Portland restaurants, but Bai Mint’s is my favorite. The chicken was perfectly cooked and plentiful, the sauce wasn’t too overpowering or sweet. The fresh ingredients were evident. We have yet to try the rival across the street, Tom-Yum Thai Cuisine. I hear its sticky rice is hands down the best in Portland, and the...

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Sckavone’s brunch in Clinton is a best kept secret

The counter at Sckavone’s restaurant has been a gathering spot since the 1930s. Before becoming one of the best kept breakfast spots in Portland, it was the Eveready Drugstore and the long counter with built-in bar stools was where locals would gather for an ice cream cone or soda pop and discuss current events – the depression, WWII, Vietnam, Watergate, Portland happenings, etc. On Sunday, Feb. 16, the same countertop was packed but the conversations had shifted to the Olympics, Justin Bieber’s legal troubles, the new season of TV’s “Portlandia” and the fact that the rain had let up. Sckavone’s restaurant – located at 4100 SE Division St. in Portland – is just two blocks from our newly completed Renaissance home at 3926 SE Clinton. And after experiencing its brunch first-hand, I can attest to the establishment’s draw – great breakfast items, large portions, reasonable prices and a convenient location with a unique history. As Marketing Coordinator for Renaissance Homes I love exploring the neighborhoods where we are building new, LEED-certified homes. Our newly completed 3,106 sq. ft. Benson home at 3926 SE Clinton is close to many hot spots – the Clinton Street Theater, Pok Pok restaurant, vintage clothing shops, an adorable bed and breakfast inn, etc. And Sckavone’s was a fun weekend treat for our table of four. The booth was spacious, the server was friendly and the surprise mini scones served before our breakfast’s arrived were delicious. The place was packed, yet there wasn’t a line out the door. The black and white memorabilia photos canvasing the walls were amusing. Our booth featured an old photo of the then drugstore packed with folks waiting for an ice cream. Originally owned and operated by Nick Sckavone, who immigrated to the neighborhood from Italy, the restaurant is now...

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Yoga in Sherwood is the perfect escape

New Year’s resolutions can come and go – possibly just as easily as forgetting what presents you gave for Christmas this year. According to a usa.gov poll, losing weight is the top resolution for Americans every year. This doesn’t come as a surprise, rather a statement, that obtaining better health in the U.S. is desired, but sticking to a regiment can be difficult. Psychology Today reports in the 45 percent of Americans who made a New Year’s resolutions, just eight percent achieve their goals. As we are now in February, it’s important not to let resolutions fall to the wayside. Personally, I vowed to live a healthier and happier 2014. Many practitioners now believe practicing yoga can help you reach and maintain your goals by combining strength training, movement and flexibility. It’s also something you can do with friends, which – if you’re anything like me – would keep you held accountable for sticking to a routine. I set out to find the best place to practice yoga in Sherwood. The studio I found is in the picturesque and historic downtown Sherwood area, near our Renaissance at Rychlick Farm community.  It’s called Escape to Yoga. Escape to Yoga offers half a dozen classes from beginner’s hatha to the sweat-inducing level two vinyasa. I stopped in for a Sunday morning Hatha class, and it was divine. The instructor guided the 25 person class through a series of both restorative and strengthening poses for 60 minutes. The warm-up consists of a pattern of warrior-style lunges, hip opening exercises and sun salutations. The class progressed to one-legged poses and torso twists.  The music was a soft mix of tunes that paired well with the rhythmic energy of the class. Not only are the classes gentle, yet challenging, the studio itself is breathtaking....

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Your perfect day in John’s Landing

Your new move-in ready Renaissance home at 5923 SW Hood Ave. is in the heart of all the action. Located in Southwest Portland, the area is a hot spot filled with restaurants, coffee shops, shopping opportunities, gourmet grocery stores, great transportation and riverfront access. Enjoy living seconds from downtown Portland. Morning Start the day off with a light jog along the Willamette River waterfront. Let the calm surroundings center you for the exciting day ahead. On the way home, pick up a chocolatey and smooth Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee from Jola Cafe. Enjoy a warm breakfast from your light-and-bright kitchen and let the aroma of Zupan’s Markets’ finest ingredients wake up your loved ones upstairs. After a shared meal, grab everyone’s shoes located in the built-in bench next to the front door and take to the streets. The dog you’ve been dreaming of is waiting at Lexi Dog Boutique and Social Club. Afternoon With the excitement of the new puppy in-tow, the kids can hardly contain their elation. This calls for a celebratory lunch with grab-and-go picnic items from Elephants Delicatessen. Enjoy getting to know your new, furry friend at Willamette Park. After some obedience lessons — and plenty of snacks from Pet Loft — you can soon venture into the park’s dog off-leash area. On the way up, pick up the specialty cake you had created for the occasion at Finales. It will be perfect to share with grandma and grandpa who live in the separate, private one-level Accessory Dwelling Unit apartment within your new home. After getting home, spend time in the sun playing with the new addition in your fenced, flat backyard. Evening Nothing could top off this day any better than the famous fish and chips from Corbett Fish House — cooked in healthy rice...

