Oregon Wild is part of the Loving Room Fund, a selection of Oregon’s greatest organizations doing all kinds of work to aid people, communities and the environment. Every time Living Room Realty closes a transaction, our clients get to choose from among participants in the Loving Room Fund and a donation is made in their name.*
Sean and Kelly welcomed us over recently, and we asked them about their home, the Overlook neighborhood, and their living room.
Kelly: “I remember just seeing the photos online and thinking, ‘This is it. This is our forever home.’ The kitchen is very important to me. Cooking is my number one pastime.”
It was 2012, and there were 10 offers on the house.
Sean and Kelly’s second date:
Sean: We were hiking Table Rock, in the Table Rock wilderness (south of Portland). It was Late June—this was 5 years ago, so it was snowy that year. It hadn’t all melted off. It’s not all that long of a hike normally, but we encountered snow pretty soon….
Kelly:…and it was hot in Portland so we were in sandals, tanks tops and shorts, post-holing down in a boulder field through snow, losing the path, the trail, tons of times. It got to a point, and we had gotten so far, Sean thought we should turn around. And there’s no one else up there. I had my rain jacket wrapped around my feet for gaiters because our feet were getting so cold.
I was like ‘Hell No.’ We’ve come this far we’ve got to see the top. So we slogged on. Finally there was a dog track. We saw dog prints that we followed and basically bush-whacked our way to the top. But once we were up there we could see all… I think we could see 7 peaks, and it was totally clear and….
Sean: ….we could see the lights of Portland.
Kelly: We spent the night. Sean gave me his pants and he slept under the emergency blanket. There was something licking at our tent all night, not much sleep was had. We got down the next morning in like, 20 minutes. Once we knew the way, we could just sled down.
It was a good adventure. We had enough to know we were okay, just crazy.
We asked how it’s going now for friends who want to buy homes.
Sean: It’s a challenge for people, especially those people who are single income.
Kelly: Our friends who own homes bought them at the same time we did or before (2012). Friends who don’t already own a house are not feeling like they can find a place that’s not a total fixer or further out than they want to be.
Overlook Park Apartments: 3705 N Overlook Blvd
Sean: For us it’s not like we’re excited about this 50 unit apartment development on the park, but at the same time we understand why that’s a good spot to have that. It’s right on the MAX Line. We need density so we aren’t sprawling out like other places. [If] you don’t like the traffic now, if you focus on a car-centered culture then it’s only going to be worse in 10 years. That’s why it’s okay to build places without parking. We’re going to start encouraging people not to have cars.
Kelly: Diversity of all kinds, and having mixed incomes in the neighborhood, is something very important to us. I think the city is working on it, but that will be the biggest challenge. We really want to make sure we’re finding ways to keep new developments and existing housing as diverse as we can while respecting the history of this neighborhood.
Sean: I think the inclusionary zoning changes that happened in the legislature this year are going to help. They are going to mandate for developers to include affordable housing units in their developments. But I think it’s a mix of solutions. The city of Portland funding the prioritization of keeping people in their homes and helping people move back to neighborhoods where they grew up—I think is a really good program as well.
It’s just hard because the pressures to move prices up are not going to go away. And so how do you support neighborhoods like the Mississippi District without making them so attractive that it pushes prices up to a point where people that were living there can’t afford to live there anymore?
This year Oregon Wild is one of the recipients of the Loving Room Fund.
Sean: Things we work on at Oregon Wild are keeping unspoiled places wild and pristine.
That is sort of hand and glove with Portland’s approach to land use and not allowing sprawl. If we didn’t have our land use planning from 40 years ago, you would have seen Portland push out toward Mt. Hood, toward the Coast Range, and it would make for increasing pressures on the national forest lands.
Our neighborhood issues—they’re a little bit different. We’re talking about people and places in the city today, but Oregon Wild is more about the wild places themselves and the wildlife that live there. People get to enjoy them, but if it’s only for the benefit of people, we’re probably not doing things very well.
Kelly: I guess our living room would be our double sleeping bag, our tent, and the dog…There isn’t a specific place we return to. We try to spread out and sample different places. There’s just so many things to see and experience in Oregon. It’s so vast. And we haven’t even scratched the surface.