Here’s How to Give Experiences, Not Things, This Valentine’s Day if You Live in Lake Oswego

happy valentine's!The research is in. Experiences make you happier than things. So this Valentine’s Day, plan to do something for or with your sweetie. Here are some ideas right here in Lake Oswego.

●Valentine Poetry Slam for Teens. Whether you’re in love or thwarted by love, the Lake Oswego Library is your place to put your feelings into words. Original poems are welcome, but if you draw inspiration from Shakespeare or Taylor Swift, share that as well. February 11 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 706 Fourth Street. 503.697.6580.

●Holiday Lunch at the Adult Community Center. Enjoy a special valentine feast culminating in Red Velvet Lava Cake. It’s a cheap date! $4/ages 60+; $5/others. 505 G Avenue. Reservations: 503.635.3758. February 12 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

●Valentine Cookie Decorating for Teens in grades 6 and up. Eat your heart out while listening to sappy love songs and decorating sweet treats that you can shower on your special someone. February 13 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Lake Oswego Public Library. 706 Fourth Street. 503.697.6580.

●Art Throb. Step it up a notch and take your sweetheart out for a gala affair that benefits the Arts Council of Lake Oswego and all their fabulous programs including the Gallery Without Walls, Art Literacy programs in our schools and activities at their ARTspace. Dance to live music, enjoy dinner and a silent and live auction. Saturday, February 13 at 5:00 p.m. in the Hawthorn Room at Marylhurst University. Tickets are $125/person and available online. 17600 Pacific Highway.

●Dinner. Dining out was how 42% of last year’s Zagat’s Valentine’s Day Survey respondents said they were going to celebrate the occasion. And of those, 43% planned to try someplace new. Local restaurants like Clarke’s, Riccardo’s and La Provence are ready for you with special menus in place. With dining out such a popular option, though, best to reserve as early as you can.

●Movie. Before or after dinner, catch a movie at the Lake Theater and Café. Too soon to tell what will be showing but two things are for sure—it’s convenient and you’ll be paying less than at the Cineplex. And if you really want to make it easy, you can eat there too! 106 N. State Street.

●Theater. Valentine’s Day is your last chance to see the Lakewood Theatre Company’s production of Golden Boy. Tickets are $32/Adult; $30/Senior 65 and over; $20 Student 25 and under. Friday and Saturday, February 12-13 at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, February 14 at 2:00 p.m. 368 S. State Street. 503. 635.3901.

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5 People I’d Like to Compliment on National Compliment Day

complimentIn the spirit of National Compliment Day on January 24, I wanted to hand out some compliments to Lake Oswegans who help make Lake Oswego a great place to live.

●Nancy Nye and her staff and volunteers with the Lake Oswego Arts Council. I think our Gallery Without Walls is one of our city’s defining attributes and the Arts Council has done an excellent job of adding color, texture and topics of conversation throughout our city’s streets.

●Jeff Ward, the Lake Manager at the Lake Oswego Corporation. Jeff and his staff have gone a long way towards improving the water quality in the lake. When my kids were in grammar school, there were a couple Augusts when we’d climb out of the pools at the Lake Grove Swim Park covered in pea soup (aka algae-filled water). Luckily those days seem behind us and we owe that to careful water management.

●The Lake Oswego Parks Maintenance staff who manage to keep our street medians and rights-of-way blooming what seems like year-round. It’s an easy thing to take for granted; but when I pass the roundabout in front of the Hunt Club and see sunflowers paying homage to our summer sun, I am grateful for the folks who planted them there.

●Cyndie Glazer and the Lake Oswego Reads Steering Committee who continually deliver a top-notch community-wide reading event that ties us all together in thought and discussion. Get set to reap the rewards of all their hard work next month with a full lineup of activities.

●The late Bill Gerber and Doug Oliphant as well as Mike Darcy and Bill Warner who spearheaded the Lake Oswego Village Flower Basket program. Seeing those baskets show up in early May with just a few blooms poking over their sides is a harbinger of summer’s bounty in our town.

Anyone you’d like to give a shout-out to? Leave your compliments here.

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5 Reasons to Check out Lake Oswego’s Westridge Neighborhood

WestridgeJoanne Trask has lived in the Westridge neighborhood in Lake Oswego since 1997, and after talking to her, sounds like she doesn’t plan on moving any time soon. She’s happy there, as are many Westridge homeowners which is why Joanne explains, even when the kids grow up, a lot of people stay put.

A 2014 survey taken by the neighborhood association backs up Joanne’s claim. Of the 70 respondents, the average length of residence was 17 ½ years. Roots run deep here.