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Enjoy festive Portland events this holiday season

There is a reason this time of year is called the holiday season. With all of Portland’s festivities on tap – such as the Christmas ships and themed trivia and dance parties – we’re excited to celebrate the holidays all month long. Here is a sampling of upcoming events to keep you in the spirit: The Nutcracker – Dec. 18 to 24 at various times: Light the fire in a child’s heart and spark your own childlike wonder with this beloved trip into a land where toy soldiers fight rat armies, snowflakes come dancing to life and the sugarplum fairy presides over it all with the wave of a wand. The enduring magic of George Balanchine’s classic through Oregon Ballet Theatre will create cherished memories.  For more information about the shows at Keller Auditorium, visit OBT.org/season_nutcracker.html. FestiBus — Dec. 20, 7 p.m.: Done your best Christmas get-up and hitch a ride on the FestiBus Tour and enjoy viewing holiday lights on Peacock Lane and at Portland International Raceway with 11 others. End the night after stops at three favorite bars and the mandatory white elephant gift exchange. The $35 tour is for those 21 and over and leaves from Grand Ave. in Portland. For more information, visit PortlandShortBus.com. Golden Girls Live — Dec. 20, 21, 27 and 28, 7:30 p.m.: “Thank you for being a friend.” View two holiday episodes of the hit TV show performed by an all-male cast in Golden Girls: Live! At the Funhouse Lounge on SE 11th Ave. Join Rose, Blanche, Dorothy and Sophia for the funniest and coolest holiday celebration this side of Miami. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. For more information, visit FunHouseLounge.com. Natalie Cole Christmas – Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m.: Join the Oregon Symphony this holiday season...

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Portland #1 City on Bike Score

Walkscore.com gives Portland big kudos. Overall the city ranks with a Walk Score of 63, a Transit Score of 50 and a Bike Score of 70. The Bike Score of 70 ranks Portland the #1 city for bikers. No surprise for Portlanders. Portland might be the most walking, biking, and public transit friendly city on the West Coast. Intel, Fred Meyer, and Nike are some of the city’s bigger employers, but the Pearl District is home to a number of tech and design start-ups, and a thriving restaurant scene that foodies love. Read more at Walkscore.com Portland’s neighborhoods are a mix of classic craftsman homes, rental apartments, and new construction condos, some of them green built and LEED certified. Most neighborhoods have walkable food cart pods, supermarkets, movie theaters and cafes. Hollywood has three MAX lines and four bus lines. Northwest offers maximum density, while Healy Heights and Sylvan-Highlands have great schools. Portland is the 14th most walkable large city in the US with 583,776 residents. Portland has good public transportation and is very bikeable. Read more at Walkscore.com. Renaissance Homes is an award winning Street of Dreams custom home builder specializing in green building for the Portland market. Visit our Design Studio to personalize your next home. Portland Neighborhoods Rank Name Walk Score Transit Score Bike Score Population 1 Pearl District 97 82 97 6,053 2 Old Town/Chinatown 97 88 98 3,656 3 Downtown 95 88 92 12,674 4 Northwest 92 65 86 12,811 5 Sunnyside 90 52 88...

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Portland Monthly shares scary movies on the screen

In anticipation of the Halloween holiday, check out your favorite Halloween movies on the silver screen, as compiled by Roxanne Davis with Portland Monthly magazine. Maybe you’re too old to go door-to-door begging for candy this Halloween, but you can still celebrate! We’ve rounded up Portland’s scariest cinematic events — from creepy classics to scary short films — to get you pumped for the holiday season. HALLOWEEN MOVIE EVENTS • Two Nights of Lovecraft Praise the dark Cthulhu! This event is packed full of Lovecraftian masterpieces. On Friday, you’ll see a selection of award-winning short films (both classic and modern) inspired by Lovecraft’s works; on Saturday, watch a rare, 35mm version of Stuart Gordon’s classic The Re-Animator. October 18 to 19 at 9:40 p.m. at the Hollywood Theatre, $8 single day, $14 two-day pass. • Red Flag presents Guignolfest 2013 This DIY horror movie contest, now in its fifth year, challenges teams of filmmakers to make a horror film in just three days. The contest is open until the 18th; for more info, check out the Guignolfest website. For those who prefer to just watch the horror, come to a screening of the resulting films. October 27 at 9:30 p.m. at the Clinton Street Theater, $5. • Repressed Horrors of Halloween If the rest of the films on this list are a little too mainstream for you, you might appreciate the Hollywood Theatre’s “Repressed Horrors of Halloween.” There you will see three little-known indie horror flicks: What’s In the Barn, Dawn of an Evil Millenium and Bloody Maw of the Man Wolf. October 29th at 7:30 p.m. at the Hollywood Theatre, $8. • Nosferatu with a Live Score For those who truly want a classic, the Mission Theater presents Nosferatu, the 1922 German Expressionist adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula starring Max Schreck. This eerie silent film will be brought to life with live music by Mood Area...

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Learn about Woodstock’s Mandarin language program

Renaissance Homes is nearly complete with two Vintage Collection homes in the Woodstock neighborhood, located at 5521 and 5517 SE Steele in Portland. Not only are the bungalow-style homes charming, but the location is just a few blocks from colorful learning opportunities. Nearby Woodstock School, located at 5601 SE 50th Ave. and adjacent to Woodstock Park, has provided a unique learning environment for students in the Portland Public Schools system for just over 100 years. And students in Woodstock’s Mandarin program receive instruction in English for half the school day, while the other half is spoken in Mandarin. This 50/50 instructional model is utilized for all students in the program from kindergarten through fifth grade. The program is part of the Oregon Chinese Flagship, which is focused on the total language learning approach incorporating content-based instruction and experiential language learning practices. More than half of the 435 students at Woodstock are enrolled in the immersion program. Students learn the simplified Mandarin writing system, hanzi, as well as expressive and receptive language development. The program aims to have students proficient in speaking, reading and writing in Mandarin upon completion of the kindergarten through 12 program. Appreciating cultural diversity is also a program goal; Woodstock enjoys a sister school relationship with Suzhou Experimental Primary School in Suzhou, China, which provides opportunities for cultural exchange. Students may apply to the program through a district lottery system. The process is detailed on the school’s website. And parents are encouraged to set up a visit to the school to explore its programs. For more information about the Woodstock Mandarin Immersion Program, click here. Renaissance Homes is an award winning Street of Dreams custom home builder specializing in green building, remodeling and renovations for the Portland market. Visit our Design Studio to personalize your next...

