Blog :: 02-2016

Five Questions on Friday with Portland Edible Gardens, Spring Edition

This week for 5 Questions on Friday, we wanted to check back in with Ian Wilson, the owner of Portland Edible Gardens. Last October, he gave us some great ideas about how to put our beds to rest. This week, he gave us 5 things to do to help get your vegetable garden ready for Spring:

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  1. Do some spring cleaning! This means raking up old leaves or mulch, pulling any vegetable leftovers from Fall/Winter, and weeding ahead of any planting.  A ground covering is very helpful in the Winter to protect your soil from erosion and compaction, but in the spring it's time to expose that bare soil and let the ground begin to warm.  Also, removing ground covering will eliminate habitat for slugs and other pests.
  2. Spread some good quality compost. Spread 1" of good quality compost for planting areas that have been productive before, or 2-3" for new planting areas, or areas with heavier clay soil.  This can be compost you have created from food scraps at home, or compost purchased from a local nursery.  If you are using home-scale compost, make sure it is finished compost.  This means it has completed the composting process and does not resemble its former life as a vegetable scrap at all.  Finished compost should be dark and crumbly and smell sweet and earthy not sour or unpleasant!
  3. Till your compost into the top 6-12" of soil.  This is best accomplished with a good quality digging fork.  It can also be accomplished with a small rototiller in larger in-ground gardens.  But tilling by hand is always the best method for causing minimal disturbance and destruction to your precious soil!  After you are done, there should be no sign of the compost on the surface, which should be thoroughly and evenly mixed into your planting area.
  4. Add a heavy dusting of certified organic granular fertilizer. Incorporate the fertilizer by raking the surface lightly until the fertilizer disappears.  While compost is an excellent addition for building the texture and "tilth" of your soil, organic fertilizers will supply many of the essential nutrients that your vegetables will also need to thrive.  There are many high quality organic fertilizers available at local nurseries.  Just make sure that they are intended for use in vegetable gardens so they have the proper balance of nutrients.  I like to use Down To Earth Biofish, or E. B. Stone Organics Tomato and Vegetable Food.  Both are available at Portland Nursery.
  5. Plant some veggies! February is a great time to plant Sugar Snap Peas, Snow Peas, and Fava Beans.  By early March, with a little sun, there are tons of veggies that can be planted.  Spinach, Arugula, and Bok Choi are great early season greens to plant.  Or if you want to grow some roots, try Radishes, Turnips, or Carrots grown from seeds!  For more guidance on when to plant what in your garden, check out this amazing planting calendar from Portland Nursery!

Happy Growing!!!

Ian Wilson

Owner, Portland Edible Gardens, LLC


Five Questions on Friday with Bethany Imhoff

This Week, Bethany Imhoff  Shared Five Things to Know About Fannie Mae's HomeReady Program

Fannie Mae is making some changes, and first-time buyers should take note. The new HomeReady program aims to help low to moderate income borrowers overcome some common barriers to home ownership. While the program is available to repeat buyers, and as an option for a rate-and-term refinance, it has some unique aspects that could be especially beneficial for first-timers. Here are some of the highlights:

  1. Your down payment can be as low as 3%, all of which can come from gift funds. Lender and seller contributions can go toward closing costs. And unlike an FHA loan--a longtime go-to for new homeowners--HomeReady does not require an upfront mortgage insurance premium.
  2. Income Pooling is allowed. Traditionally, the only income considered is from the borrower and co-borrower, if applicable. HomeReady allows more flexibility, counting the income of other relatives who may share the household.
  3. Homeownership education is a requirement. At least one borrower must complete an online course designed to prep buyers for responsible homeownership. The course lets you go at your own pace; you can work on it from your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
  4. The program is available to buyers with a credit score of at least 620. If you haven't yet established enough credit to have a credit score, you may be able to use nontraditional forms of credit, like gym memberships or utility bills.
  5. There is an income limit. In almost all cases, you may not make more than 80% of the Area Median Income. You can find these figures for the Portland metro area--and beyond--here. Exceptions will be made for properties in low-income or high-minority census tracts.


Bethany Imhoff  o  MLO-1378711

Team Banker/Client Liaison
Pacific Residential Mortgage, LLC  NMLS-1477/WA CL-1477  Equal Housing Lender o (503) 210-4289

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Credit on approval. Terms subject to change without notice. Not a commitment to lend.  Call for details.


Meet Nancy and Robert

When Nancy and I met for the first time to talk about their house hunt, we sat down in a SE children's café so her boys could run around outside while we talked about their wish list. Nancy from the beginning had a clear goal: finding a place within a great school district for her boys.

Her boys ran in and out of the café doors to check in with us, they played in a little enclosed area where we could keep our eyes on them and talk. Nancy and her husband, Robert, had had two Realtors help with the search before we met, and I wanted to make sure I was her last.