So what’s so great about Westridge?

1. The people. When you have that kind of history with a place, you tend to be more invested in making it a good place to live. That friendly atmosphere is tops on Joanne’s list of amenities. Neighbors pitch in to help keep up the Westridge playground and the neighborhood association is forming a Prep Westridge group to collectively prepare for an earthquake.

2. Natural setting. Trees create a sense of natural space throughout Westridge, and often Joanne feels like she’s walking around in a forest. “In most places the houses are subordinate to the trees,” she explains. Winding roads and pathways create an ambiance that makes you feel like somehow you’ve gotten away from it all, when actually you’re right at home.

3. Schools. Westridge is part of the award winning Lake Oswego School District with children attending Westridge Elementary, Lakeridge Junior High and Lakeridge High Schools.

4. Hills. “If you’re trying to stay in shape, this is a great place to live,” Joanne explains, with all kinds of inclines to keep your walks challenging. That’s an aspect to the neighborhood that has surprised her—how much she enjoys just getting outside and taking a hike (and that natural setting with all those trees makes it even more enjoyable). Perhaps because of the hilly terrain, there is little traffic, making the streets more pedestrian-friendly and quiet. And when it comes to snow days…there are lots of choices for sledding and if you’re like Joanne, skiing.

5. Location. Located on the southern side of Oswego Lake, Westridge offers convenient access to shopping both in the Lake Grove district as well as downtown Lake Oswego. It’s within walking distance of two parks—Westridge, located adjacent to Westridge Elementary School with a playground and soccer/softball fields, and Cooks Butte that covers 42 acres and offers soft surface trails and beautiful views. Trailheads are at Delenka Lane, Palisades Crest Drive, Westview Drive and Shipley Drive.

If you’re interested in exploring the Westridge neighborhood, please give me a call. I currently do have two houses listed that I’d be happy to show you.

This 5 bedroom 3.1 bath traditional home at 14 Dover Way is listed at $1,175,000.

This 5 bedroom 3.1 bath traditional home at 14 Dover Way is listed at $1,175,000.

Be close to Cooks Butte in this 4 bedroom, 3 bath home at 18217 Delenka Lane for $769,900.

Be close to Cooks Butte in this 4 bedroom, 3 bath home at 18217 Delenka Lane for $769,900.

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Lake Oswego Reads Kicks Off With Book Giveaway Tomorrow

LO ReadsThis year’s Lake Oswego Reads program features the first non-fiction selection: Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward S. Curtis by Timothy Egan. Curtis is credited by some with “the greatest photographic achievement in American history” as he compiled 40,000 photographs of Native Americans over a 30 year period at the turn of the twentieth century.

The subject matter lends itself to ambitious programming on many counts. Not only are there more than 35 events planned but the events themselves offer a myriad of lenses through which to view both the author’s accomplishment and the subject he studied: historical, culinary, artistic, cultural, anthropological, horticultural, scientific and philosophical. So be prepared to be enlightened, challenged, and yes, fed as you explore the lengths to which Curtis had to go to finish his work as told by a respected and award-winning chronicler of the West.

Here are a few of Lake Oswego Reads highlights:

Kickoff and Book Giveaway. The Lake Oswego Library wants you to be part of the discussion so come get your free copy of Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward S. Curtis. Enjoy soup shots and a demonstration of Ranvenstail weaving. Monday, January 11, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Lake Oswego Public Library, 706 Fourth Street. 503.675.2538.

Ticket Giveaway to Hear Author Timothy Egan. The award-winning author will be speaking at the Lake Oswego High School Auditorium on February 10 but you’ll need a ticket to get in so start lining up early at the Lake Oswego Library on ticket giveaway day, Saturday, January 23 beginning at 11:00 a.m. You’ll need your library card. Two tickets maximum per person. (Note: Some seats may be available the day of the event; however, there are no guarantees). 706 Fourth Street. 503.675.2538.

Book Discussions held on February 12 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Chuck’s Place, 148 B Avenue;  February 19 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, 505 G Avenue; and February 22 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Lake Oswego Library, 706 Fourth Street. 503.675.2538.

Ceremonial Tribal Food Sampling. Andrew Lintz, a member of the Native American Church, will utilize traditional culinary techniques to introduce you to ceremonial cuisine. Registration required. Friday, February 5 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Nic & Fig’s Makery, 425 2nd. Street, Suite 120.

Art Show Reception and Meet the Artists. See how the book, Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher, inspired local artists. Monday, February 8 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State Street. 503.675.2538.

Edward Curtis and Moral Tragedy. Lewis and Clark Philosophy Professor Dr. Joel Martinez will discuss moral issues raised in Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher. Tuesday, February 9 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Lake Oswego Library, 706 Fourth Street. 503.675.2538.