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Neighborhood Profile: Thriving in Multnomah Village

When buying a home, most homebuyers look for the perfect location: a blend of a serene neighborhood, with easy access to restaurants and other essential businesses.  Multnomah has the perfect mix of these two standards. Multnomah Village is a business center with a variety of thriving local businesses and activity filled area, while the surrounding region is a suburb with quiet neighborhoods and lush green parks. Having the best of both worlds is what draws Portlanders to this area. SW Portland stands as more of a suburban neighborhood than the hipster area of the South East. What sets Multnomah apart from these suburbs is its businesses: a center with thriving coffee shops, restaurants and fun local shops, called Multnomah Village. The village resides at the intersection of Capitol and Multnomah Blvd with favorites such as Marco’s Café and Espresso, Starbuck’s, Lucky Lab Brew Pub, Sweets Candy Shop, Annie Bloom’s Books and Birdies Cards and Gifts. This business center is a favorite gathering place for many Multnomah residents outside of their quiet neighborhoods. Multnomah is a short 12 minute drive to downtown Portland. Gabriel Park has become a center for the residents of Multnomah. The 90 acres of land encompasses a wide variety of activities for all ages: baseball fields, tennis, volleyball and basketball courts, off-leash dog area, picnic site, playground, soccer and softball fields and a skate park. A community garden and orchard also share the land, making this park a favorite to meet with friends and family and relax. At the corner of 45th, the Southwest Community Center is a fun filled local hot spot. Enjoy a three story water slide in the indoor pool, basketball courts, art classes, rock climbing wall and so much more! The Multnomah neighborhood all began from a land-claim by Thomas and Polly-Anne...

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Money Magazine | Sherwood #5 Best Small Towns in America

America’s top 50 small towns are not only thriving economically, they’ve also got all you could want in a place to raise a family: plenty of green space, good schools, and a strong sense of community. Money Magazine recently ranked the Top 50 small towns in America and Sherwood, OR made the cut! Sherwood was the only Oregon city to make the list this year. The top 5 contenders: Sharon, MA Louisville, CO Vienna, VA Chanhassen, MN Sherwood, OR Top 50 rank: Sherwood #5 Population: 18,736 There are plenty of reasons to love this small town just outside Portland — quaint historic downtown, top-ranked schools, relatively affordable home prices — but residents gush most about its proximity to fun stuff. Just west of Sherwood is Willamette Valley wine country. Keep going and in less than two hours you’re on the Oregon Coast. Or travel 65 miles east to Mount Hood for skiing or hiking. Then there’s Portland, home to highly acclaimed restaurants, microbreweries, museums, theater, and more. It’s also an easy commute to the likes of Nike in Beaverton, Intel in Hillsboro, and a plethora of high-tech and medical jobs. Oregon was hit hard by the recession, but the region has made a strong comeback. Says Judy Adler, a local real estate agent: “The recovery has been incredible.” Read the entire post: Money Magazine | August 12, 2013 Renaissance Homes is featuring Renaissance at Rychlick Farm. A brand new Sherwood community with open space and close proximity to excellent schools. Stop by for a tour. Directions: From Hwy 99/Pacific Hwy, head west on SW Edy Rd approximately 1/2 mile and Renaissance Homes will be on the left. Contact Jack Hall | JHall@Renaissance-Homes.com | 503.545.3982 Renaissance Homes is an award winning Street of Dreams custom home builder specializing in green building, remodeling and renovations for the Portland market. Visit our Design...

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Neighborhood Profile: Movie Madness in Belmont

Movie buffs around Portland are aware of this fabulous little gem in Belmont called Movie Madness. The Renaissance team stopped in to find a hard to find video for President Randy Sebastian, and lo and behold – they had it! We became members and spent an hour perusing the store and all its movie magic! We were in awe of all the cool memorabilia!   Established in 1991, Movie Madness Video has grown from a small specialty video rental store into a true landmark in the city of Portland. Movie Madness offers 90,000 titles including rare, out of print and hard to find items along with new releases for rent.  But the other special aspect of this Portland landmark is their extensive collection of movie memorabilia. The store owner, Mike Clark, has been collecting authentic Hollywood memorabilia since 1995 and his collection now boasts over 100 pieces – including costumes, props, posters and more. The collection spans the entire history of movies, with pieces from early silent films with Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford, to classics like CITIZEN KANE, CASABLANCA, and PSYCHO, to more recent films like FIGHT CLUB and PULP FICTION. It’s the world’s only video rental store with a museum of motion picture history throughout! We saw costumes on mannequins, props from feature films and life size alien creatures! Sure makes finding a rental fun! We even caught a photo of Randy by a giant Fu Dog from the 1941 movie Citizen Kane. Stop by today and check out the amazing collection. Movie Madness Video 4320 Southeast Belmont Street, Portland, OR Renaissance Homes is an award-winning Street of Dreams custom home builder specializing in green building, remodeling and renovations for the Portland market. Visit our Design Studio to personalize your next...

