We arrived in March 14 to begin our hunt for housing in Portland! We dug right in.
The plan is to visit apartment buildings first, decide on which we would choose should we think an apartment is the way to go. Parameters are 1500 square feet (plus or minus), 2 bedrooms minimum, two bathrooms (gotta be comfy for guests), a balcony ( I need my outdoor space:), within 15 minute drive o the grandbabies! THEN we will look at houses to rent – same parameters with a backyard instead of balcony, 3 bedrooms, two living spaces.
We first looked at Harrison Towers ( has 3 beds, 2 baths, huge LR to fit Gramd Piano, 3 balconies with spectacular 25th floor views of the river, hills and Mt St Helens, and a pool! It’s at the top of our range, but they’re giving us one month free which brings the average down to our budget. The Streetcar stop is directly out front, which could eliminate our need for two cars, 4 blocks from the river – where all weekend festivals are held) and 5 blocks to Saturday markets. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8A7s7E0DV5o
Second stop was the Ladd Apartments. They were beautiful, with a concierge, on SW Park next to the Sat marketplace and PSU, 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, but a small living space – no room for the Grand. It was similar in price, a little more grand wit the finishes, but much less space. Another thing Jim has a problem with ( me not so much), is the new, open concept kitchen/great room idea. I think it looks really sharp, but in reality, you would have to keep the kitchen spotless!
Then, we saw 2121 Belmont. On previous tips, I have looked at the Belmont and Harrison properties, and Belmont was my dream. Isn’t it funny how out of sight and out of mind sort of gives you a grander image of a place than what it really is!?! It is a very modern, open concept apartment. We were unable to see the one we would get, and it’s difficult to visualize a space II can’t see. It is not downtown, but in a SE community, closer to the kids, but not a high rise. The prices are the same, and once again, the space is smaller. http://youtu.be/NoZJXNenIRE
We also saw a condo for rent on Burnside. we did. not like the location in a seedier area of downtown next to the soccer field. Other than that and being too small, we did like it!
On Saturday, we decided to go to Happy Valley, a community about a half hour drive away in the countryside with some brand new homes to buy or rent. Part of our search includes looking at a variety of communities, housing type options as well as different distances from the kids.
This newly built home model was a bit grandiose and overdone! We would of course choose a smaller version, but Jim couldn’t tolerate the drive out! Never knew he was such a city boy! This a particular house was probably 4000 sf and $700,000. Whew!
Sunday took us to Open House day! We looked at a floating home across from Sauvies Island (just north of Amy, but a bit far from the grands). I wanted to show Jim that FH living is a viable option. It was a very cute 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 story Floating Home, but not quite our style or location. It was good to see, though, that Something like that would be a good option for David if he should decide too move out here to be closer to us.
Next we thought we would choose a house to rent. There was an open house scheduled, and when we arrived, it was CLOSED! They probably had already rented it. We were not very hopeful regarding the “rent a house” option, as Jon had a couple of bad experiences where owners would kick him out at a moment’s notice to retake possession, so we knew we wanted to be careful who we rented from and what the situation was. In true form, I found about 10 options for houses and would either not be able to get the contact to call me back to arrange a viewing, or we would drive by the house to find a For Sale sign in front of it! There was one that was beautiful and available and close to the kids ( but not too close). It was a 2400 sf house (almost too big, if we really want to downsize), under complete renovation, keeping the beautiful old characteristics like refurbished for flooring, built ins, craftsman style with huge porch, and then all the new amenities such as a huge, new kitchen, gas fireplace, and second floor laundry room.
The problems with the Craftsman House was that it was on a super busy street, there would be construction building a new home for the next year, and in two years, they would be building a basement apartment.
Monday brought us back to apartment searching and a couple of other houses. We went to a different district called the South Waterfront. There was the Matisse. There would be a 2 bedroom available for almost the square footage we would like in April. It’s difficult to put money on an apartment sight unseen, a bit too small, only on the third floor, and a ways away from the downtown action. It was a very new area, but with few coffee shop/restaurant options, although they would be a streetcar away.
Later we saw another building, the Ardea, and like the name, was quite upscale. The apartment that we could n”make do” with was $3799 per month!!
The search continued to a few more disappointing houses, and tomorrow, we sign our lease on the winner! Wouldn’t you know it – it would be the first one I looked at last summer with Amy, one we both saw in January and the first one we looked at this trip! The Penthouse at Harrison Towers! I’m really glad that we took the time to view all the other options, as it gave us a good feel for
the area, the lifestyle we hope to have, and the knowledge of what we really wanted AND what we didn’t want!
They say moving is one of the most stressful things you will do, and it can be! But now that we haves made this decision, it should make it easier to know what to pack and what to sell when we get home. We will spend the next few days shopping for furniture and having some time at Hood River with the kids!