Her 5 year old seemed to approve of me being their Realtor, and asked me to go get Thai food with him; he clearly saw the way to my heart pretty quickly. Nancy and Robert just ended up being so fun to see properties with- Nancy has an ear to ear smile, and did happy jigs when she saw brand new washer and dryer sets.

The condo they closed on last month is a great fit- it has gorgeous light, a great fireplace, and it's in one of the best school districts in Oregon. I loved being their Realtor. I loved seeing their love for each other, and for their boys. And I am so happy they love their new place!

Meet Olivia and Connor

Connor and Olivia were a young, industrious couple I met last summer.  They were excited to get into property management and had done their homework.  Connor's Dad, Kevin, was willing to help them with their down payment, and after seeing several properties:  duplexes, triplexes and single family houses, we settled on a four plex that needed some love.  The seller had owned it for too long, and had let too much go on it: the roof leaked, there were leaks in the basement, it even had a leaking gas stove!

As soon as we closed, Connor and Olivia took on the project and I'm happy to report they're in the process of fixing all the deferred maintenance.  They've also kept all the pre-existing tenants, too, who are so excited to have landlords who care about the property.  It's so great to see new owners who care and are improving their property and the lives of people in their community.

Meet Qatanna & Doug

The first Saturday Qatanna and Doug had the keys to their new house, it felt like a party. The rooms were mostly empty, with the exception of expertly labeled and organized boxes in the dining room. There were only a few chairs in the living room but fifteen old friends gathering in a circle looking around the new North Portland abode.

Doug and Qatanna are good friends to have; they're friends who always show up to help out, and they're also perfect hosts. Qatanna is a trained pastry chef, but Doug is in the kitchen just as often as she is, trying out a new creation, or just whipping up his dad's famous recipe of Hobo dip. (You can't knock hobo dip until you try it- its melted cheesy goodness with a light spice and ground beef. You eat it by dipping in tortilla chips or sourdough bread, it's killer.)

Their new house is beautiful, and Qatanna and Doug have a knack of making you feel at home. They wanted a place where they could put down roots, help build community, and someday raise children.

Doug particularly likes the garage at the new house, which affords him ample room to work on his wood working projects, (he makes beautiful coffee tables and desks) and Qatanna love the kitchen and the fruit trees in the yard.  To help make it feel like home, Qatanna and Doug rescued a tiny baby kitten named Hiro, to keep their other sweet cat, Mooka company.

Happy Valentine's Day, Doug and Qatanna! We love your love for each other, and we're so happy we could help you find your new home!

Meet Amy

Amy was going through a breakup and she wanted to own something all on her own.   I was excited to help her get a fresh start.  We saw a ton of crappy houses and had almost given up when we went and looked at a house that was advertised as a "fixer".  The listing said it couldn't be financed but when we looked through it, we didn't see anything that indicated we couldn't get a loan.

We were able to convince the listing agent and the seller, and we got Amy in her new digs, with a gorgeously landscaped yard, a fully finished basement, and two bathrooms, all for $325,000.

Amy loves her new home!

5 Questions on Friday with Lovett Deconstruction

What is Lovett Deconstruction's mission?

Lovett Deconstruction is a full-service deconstruction contractor whose mission is to encourage the reuse, repurpose, and/or upcycling of quality used building materials by disassembling built structures by hand in order to preserve the material's integrity.lovett logo

Who are your clients?

Our clients include developers, builders, contractors, and homeowners - basically anyone who has a project in which they would like a building or individual rooms removed before beginning anew. In the case of an entire house being removed, we take everything down to the foundation, salvaging as much material as possible. In the case of individual rooms, such as a kitchen, we remove all of the appliances, fixtures, cabinets, countertops, doors, etc. for salvage, then remove walls and flooring back to the framing and subfloor, leaving a clean shell, ready for the remodel.

What can't be reused or repurposed?

You can find die hard DIYers find creative uses for nearly everything. That said, people don't line up to reuse or repurpose plaster or dry wall.  Items that have a potential to contain hazardous materials, such as lead or asbestos, should also be disposed of according to DEQ regulations and not be repurposed. Other than that, the sky's the limit - chimney bricks become raised garden beds, doors turn into work benches, window weights can be landscape edging, and on and on. 

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Are there regulations changes you see in the future that will be beneficial?