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Outdoor Summer Concert Guide

Nothing says summer like live music under a gorgeous sky. Here in Portland we are surrounded by amazing options for live tunes, dancing, frolic and merriment – and all with food, drink and people-watching galore thrown in. Some of our family-faves are on farms and others are in the thick of downtown’s urban scene. Some of these shows are along the river and some are in a parking lot. Regardless of where you are or what amazing sounds you are tapping your toes to, it is who you are with that counts most. So grab your partners, neighbors, kiddos and co-workers, and make some magic on those dance floors. Treble makers unite! Kruger’s Farm Tunes Series Hear music by popular jazz, rock and bluegrass names. While you’re there, check out the pleasures of farm life: farm animals, hayrides, berry picking. You can bring a picnic or purchase a wood-fired pizza, beer and wine on site, but leave dogs at home on concert nights. Jun 20 – Aug 29, Thursdays 6:30 pm. $10 per car Bella Organic Saturday Harvest Concert Series Another Sauvie Island farmadise is jumping into the outdoor family-friendly concert fest. Bella Organic is rocking our worlds on Saturday nights all summer long. You can bring a picnic or buy food and wine. Plus hayrides, u-pick berry action and plenty of farm animals are on hand as well. June 29 – September 28, Saturdays 6:00 pm. $10 per car Oregon Zoo Concert Series See world-class artists like Huey Lewis & The News, The Doobie Brothers and The Indigo Girls performing under the stars at the zoo’s amphitheater.  June 22 – Sept 6, nights vary 7:00 pm. $20 and up for ages 3 and older Sundown at Ecotrust Concert Series The fourth annual free concert series that is also one part...

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Portland ParkScore #7 in National Tests!

Take that, #10 Seattle! For us in Portland, appreciating our parks is second nature. Admittedly, it’s a bit silly to try to compare cities by ranking them on a list of this or that. But who can resist? The lists have their limitations, but they are informative. In Portland, we tend to do pretty well on the city rankings lists, so, like a kid who gets good grades in school (or her parents), we tend to pay attention to the rankings. Our latest grade: #7 on the list of best American cities for parks. Of the top 50 largest cites, our ParkScore (accounting for size, access, services and investment in parks) puts us, not at  #1 (Minneapolis), but well above our flashy friends in Seattle (#10). The rankings were put together by the Trust for Public Land (TPL). They’ve used GIS data and tools to do the annual rankings for some years now. Last year we were #6. Should we be worried that we’re slipping? No. The difference comes from the size of the cities included. Last year the list addressed the 40 largest American cities; this year they took in the top 50, allowing newcomer Minneapolis to vault into #1 position. All the others in the top 10 are the same. Here are some Portland’s stats, according to the ParkScore findings. 80% of Portlanders live within one-half mile of a park. The city spends $159 per year on parks for each      resident. Median park size is almost 5 acres. Parks make up 16% of the area of the city. For every 10,000 residents, we’ve got 2 playgrounds. Read the entire post at Portland Monthly Magazine | Published Jun 12, 2013 | By Kristin Belz Renaissance Homes is an award winning Street of Dreams custom home builder specializing in green building, remodeling and renovations for the Portland market. Visit...

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Portland attractions offer something for everyone

Renaissance Homes welcomes you home to the Rose City. It’s a blast building environmentally friendly homes with the latest technologies and the charm of yester-year in Portland, Oregon — and its surrounding suburbs. Courtesy of TravelPortland.com, enjoy this list of fine attractions in the city the doesn’t sleep — yes, the popular coffee shops help. Get lost celebrating the beautiful and vibrant city.   Powell’s City of Books From humble storefront beginnings in 1971, Powell’s has grown into a Portland landmark and one of the world’s great bookstores. Covering an entire city block, Powell’s City of Books contains more than 1.5 million books in 3,500 different sections. Get a cup of joe at the in-store coffee shop, grab a map to the nine color-coded rooms, and lose yourself in the largest used and new bookstore on Earth. Open 9 a.m.-11 p.m., 365 days a year; free. 1005 W. Burnside St. 503.228.4651 Lan Su Chinese Garden A year-round wonder, the Lan Su Chinese Garden is an authentically built Ming Dynasty style garden. Covered walkways, bridges, pavilions and a richly planted landscape frame a picturesque lake in this urban oasis built by artisans from Portland’s sister city of Suzhou. Public and audio tours are available, and the garden’s teahouse serves light snacks and traditional teas. Lan Su hosts many events, including a two-week Chinese New Year celebration and summer concerts. Open daily; admission charged. Northwest Third Avenue and Everett Street 503.228.8131 Portland Saturday Market Enjoy a distinctive experience at Portland Saturday Market, the nation’s largest weekly open-air arts and crafts market. Stroll down row upon row of unique creations made by the people who sell them, and enjoy live music and international snacks. Located in Waterfont Park, at the Skidmore Fountain MAX station. Make a $25 purchase and receive a free...