Timothy Egan: Award Winning Author Presentation. Hear the author discuss his work on Wednesday, February 10 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Lake Oswego High School Auditorium, 2501 Country Club Road. Must have a ticket to be guaranteed a seat. Free tickets will be handed out beginning at 11:00 a.m. on January 23 at the Lake Oswego Library. Those without tickets will be seated at 6:45 p.m., space permitting.

An Anthropologist’s Perspective. Despite his accomplishments, Edward Curtis’ work was not without its critics. Listen as Portland Community College Professor, Dr. William Wihr, discusses the controversy surrounding the photographer. Friday, February 12 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, 505 G Avenue. 503.675.2538.

Docent Led Tour at the Portland Art Museum: Contemporary Native Photographers. The major exhibition at the Portland Art Museum pairs many of Curtis’ photographs with those taken by contemporary Native American photographers in an effort to invite you to reflect on how the Native experience has been portrayed through the camera lens. Tuesday, February 16 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 pm. at the Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Avenue. Admission is $20 if you mention Lake Oswego Reads. RSVP: 503.675.2538.

Lake Oswego Reads Day at OMSI. A five year project in the making at OMSI, “Roots of Wisdom: Native Knowledge, Shared Science” coincides with the theme of Lake Oswego Reads. The exhibit looks at the joint contributions that traditional knowledge and western science have made to resolve ecological and health challenges. Saturday, February 20 at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, 1945 SE Water Avenue, Portland, Oregon. Mention Lake Oswego Reads for an all-day admission price of $7. Special presentation from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. 503.797.4000.

In the Land of the Head Hunters. Add film making to Edward Curtis’ accomplishments. See a restored deluxe edition of his 1914 film on Sunday, February 21 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Lewis and Clark College in the Council Chambers in the Templeton Center, 0615 SW Palatine Hill Rd.

Salmon Bake with Native American Music and Dance. See how it’s done the traditional way with the whole salmon threaded on sticks and cooked vertically over an open fire pit. Friday, February 26 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation, 1500 Greentree Rd. Purchase $10 tickets (children under 6 free) at the Lake Oswego Library or the Parks and Recreation Department. Cash/checks only. Limited space is available so buy your tickets early.

Find a complete listing of all events here.

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5 Things That Could Affect Lake Oswego Home Values in 2016

5 Things That Could Affect Home ValuesAs a Realtor in Lake Oswego for the past 25 plus years, I’ve seen property values go up by a cumulative 225% increase with an average yearly change of a little over 6%. In that time frame, there have been some dips (like we saw back in 2008), but for the most part, homes in Lake Oswego prove to be a solid investment both financially and personally.

Here are some things to watch for in the upcoming year as they will play a role in home valuation.

●Schools. As I’ve said before, I’ve seen the Lake Oswego School District’s reputation brings as many homebuyers into our town as the lake, the location, or the community. Being honored as the #1 school district in the nation by StartClass, an educational research website last year only helped validate that perception. But our schools are facing challenges, especially with the expected increase in PERS payouts for the 2017-2019 biennium. It’s important to watch school board decisions regarding how the district is going to manage those costs, offer input and say “YES!” when the Lake Oswego School District Foundation comes calling.

●Interest rates. The mortgage interest rate marker (which is tied to the bond market, not the Federal discount rate) remained steady for the past 12 months with a low of 3.5% to a high of 4.25% for a 30 year fixed rate loan, both conventional and jumbo. Everyone kept saying, “This has to change,” but it never did. Now the question is shifting more from “Will they or won’t they?” to “When?” Expect rates to slowly rise, perhaps beginning by Spring Break or earlier. The rise will probably be slow and should have little impact on the Lake Oswego housing market except for the entry level where every increase hurts.

●Rental market. Across the country we are seeing more people renting than buying. New apartments locally were added in 2015 near ClubSport. More will come with the Wizer project and there are actually many small 2-10 unit projects that have popped up around town. This could impact demand for housing as more people have the option to rent rather than own in Lake Oswego. However, I believe in the value of calling Lake Oswego home, and think that after renting here for a while, renters are very likely to put down roots…by buying a home.

●Buyer/seller market. Last year started off as a strong seller’s market but ended up with things in balance. I see 2016 headed for more of the same which personally, I see as healthy. It helps us to determine real values, not inflated ones that can come back to haunt us as they did in 2008.