Actually, the construction/deconstruction industry is currently going through a radical regulation change as it relates to the disposal of building materials in the Portland metro region. Though hazardous materials has, for decades, had very specific disposal regulations, transfer stations and landfills are now requiring all loads to be tested for asbestos before being dumped. The change has come due to the increased understanding of asbestos hazards and its historical propensity to be used in every type of building material (the natural occurring mineral is amazingly heat resistant, which is a huge plus when building structures to not burn down).  New rules will benefit the environment and community, but the transition has caught many builders - and homeowners - off guard as the testing and paperwork has increased dramatically. Because waste disposal is such a large part of what Lovett Deconstruction does, we have, and will continue to, stay abreast of the changes and make sense out of the regulations for our clients.

demovsdeconWhat are you optimistic about?

Early last year the City of Portland convened a Deconstruction Advisory Group to investigate ways to incentivize deconstruction over mechanical demolition. The group recommended, and City Council approved, a grant program offering up to $2500 for deconstruction to help offset the costs vs. using a bulldozer to raze the house. Though mildly successful, there was no real uptick in full house deconstructions over demolition. In response, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability will be recommending to City Council that deconstruction be made mandatory for houses built in or before 1916.  If successful, it could keep nearly a third of Portland's demolished houses out of the landfill, as well as put used building materials back into the market. It is definitely an exciting time to be in the deconstruction industry.



5 Questions on Friday - Mom and Pop Wine Shop

Question 1. What inspired you to open a wine shop?

Actually it is more of "who" and "what". Two answers: My son and my neighborhood. In order to transition from restaurants (and nighttime employment) to a schedule which fits our family (as our son approaches kindergarten age) we needed a plan. I have been involved in wine for many years, and was sad to leave my knowledge and experience behind, but I wasn't sure there was a demand for that kind of expertise outside fine dining. So, for a long time now (the last 10 years) I've been filing ideas away about what to do next.

When we bought our home in the Roseway neighborhood of Portland, we could see our neighbors were hungry for new shopping choices. And after a few years as a stay-at home mom, I was eager to get out and meet my neighbors. We realized we could address both those issues AND contribute to the renaissance of Roseway by bringing the wine shop into fruition.storefront before

And one day, shopping at Safeway, we looked up and saw an empty storefront. It was like a hound dog catching a scent, the way we both looked across the parking lot to the space across the street. We loaded our groceries and ran over to check it out. 

Question 2. What criteria did you have for a space? How many spaces did you see before you settled on this store front?

It was old, and in need of repair, but it fit our criteria: walking distance to our home, small, visible and easily accessible. This was the only space we looked at officially! There isn't much retail space in Roseway, so when we found this one, we jumped on it. Everything was quite informal--a friend volunteered to look it over for us. This was December 2015. So instead of shopping for Christmas, I was registering my first LLC. Instead of snow that year, it was an avalanche of paperwork! 

Question 3. How did you find the program through Metro? Did you consider any other grant programs?

Our neighborhood is not part of any of the other BDS development districts' eligible grants. My landlady got a postcard about Portland Metro's Storefront Revitalization Program in the mail, (link here.)  She told me about it and we decided to pursue it. It's going to enable us to restore our storefront--signage, lighting (from partner Wells Fargo)  new paint and windows, including some transoms which were boarded up for years. I'm very proud to say that Mom & Pop Wine Shop is the first start-up business grantee in this new program. 

Question 4. What has been most surprising about the permitting and construction process? What advice would you give someone who wants to go a similar route?

We are finalizing the paperwork for construction to commence, so we have not gotten into that phase except to do some early demolition work on the exterior. What everyone says though, is that the process will take waaaay longer than you anticipate. And that is true for us, too. Being patient and learning to focus on things which you can control is crucial. We did not have the budget to hire a general contractor to remodel the interior, so I assumed that role and have been coordinating subcontractors myself. It is possible, but frustrating. After years in a customer-service intensive industry like restaurants, dealing with contractors is a rude awakening. Many, many times, my calls or emails were ignored. People would forget appointments or show up late without notice. In fact, I've joked that contrary to conventional wisdom, the City of Portland has been very helpful and responsive to my questions and needs, whereas the private contracting sector has been the thorn in my side. Overall, though, I'm very happy with the work we've been able to do on the interior--it's an amazing transformation! And I feel like I've learned so much along the way. Telina and Dan

Question 5. What are you most excited for? When is the shop set to open; and how can people purchase wine in the mean time?

I have such a clear vision in my head of how it will feel in the shop once we are open. I can't wait for the big party!!!! 

I just keep imagining opening the door to welcome all our friends and neighbors who have provided such wonderful support and council as we start our new endeavor! 

Taking a stab in the dark, I think we should be open mid-April. 

In the meantime, we launched a playful on-line shop in October featuring wine packs for free delivery in Portland.

This week we launched a new section called, Featured Artists, with three local artists' wares available alone and in distinctive Valentine Gift Packs with wine. We love the joy wine can bring to people around the dinner table and we think art is a permanent extension of that joy.