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Neighborhood Profile: Historic Alphabet District in NW Portland

The Northwest District is a unique blend of retail and residential in the Northwest section of Portland. Craftsman and Old Portland-style houses co-mingle with grand old apartment buildings and sleek new condominiums, within walking distance of an extensive array of restaurants, bars, and shops. The Portland Streetcar terminates here, connecting the district to the Pearl District and Downtown Portland. The district stretches west to east from the base of the West Hills (Tualatin Mountains) to I-405 (between NW 15th and 16th avenues), and north to south from NW Nicolai St. and the Willamette River to W Burnside St. It borders the neighborhoods of Forest Park and Hillside on the west, Northwest Industrial on the north, the Pearl District on the east, and Goose Hollow on the south. This part of Portland is known more by names for various streets and areas within it than by its official name. These include: NW 23rd Ave. Dubbed Trendy-third, this major shopping street is lined with swanky clothing boutiques and other upscale retail, mixed with cafes and restaurants. This area is also known as Uptown (particularly its southern end near W Burnside St.) and includes Nob Hill (centered on NW 23rd Ave. and NW Lovejoy St.). NW 21st Ave. The neighborhood’s other main commercial district is a dining and entertainment destination, with popular restaurants, an independent film theater, and numerous bars, pubs, and nightclubs. The Alphabet Historic District, an area zoned for historic preservation running roughly from NW 24th Ave. to NW 2nd Ave., and from NW Vaughn St. to W Burnside St. It is named for the alphabetical progression of street names in the area. The Historic Alphabet was platted in 1865 by sea captain John Couch and officially put on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. There are four...

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Top 10 things to do in Lake Oswego this June

It’s June and summertime has arrived to the beautiful city hugging Oswego Lake. It’s time to get out and celebrate and there are plenty of activities on tap this month. Renaissance Homes enjoys building homes in the vibrant city filled with culture. Our headquarters is also located here. Here are some inexpensive ideas to keep you busy this June in beautiful Lake Oswego: 1. Attend Festival of the Arts: The city’s signature festival put on by the Lakewood Center for the Arts, brings approximately 30,000 visitors to George Rogers Park and the Lakewood Center each June. Stop by June 21, 22 or 23, 2013, and enjoy art classes, thousands of pieces of art on display, educational exhibits from international artisans, live music and more than 80 art vendors sharing their talents. 2. Shop the Farmers’ Market: On Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. visit Millennium Plaza Park at 200 First Street and pick up fresh produce, meats, nuts, cheeses, sweet treats, artisan breads, jams and jellies – you name it. The European style market showcases more than 80 vendors each week through mid-October.   3. Walk the Gallery Without Walls: Enjoy the city’s outdoor art museum by touring its Gallery Without Walls exhibition. The more than 60 unique sculptures installed around Lake Oswego celebrate creativity and innovation. The rotating sculptures are on-loan from artists of national and international acclaim for a two-year period and are for sale. Download your free brochure here from the Arts Council of Lake Oswego and start walking: www.lofa.org/brochures/ACLO-GWW13.pdf. 4. Hit the green: The Lake Oswego Public Golf Course and practice range at 17525 SW Stafford Road is fun for the whole family. And its 18th green was just enlarged and refinished – now measuring 130 yards – for a stronger finish. And after your...

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Explore Sherwood this summer

We think Robin Hood himself would agree – Sherwood is full of adventure. Explore the city this summer and learn why Renaissance Homes continues to build environmentally friendly homes in the family-friendly city. The 26-lot Renaissance at Rychlick Farm neighborhood recently opened off SW Edy Road and features generously sized home surrounded by greenspace. And with so many community events – such as the Robin Hood Festival – coming up, it’s no wonder why the community attracts such go-getters. Here are some inexpensive ideas to keep you – and your “merry men” – busy this summer in Sherwood: Sherwood Saturday Market: Taking place at Cannery Square Plaza next to the city’s library on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from now through September, the market offers local produce, gourmet food and quality artisans. Live music provides a vibrant soundtrack to your shopping experience from vendors such as Big O’s Pizza, Farmhouse Flowers, Lucy’s Tropical Juice and Coritas Medixan Food. Visit http://sherwoodmarket.blogspot.com for more information. Cruisin’ Sherwood: The popular 23rd annual Cruisin’ Sherwood classic and custom car show June 8 features 550+ hot rods, classics, collector and custom cars, all proudly displayed outside in downtown Sherwood. The family-friendly event features music for the kids, unique vendors, arts and crafts projects, a beer garden and more. For more information, visit http://cruisinsherwood.com. Music on the Green: Taking place at Stella Olsen Memorial Park on Wednesdays, the 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. concert series will kick off July 11 with ’80s hits from Radical Revolution. Food, beer and wine will be available. For more information and the complete schedule, visit www.musiconthegreen.net. Robin Hood Festival: Taking place July 19 and 20 in Old Town Sherwood, the Robin Hood Festival has been the city’s signature event for 60 years. Dress up and enjoy medieval re-enactments, Maid Marian’s Court,...

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Neighborhood Profile: Artsy & fun in Alberta Arts District

Alberta Arts, a neighborhood with beautiful homes and a thriving arts community. Everywhere you look, from coffee shops and restaurants to clothing boutiques are filled with local artists showcasing their work. For the most part, art is displayed in stores, rather than in galleries for artists to get their work noticed within the community. The Alberta Arts District was first settled in 1872 when the town of Albania was plotted by Edwin Russell and William Page. Alberta was thought to be named after Princess Alberta or the Canadian province named after her. In 1891, Albania and Alberta Street was annexed into the city of Portland. Alberta is not technically a neighborhood, but a street that spans about 20 blocks. It is usually defined as a neighborhood because it has unique and unifying qualities that lets it stand alone as its own district. Some of the aspects that sets the Alberta Arts district apart is their sense of community pride and appreciation of creativity. To show their pride, every last Thursday during the summer months, the Alberta Arts District throws a block party named accordingly “Last Thursday.” It has grown so large that it has people coming from far and wide to take part in this event. Last Thursday has everything from fire dancers, to live music, to free food carts. Staying true to the street name, an abundance of local artists also gather here to showcase and sell their work. There is something for everyone, young and old in this street fair. Although most art in Alberta is displayed in unconventional ways, there are a few art galleries located along Alberta Street. One gallery that represents Alberta Arts well is Ampersand, a vintage bookstore, gallery and retail store. The overlying theme of the store is language, both written and...