●Sweat equity. This part is up to you—what you decide to redo, remodel, update, or add on to the house you are currently living in. If you’re a fan of HGTV, you know that in most cases, sweat equity pays off. But before you hire that contractor, or pick up that paintbrush, feel free to give me a call at 503.939.9801 so I can advise you on where you will get the most bang for your fixer-upper bucks. Not all home remodeling projects are created equal and some will reap you more rewards in terms of resale than others. I’m happy to put my market knowledge to work in helping you make the right decision.

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New Things to Try in the New Year in Lake Oswego Oregon

TRY SOMETHING NEW(4)With the upcoming New Year comes the desire to try new things. Luckily the Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Department is thinking along those same lines. Here are some new offerings for you to check out in 2016:

Night Night Yoga. What better way to wind your day down than with a blend of restorative yin yoga, yoga nidra and slow-flow vinyasa. This slower paced class is designed to create a relaxing experience where you can quiet your mind and settle in for a peaceful evening. Thursdays from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Palisades School, 1500 Greentree Rd. Cost: $62/Resident; $78/Non-Resident. Register for Class 13241 that runs January 7 through February 25 or 13242 running March 3 through April 28.

Salmon Bake at Palisades. Enjoy Northwest Salmon prepared in the traditional style cooked over an open fire pit and enjoy Native American music and dance. February 26 at 6:00 p.m. at Palisades School, 1500 Greentree Rd. Cost: $10/person; Free/6 and under. Purchase at the Lake Oswego Library or Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Department.

Boomer’s Boot Camp in the Park. Take your workout up a notch in the fresh air. All you need is a mat and an early morning wake-up call. Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. West Waluga Park, 15775 Waluga Drive. Cost: $79/Resident; $99/Non-Resident. Register for Class 13210 held March 3 through April 28.

Adventures Without Limits. While this outdoor experience is not new, a local pick-up at Tualatin Park and Ride near Bridgeport Village is, eliminating one of the excuses that may have been preventing you from trying this out. Adventures this session include snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Check them out.

New Youth Art Classes. Meet the Artists allows kids from ages 8-14 to get up close and personal with the likes of Picasso, Matisse and Georgia O’Keefe as they create their own mixed media interpretations of their works. 3D Art Exploration introduces youth from ages 8-18+ to many of the exciting developments in the art world today including 3D printing and culminates in an on-site show for the public.

All About That Bass. Kids ages 7-12 who are all-in when it comes to bass, can explore that sound through a variety of instruments and learn how they are used in both jazz and classical music. Wednesdays from 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. at Palisades School, 1500 Greentree Rd. Cost: $101/Resident; $117/Non-Resident. Register for Class 12950 held from April 6 through May 11.

Boot Scootin’ Barn Dance. This family-friendly event will have you breaking out your cowboy hats and boots for an evening of line dancing, light grub and drinks. Saturday, April 30 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Luscher Farm, 125 Rosemont Rd.

Spin Classes at Palisades. Coming this summer…The Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation has a teaser in this winter/spring catalog advertising spin classes at Palisades as a way to generate interest. Interested? Call and let them know at 503.675.2549. Currently they’re thinking spin classes will be offered this summer so watch in the next catalog.

Speaking of new…if you’re in the market for a new home, give me a call. I’d like to put my 25+ years experience as a Realtor to work in helping you buy or sell a home in Lake Oswego. 503.939.9801. Or check my website.

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Here’s How to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Lake Oswego Oregon

Celebrate the New Year in Lake OswegoConsider toasting in the New Year in Lake Oswego. If you live here, you can’t beat the convenience, and a few places around town are ready to make you glad you decided to stay close to home.

Stickmen’s Brewery. 40 N. State Street, 503.344.4449. Stickmen’s New Year’s Eve Party kicks off at 9:00 p.m. and will feature a silent disco with a heated tent on the patio for dancing. Party-goers will all receive wireless headphones through which music will be broadcast on two different channels. It’s a trending way to boogie and it’s happening right here in LO. The $75 ticket price includes finger foods, two drink tickets, party favors, a late night sandwich bar and a champagne toast at midnight. Purchase online or in person at the restaurant.

Maher’s Irish Brew Pub. 352 B Avenue, 503.305.8087. Get a head start on your celebration by ringing in the Irish New Year at 4:00 p.m. (the pub opens at 2:30 p.m.) You’re welcome to come back later to do it in Pacific Standard Time as well.

Gemini Pub. 456 N. State Street, 503.636.9445. The Brian Odell band will be on hand to usher you into the New Year beginning at 9:00 p.m.

Once the New Year dawns, might I suggest a run or walk around the lake to start your new year off on the right foot? I promise you…you won’t be alone out there. It’s a popular tradition around these parts. Here are some other ideas too.

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