Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Wednesday Vignette, two pieces of wood...

I saw it as soon as I walked into the kitchen yesterday morning. I knew it was coming — those two pieces of wood that herald a significant change in my surroundings — but it was still a bit of a shock.

The house next door to us is going on the market, the house on our south side. It's a small house, like ours, and the one you see here, beyond the two pieces of wood. It's not been taken care of. It needs a lot of love. Will someone short on cash but long on energy buy it and pour their love into it? Or will one of Portland's iconic builders of cheap McMansions buy it and tear it down, replacing it with the 30-ft tall, sunlight-blocking, monstrosity allowed by city code, but not at all in keeping with the character of our modest 1940's neighborhood? These are the questions keeping me up at night...

Weather Diary, Oct 17: Hi 58, Low 42/ Precip .04"

Wednesday Vignettes are hosted by Anna at Flutter & Hum. All material © 2009-2017 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

30 comments:

  1. Oh crap! That's always scary to see. I hope it's not a monstrosity, but even more, I hope you don't get asshats for neighbors.

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    1. Both of these things are too horrible to think about. Especially because our houses are SO CLOSE.

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  2. "...Short on cash but long on energy" ... sounds like a "Danger-ous" proposition, if you know what I mean. Control your own destiny!

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    1. It's long been my plan (jokingly) to buy the property if it goes up for sale and rent it out. Annexing the back garden into mine. For (as Denise mentions below) a cutting garden, plus a real greenhouse and a potting compost area. There's only one problem. Wait, two actually. An unwilling partner and a lack of cash. Even a house in as poor a condition as that one is in will likely go for nearly $400,000.

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  3. Let's get a kickstarter campaign going for a down payment. That's your cutting garden! The Danger Garden Learning Center! (I always have such daydreams when an adjacent property goes up for sale).

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    1. Well, that could take care of one of the obstacles, I like the way you think!

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  4. Our current neighbours are having the same problem.......but it's us that are moving!!!

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  5. I like your plan about buying and using it as a rental but almost dropped my coffee when you mentioned $400,000. Time to move to Tacoma Danger!

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    1. Crazy right? Sign went up today, which means they're not painting, sweeping, pulling weeds..."as is"...ugh. May go for under $400,000...

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  6. Oh dear, perilous times ahead. It will probably sell fast in Portland's hot market so the suspense may be of short duration. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you.

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    1. Yes, I'm sure right...and thank you.

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  7. I hope the property draws buyers of the first sort, Loree! Properties in my own neighborhood are turning over with regularity as the original owners age. The best aspect of our annoying view conservation ordinance is that it effectively keeps anyone from building tall, view-blocking structures.

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    1. I spent a great deal of time yesterday reading up on some proposed changes to Portland's "in-fill" rules. They're attempting to address new construction that isn't in character with the existing neighborhood, specifically size. Thing is...no changes in our neighborhood. Why? Well I hate to sound bitter but we're not the fancy people. Who cares what happens to us, as long as the fancy neighborhoods aren't marred by development. I'm really so over Portland right now.

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  8. Someone is going to see your garden and fall in love with the streetscape. I predict at least some thoughtfully minded homeowners. Maybe not true gardeners, but your house and garden will be an amazing, hip selling point and the new owners will rise to the challenge!!

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    1. Now that the sign is up (no listing yet, just the realtors name) and I see how very little they've done to prep the home I feel more certain than ever they're appealing to the tear down market.

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  9. House to the east of us is about to go on the market. Luckily we haven't seen the teardown problem near us, so I think we're ok. But the original owners are moving out after 60 years. I am worried about an empty house next to me indefinitely as winter comes on. One hopes potential buyers will be inspired by your house and see the possibilities.

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    1. What little hope I have is dwindling. The realtor seems to specialize in foreclosures and tear downs.

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  10. I'll envision a young couple or retirees downsizing who love to garden!

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  11. Ugh - I know the feeling... I get that panic attack every time a house goes up for sale on our block, too. If I were you, I would talk to the seller, and tell them that they will likely get more through a bidding war between "regular" buyers (if there is such a thing anymore, with the prices we have) than what any profit hungry developer would be willing to fork over. In other words, wait for the right buyer, and tolerate bank financing rather than go for cash. My fingers are crossed for you and the other neighbors on the block.

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    1. But the problem is if an unmaintained property doesn't qualify for a bank loan, then the only option is a cash buyer, a developer. Hoping for a good outcome for you Loree -- good neighbors and the house to stay put. It's a very valid concern. I have a McMansion behind me to the east now, blocking us from ever viewing a sunrise from our home again.

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    2. Oh Anna...you're a dreamer. All the seller cares about is getting the most money they can as fast as they can. The only thing that's been done to prep the house is to haul away the junk inside (no paint, no weeding of the driveway, no sweeping of the sidewalk, no cutting down of the dead tree branches hanging perilously). They want to sell quick and don't give a rats ass about the neighborhood.

      Julie: we weathered the construction of two McMansions behind us, with an angry vindictive developer. I'm fearing the worst.

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  12. I agree, I hope you get good neighbors... we have an empty lot (about an acre) across our easement driveway that's all overgrown with nobody living there, the neighbors complain all the time about it but then I tell them what could go in there.... that stops the complaining for a few a few weeks... I'm always worried that they will sell to a developer and put about 8+ places...

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    1. Yep, that parcel sounds ripe for the plucking and you're tight about what would probably go in.

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  13. I'll keep my fingers crossed for a nice couple to move in and show interest in gardening. It could happen...

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  14. I know you've been dreading it. It's like the lottery. It is within the realm of possibilities that it'll turn out just fine. Keeping my fingers crossed!

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    1. Thanks Gerhard. Are you sure you and Heather don't need a rental in Portland? I could manage it for you!?

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  15. A couple of years ago we had a "problem house" on the corner due to an elderly owner without the resources to care for the home having health issues and some extremely sketchy relatives moving in while she was in a nursing home. Even before the thieving drug addicts moved in, the house was literally falling apart -- the back porch was precariously hanging off of the house, held on by ivy, and it was filled with rubbish. Eventually, she sold the place and it was a total teardown. It was purchased by crap developers and they did a shitty job with shitty materials replacing it. But the family that purchased it (at an astronomical rate, of course, for what they got) is pretty awesome, and they've slowly been getting the garden into shape and are an asset to the neighborhood. All this to say, all hope is not lost, even if it ends up going that way. I will keep my fingers crossed for you! Also, I did not know that all parts of the city weren't going to be part of the new in-fill rules... what a crap deal for most of Portland.

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