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10 neighborhood homebuyer magnets

John Donne wrote that “No man is an island.” If he had been a real-estate broker, rather than a 17th-century English poet, he might have added that no house is, either. Context is everything, and neighborhoods matter. According to a National Association of Realtors survey released in November, homebuyers say that the quality of a neighborhood (cited by 67% of respondents) was the biggest factor in determining where in a given area they would buy. The next top responses were affordability (45%) and convenience to family and friends (39%). Here are 10 factors to keep in mind. 1. Access to transportation The ability to get to and from their neighborhood easily is important to homebuyers. The NAR study found that being near public transportation is important to 8% of buyers. That increases to 20% for buyers in urban or central neighborhoods. In addition, 49% of homebuyers say that finding a house convenient to where they work influenced their neighborhood choice. 2. Good schools School-district quality influenced the neighborhood choice of 27% of homebuyers in the NAR survey. That jumped to 55% for buyers with children younger than 18 but dropped to 13% for buyers without kids. 3. Nearby amenities In a recent Coldwell Banker survey of real-estate agents, 68% say that their baby boomer clients sought proximity to restaurants and shops when looking for a home. Access to staples such as grocery stores and dry cleaners is important in suburban and exurban neighborhoods, as well. 4. Area architecture In some neighborhoods, historical or architecturally significant homes can be a big draw for certain homebuyers. The NAR survey found that home design in a neighborhood is a consideration for 32% of homebuyers. 5. Reputation Buzz about a neighborhood can translate into buyer interest and higher sale prices, real-estate agents say....

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Portland Ranked 8th Best City to Trick or Treat

Kids love it – the candy, the costumes, the laughter and the fun. It’s Halloween! Zillow recently announced its top Trick or Treat Towns for 2012 and Portland made the Top 10! San Francisco Boston Honolulu Seattle San Jose Chicago Los Angeles Portland Philadelphia Washington These cities provide the most candy with the least walking and safety risks for kids. The list also broke down the top neighborhoods within each city. Did your block made the list? Better be prepared with extra candy! Portland’s Top 5 neighborhoods are as follows: Laurelhurst Alameda Mt Tabor Beaumont-Wilshire Sellwood/Moreland Methodology There is a common belief that wealthy neighborhoods are the Holy Grail for harvesting the most Halloween candy. However, to provide a more holistic approach to trick-or-treating, the Zillow Trick-or-Treat Index was calculated using four equally weighted data variables: Zillow Home Value Index, population density, Walk Score and local crime data from Relocation Essentials. Based on those variables, the Index represents cities that will provide the most candy, with the least walking and safety risks. Read the entire post at Zillow | Posted October 15, 2012 | By Camille Salama Renaissance Homes is an award winning Street of Dreams custom home builder specializing in green building, remodeling and renovations for the Portland market. Visit our Design Studio to personalize your next home. Awarded the Portland Homebuilder’s Association 2011 “Builder of the Year.” Pumpkin image courtesy of...

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First ever non-profit bar opening in Woodlawn

When construction started for our new Ainsworth on NE Dean, we were excited to become a part of such a unique, up-and-coming neighborhood. We couldn’t have picked a better time to do so either, as the neighborhood is about to make history with the opening of the first ever non-profit bar. Although the bar won’t open until sometime this fall, their sign proclaiming, “Have a pint, change the world,” is already making an impact. This isn’t just a first for Oregon, but the entire United States! The project has been in the making for nearly two years and is set to open this fall. Ryan Lassi, head of the project, has renovated the downstairs of a 100-year old building on NE Dekum below The Village Ballroom. So far, the entire project has been powered by volunteers and Lassi plans to keep it that way. Aside from a few paid positions such as a head chef, manager and a few other paid positions, the bar will rely on volunteers to run the business and bring Lassi’s vision to life. The pub will truly be a gift that keeps on giving. A place for the community to come eat, drink and have a good time, all while giving back to the community surrounding it. Patrons will be able to pick from a list of seven different local charities to donate to. Saari grew up in Portland and has been living in the Woodlawn neighborhood for a few years. In 2010 he explained that he wanted “the pub to reflect the attitude of neighboring businesses, who all seem to demonstrate a desire to be involved in the community,” and he has stood by this very idea to this day. The Oregon Public House believes it has the potential to make up to...

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Pearl District Named To Top Public Spaces Around World

Every community needs a commons where people can gather as friends, neighbors and citizens. This can be a grand public square, a humbleMain Streetor a vacant lot with a few handmade benches where locals sit down for conversation. Or even a bridge, beach or bus station, as the examples below. What’s important are the connections made among people, which can lead to wonderful things: friendships, love affairs, partnerships that flower into new ideas for businesses or community projects. Project for Public Spaces, a New York-based group that works around the world helping citizens boost the sense of community in their neighborhoods, compiled a comprehensive catalog of more than 600 of the best public spaces around the world. Here is a selection of some of the most inspiring, many of them very modest and in surprisingly humble locations. Balboa Park – San Diego, California An oasis of tropical nature in the midst of a busy city, this splendid city park is home of the internationally known San Diego Zoo. Bleecker Street – New York City Once the undisputed capital of American Bohemia, this street is still a wonder to stroll with one-of-a kind small shops and inviting cafés. Along withSan Francisco’sNorthBeach, this is the birthplace of coffee shops in the U.S. Cai Rang Floating Market  – Cai Thao, Vietnam Just like it sounds—vendors sell food, flowers and everything else from boats in theMekong River. Charles Bridge – Prague, Czech Republic A beloved gathering point that offers great views of the city and is a scene in itself. Covent Garden – London, England A market hall surrounded by bustling pedestrian streets,CoventGardens is one of the world’s leading venues for street performers as well as opera productions. French Quarter – New Orleans, Louisiana Colonial Spanish architecture, great local food and music, plus the highest concentration of colorful characters...

