Summer put up a fight well into October this year, and I certainly took advantage of outdoor opportunities like hiking in the Columbia River Gorge and food cart lunch dates downtown, but then winter hit Portland like a freight train. It's been a little rainy and bitterly cold for the last few weeks, and the great outdoors just isn't very appealing right now.
I like to combat cabin fever by taking classes in the winter months. Living in a city like Portland means there's a plethora of ways for me to expand my horizons (and skill sets). This year I've been taking sewing classes at PCC. I went from completely useless at sewing to kind of able to actually do it in just a few weeks of classes, and I got some rad new clothes out of it, too. I've also really enjoyed classes at Let It Bead, where I learned how to make all kinds of funky jewelry. I also take real estate classes that teach me how to be a better agent for you, but these aren't nearly as fun as clothing and jewelry.
Portland is also known as one of the coffee capitals of the universe, and you can find cozy cafes with great warm beverages on every street in the city. If you're one of those crazy nuts like me who never acquired the taste for coffee, I suggest the Bourbon Furnace cocktail available at most McMenamins pubs. (You're welcome.)
How do you combat cabin fever?
People who have never been here often ask me if Portland is anything like the satirical comedy Portlandia. Of course it is, or the jokes wouldn't make any sense. Maybe they don't make any sense anyway, but that's one of my favorite things about this place. It's okay not to make sense sometimes.
I usually tell people that Portlandia is as much a documentary as it is a satire. Portlanders revel in their otherness. We want to Keep Portland Weird, after all. If you want the Portlandia life, you can definitely find it here — but you don't have to, either. We celebrate differentness and individual creative expression in Portland, but along with that mindset comes the philosophy that you can live however you want — even traditionally — and that's okay here. If you want a white picket fence and two-and-a-half kids to put in your minivan, that fits in, too.
You can't live in Portland without at least a little bit of the Portlandia experience — you will likely get passed on the sidewalk by a bagpipe-playing unicyclist, or by a hipster walking his pig — but we'll welcome you to our city even if you don't commute by skateboard or sport purple hair.
You're probably aware of Portland's many nicknames: Rose City, Stumptown, Portlandia, Bridgetown, Beervana…each has its own significance in our city's lore, but one that may not make sense to you is Rip City. Why Rip City? What does Rip City mean?
Originally, it didn't mean anything, but it quickly gained great significance for Portland Trailblazers fans. In the Blazers' inaugural season, in a 1970 home game against the Lakers, Jim Barnett hit a game-tying long-distance jumper. The crowd erupted and announcer Bill Schonely yelled "RIP CITY!" Schonely admits it just came out — and colleagues encouraged him to keep using the phrase. In the 44 seasons since that moment, "Rip City" has become synonymous with Portland Trail Blazes Basketball, and the city of Portland itself.
Not every Portlander is a Blazers nut, but you wouldn't know that from inside the Moda Center. It's a truly magical environment, and while I admit some bias here, I do believe Blazer fans make up the best crowds in all of sports. The Blazers are our only major professional sports team, and we love them dearly. (Portland also has the Timbers and the Thorns of professional men's and women's soccer, but as far as "Big Four" sports, it's just Blazers here.) Inside the arena and all aound the city, Blazers fans make up a really wonderful community — a community now known as Rip City.
I would love to take you shopping for your next home — I can't wait, in fact, and I bet you're excited, too. But before you even start browsing the listings, you need to get pre-approved for your home loan. You've probably heard this from a thousand different sources, and it may seem like I'm beating a dead horse, but I cannot stress this enough — shopping for a home before you get your mortgage approved is a fast path to heartbreak. I know from experience.
When I was shopping for my home two years ago, before I was a Realtor, I heard the same advice: GET PRE-APPROVED! But I ignored it like a chump, because I'd already bought homes before. My credit was established and I knew what I could afford. Can we just look at houses, please? Turns out, the market is a lot different than it was the last time I got a mortgage. I thought I was any bank's dream borrower — the banks thought otherwise. In fact, they wouldn't even consider me. Since the financial crisis, the banks have adopted some very tight requirements for loans — and I didn't meet them. I learned this only after I'd made an offer on a home to which I'd become quite attached. The seller had other offers and wasn't interested in waiting for me to come up with the money some other way. I didn't get the house. This is a truly heartbreaking experience, and I want to protect my clients from it.
Even if you think you know what you can afford, verify it with your lending institution. The rules have probably changed since the last time you did this. The market is competitive right now. If you are going up against other buyers, you need to prove to the seller that you are able to close the deal.
Call or email me if you have questions about getting pre-approved. I can refer you to a mortgage broker who will help you get all your ducks in a row before you start shopping. Then when you find the home you want, we can write an offer and move forward swiftly.
On my first visit to Oregon in late 2007, I could not take my eyes off Mount Hood, unless it was to gape at Mount St. Helens, or maybe Adams or Jefferson. I grew up in the mountains of Virginia — what I've since learned native Oregonians would refer to as "foothills." The Blue Ridge Mountains were the backdrop of the first two-plus decades of my life. I'd traveled to the Rockies as well, and to me they seemed to stand above the west the way that the Blue Ridge stood above the east — only pointier.
The Cascades are different, though. The volcanic peaks that rise high above the rest of the mountain range every 50 miles or so are like giants. The Rockies are taller, sure, but they're ALL tall. Oregon's peaks are exceptional because of the way they stand alone. I've always thought that Mount Hood seems to stand guard over Portland. This mountain is, in my opinion, the most stunning element of our gorgeous city.
Over time, I fell in love with nearly everything about Portland, but it was Mount Hood that drew me here, 2800 miles from the Blue Ridge foothills I once called home. A view of the mountain was a prerequisite for my home here in Oregon. It doesn't always show itself from behind the clouds, but on clear mornings when I first wake up to see the sun rising behind Hood, it still takes my breath away, seven years after my first encounter.