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Lake Oswego Named To 10 Best Towns For Families

Lake Oswego is one of Family Circle’s 10 Best Towns for Families. The communities featured in the magazine’s annual roundup of perfect places to call home combine affordable housing, good neighbors, green spaces, strong public school systems and giving spirits. The results of the comprehensive survey appear in Family Circle’s August 2012 issue. This year’s 10 Best Towns for Families are: Bay Village, Ohio Lake Oswego, Oregon Vail, Arizona Fishers, Indiana Ballwin, Missouri Louisville, Colorado Longmeadow, Massachusetts Fort Mill, South Carolina Zachary, Louisiana Oak Park, Illinois “Lake Oswego is pleased to be nationally recognized for several of its outstanding qualities – schools, beautiful parks and open space, and charming neighborhoods,” said David Donaldson, City Manager. “It’s an honor to be one of the Best Towns for Families and be among this special group of communities.” Lake Oswego, Oregon Stats Population: 36,396 Median Income: $83,397 Median Home Price: $361,317 Households with Kids: 30% Student/Teacher Ratio: 22:1 Great Schools Rating: 10 Beth Taylor, 53, rarely travels far from this scenic Portland suburb for family vacations. She and husband Mitch, a 52-year-old tech firm executive, along with kids Grant, 18, and Margaret, 9, have hiked in the Cascades, skied at Mount Hood and floated down the McKenzie River—all just a two- or three-hour drive away. The Taylorscan also get their nature fix by walking out the front door, since their home borders a 645-acre forest known as Tryon Creek State Park. “When you’re on the trails, it’s easy to forget that you live anywhere near a city,” says Beth. But what she appreciates most about Lake Oswego is its caring citizens. To make up for school budget cuts, parents raised more than $2 million last year to hire teachers and keep classes small. And when Grant was hurt during a football game...

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Portland: #2 City to Live Car Free

Several factors make a city easy to live in without a car. The most important one is a widely available and efficient public transportation system. Another is having daily amenities, such as groceries, shopping, schools and entertainment, nearby and within easy reach on foot or by bicycling. The best cities have both features. Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton Transit coverage: 83.5% (13th highest) Service frequency (minutes): 7.4 (8th lowest) Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 39.9% (16th highest) Walk score: 66.3 (13th highest) Commuters who bike: 2.23% (2nd highest) Portland is such a good place for people to live without a car due to both its public transit system and the ease of walking and biking around the city. The metropolitan area is served by TriMet, which in addition to other services offers a Free Rail Zone — a region that includes most of downtown Portland and where light rail and streetcar rides are always free. The city has a number of benefits for bike riders, including designated bike-only areas at traffic signals and free bike lights. It has the second highest rate of commuters who ride bikes to work in the country. Read more: The Best Cities to Live in Car...

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Neighborhood Profile: Lively eateries in Buckman

The location, the nature, as well as the local businesses and schools make Buckman one of the most popular neighborhoods in the Portland area. The quiet residential streets, with the close proximity to an abundance of local shops, gives this neighborhood the best of both worlds. The Buckman neighborhood was named after Cyrus Buckman. He was a late 19th century orchardist, as well as a city council and school board member. Buckman was one of the very first east Portland neighborhoods to become populated. Today, Buckman is a lovely tree lined neighborhood filled with shops and activities for everyone. With the great night-life and activities in the Buckman neighborhood, there is little need to take the 5 minute drive to downtown Portland. Buckman has everything covered, from thrift shops, to adventurous eateries, as well as the outdoorsy type. Voodoo Donuts has become a world famous donut shop, being featured on the Food Network and countless “Top Ten Must See” lists. The second location, Voodoo Donuts, Too!, is located in Buckman. They are well known for their Maple Bacon donuts, vegan treats and an experience that is just as great as their donuts.  Another great find is Montage, a hidden treasure that has become a favorite to all Portland residents. The menu ranges from rock shrimp pesto linguini to alligator jambalaya and their famous foil sculptures out of your leftovers! Colonel Summer Park is a popular hang out for the Buckman residents. The 5.88 acre park includes a picnic area, playground and many sports fields for all to enjoy. The best place for all your sport and adventure needs is Next Adventure; a new and used outdoor equipment and apparel store for all types of adventures at the lowest prices. Their store is lined top to bottom with great deals...

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Piedmont Neighborhood Profile: Friendly & Rosey

Piedmont is known as a friendly neighborhood. The locals say that in this neighborhood, people are more inclined to talk to one another at their local coffee shop and greet their neighbors by name. The age difference also encompasses the friendly feel of the neighborhood.  There is not a distinct age group in this area, from large families to elderly to college students; there is something special for everyone at any age in the Piedmont neighborhood. The Piedmont neighborhood was platted in 1889 by Edward Quackenbush. It was first promoted as “The Emerald, Portland’s Evergreen Suburb, Devoted Exclusively to Dwellings, A Place of Homes.” Back in the 1920’s, this title held true, with Piedmont being just a small suburb of Portland. More recently, the neighborhood has grown into a more developed area. Although dominated by residential areas, Piedmont has easy access to major commercial areas such as Alberta and Mississippi and less than a ten minute drive to downtown Portland. Peninsula Park is the portion of the Piedmont neighborhood that stands out. With the park, garden and community center within the premises, this area encompasses plenty of history behind it. Peninsula Park includes an assortment of activities; from the variety of sports fields to the second oldest playground in Portland to the historic bandstand that was built back in 1912. The park still contains portions of its original features; including the original lantern-style street lights, stone pillars, brickwork and the fountain in the center of the rose garden that is almost 100 years old. The expansive rose garden also shares the land with the park. With 8,900 plantings and 65 varieties of roses, this garden helped Portland earn the title of “The City of Roses.” Not only does Piedmont have a historic park and garden, but a community center...

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Neighborhood Profile: Fun and funky Hawthorne

Hawthorne is well known as a fun and funky neighborhood in the Portland area. It has also become a hot spot for entertainment. The district is filled with unique coffee shops, bars and antique shops that one would be unable to find anywhere else. With the great nightlife in this neighborhood, residents see little need to take the few minutes drive to downtown Portland for evening activities. One of the main attractions to this area is Powell’s Books, a new and used book store with a wide selection of over 200,000 books. This location has grown to be the largest bookstore on Portland’s East side and a popular hangout for the Hawthorne residents. Another attraction that draws Portlanders to this area is the Bagdad Theater, a landmark in this area. The Bagdad Theater is a renovated old-time theater that still has its original 1920’s charm. Guests of the Bagdad Theater enjoy $3 movies while eating freshly baked pizza and handcrafted ale. Hawthorne not only has local businesses that set them apart from the rest, but the people in this area have a great sense of community pride. This is evident in the annual event called the Hawthorne Street Fair. The street fair caters to over 80 merchants, food and craft vendors, free movies, kid friendly festivities, live music and local artists and has people coming far and wide to take part this event. The Hawthorne Bridge is a truss bridge with a vertical lift that spans the Willamette River, connecting Hawthorne Boulevard with Madison Street. It is the oldest highway bridge in Portland and the oldest operating vertical-lift bridge in the United States. With over 4,800 cyclists and 800 Trimet buses passing over daily, this bridge has the heaviest traffic flow in comparison to other Portland bridges. This 1,382 foot...

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University Park Neighborhood Profile: Close-in and quiet

University Park is known as a quiet area with residents who love to get out and enjoy the outdoors. University Park has a few coffee shops and other local businesses, but is mainly a small town with most of its area covered with parks and residential areas. The 13 minute drive to downtown Portland lets the residents of the University Park neighborhood have access to the spacious parks, as well as the downtown activities. The University Park neighborhood was named after the University of Portland, U of P, established in 1901. The neighborhood is home to the U of P, but isn’t the typical college town. The neighborhood has more a laid back feel than most other areas in Portland. The Willamette Boulevard bluff runs along the outer edge of the University Park neighborhood. There is constant activity going on in this area, with joggers, bikers and walkers taking advantage of the territorial views of the Willamette River. The U of P is a private Catholic college with 3,700 students who focus on three central elements: teaching and learning, faith and formation and service and leadership. U of P is a highly ranked college, winning numerous awards in academics, women’s soccer and sustainability. For the 16th consecutive year, the U of P received a top-10 ranking by U.S. News & World Report, in its “2011 America’s Best Colleges” publication. The University is ranked 9th out of 125 institutions listed in the “Regional Universities – West” classification. University Park is also an 11.26 acre park popular among college students, dogs and families. The park includes a picnic area, playground and sports fields appealing to all. The University Park community center holds many events and programs in its facility. The center includes indoor basketball courts, community center, computer lab, fitness room, weight...

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Alameda Neighborhood Profile: A Promenade of Trees

The name “Alameda” stems from the Spanish word for cottonwood tree: “Alamo.” It specifically means a public walk or promenade lined with poplar trees. To this day, Alameda lives up to its name as a neighborhood with streets lined with trees. The Alameda neighborhood was established in 1859 when William and Isabelle Bowering claimed the land. This area was originally known as Gravelly Hill Road for a gravel pit located at NE 33rd and Fremont. In 1909, the neighborhood was annexed into the city of Portland and the Alameda Land Company laid out the Alameda Park subdivision. One of the many reasons residents love this neighborhood is for its small town feel, though located less than a 10 minute drive to downtown Portland. Locals appreciate the views of downtown Portland, Willamette River and the views of the Cascades from Alameda Ridge. Alameda has local parks and a community garden open for the public to use and enjoy. A major park located just outside the neighborhood is Wilshire Park. It spans 14.4 acres filled with picnic areas, off-leash dog area, playground, soccer and softball fields and volleyball courts.  Residents know Wilshire as the best place to bring their kids and dogs for a day in the park. Another outdoor attraction is the Alameda Ridge and Stairs. This “urban-hike” takes you on a tour of the Alameda area typically unseen by the residents. The hike is a 4.4 mile loop covering many hidden public stairways in the neighborhood. For directions to the trail, see the Metro website. Renaissance Homes is proud to be building new vintage style homes in the SE Portland Alameda neighborhood. Visit us today and become a part of this historic community. History compiled by Macey...

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