Celebrate Arbor Month in Lake Oswego With These Activities

In case you hadn’t noticed, trees are a very big deal in Lake Oswego.

We plant them, protect them, line our streets with them, honor them and this month we celebrate them as part of the city’s first-ever Lake Oswego Arbor Month. Such fanfare seems appropriate for a city that is in its 32nd year qualifying as a Tree City USA from the National Arbor Day Foundation.

Here are some ways you can share in the tree-love this month.

TREE PRUNING WORKSHOP. Learn the best pruning practices to develop healthy, strong, and attractive trees and shrubs from ISA Board Certified Master Arborist Damon Schrosk of Treecology, Inc. Pre-registration is required and capacity is limited to 20 Lake Oswego residents due to social distancing measures. Free registration by calling 503.635.0290 or email planning@lakeoswego.city. Saturday, April 24, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Foothills Park Pavilion, 199 Foothills Road.

HUNT FOR THE GNOMES IN NATURE. Lake Oswego’s stewardship gnomes, Blossom, Greenie and Oak, will be hiding out in three different natural area parks from April to October. Visit lo-stewardship.org for monthly park locations and gnome clues. Post pictures of you with a gnome on social media using the hashtag #LOparksgnomes for a chance to win your very own gnome in October. Here’s where they’ll be hanging out in April:

Foothills Park, 199 Foothills Road

River Run Park, 19698 River Run Drive

Stevens Meadows, 18600 Shirley Drive

HERITAGE TREE TOUR. Download a copy of Lake Oswego’s Heritage Tree map and set out to explore our city’s tree heritage. To qualify for the designation, trees must be healthy and have historical, cultural, environmental, or physical qualities that set them apart. You’ll find a wide assortment including douglas-fir, American elm, ponderosa pine, giant sequoias, madrone, sycamore and gingko. You should find a plaque next to each designated tree.

BECOME AN LO TREE HERO. While ivy may look pretty climbing up a tree, the climbing vine poses a danger to the tree’s health. How? That ivy is competing for the same nutrients the tree needs, weighing down its branches making them vulnerable to wind, and eventually weakening the tree making it a target for pests. Learn how to safely remove ivy from trees with this tutorial on the Oswego Lake Watershed Council. Then, armed with the right information and tools, head out with your new superpowers. Be sure to only remove ivy on property that you own, or if you have explicit permission to remove ivy there! Take before and after photos, and share your progress on social media. Include the hashtag #LOTreeHero so others can see your work. 

BE A TREE DETECTIVE. The City of Lake Oswego is relying on community volunteers to help them gather data on the health and diversity of our urban forest. This information will hep arborists, scientists, and city planners better understand the economic and ecological benefits of our urban forest. The Oswego Lake Watershed Council is hosting an online training session:

•Wednesday, April 14, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

To register, visit the Oswego Lake Watershed Council website.

GET DIRTY. Find out the role healthy soil plays in creating a healthy forest by attending an Earth Day workshop on the microscopic organisms that break down organic material for food, returning vital nutrients back into the ecosystem. Then follow that up by participating in an experiment to see just what those organisms manage to do to a brand-new pair of 100% cotton underwear you bury under 6-inches of soil. Here are the details:

            •Get to Know Your Dirt (Virtual Zoom) Workshop on April 22, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

            •Soil Your Undies Kickoff with free cotton underwear giveaways on April 24 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Luscher Farm or Lake Oswego or Lakeridge High Schools.

To register, visit the watershed’s website.

Stay up-to-date on what’s happening in Lake Oswego by subscribing to my blog. Click the “Sign me up” button in the top right-hand column. And if you are considering moving to, away from or within Lake Oswego, give me a call at 503.939.9801, email me at costellok@hasson.com and/or check out my website. I’ve been a Lake Oswego Realtor for over 30 years and I’d love to put my experience to work making your next move your best one!  

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Celebrate Money Smart Week With This Lake Oswego Homebuying Quiz

The week of April 10-17 has been designated as Money Smart Week, a public awareness campaign created by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 2002 to help consumers better manage their personal finances.

You can register for free virtual webinars to increase your Money IQ on topics ranging from Managing Money Ups and Downs to Understanding the Basics of Federal Student Loans.

Investing in real estate, especially here in Lake Oswego, can be a money smart decision, but as with every decision, it’s best to gather information beforehand. I try to do that every week in this blog, and this week I’ve put together a quiz about some homebuying basics that everyone should know.

From mortgage points to property tax calculations, there are lots of factors that play into just how much a house really costs. This quiz will clue you in on a few.

And if you have any questions or want to explore how much house you can really afford, please give me a call at 503.939.9801, email me at costellok@hasson.com, and/or check out my website. I’d love to help in any way I can to make sure your next move is your best move.

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Nurseries In and Around Lake Oswego to Help You Turn April Showers into May Flowers

Warning: Visiting Al’s Garden Center may result in a purchase as it did for my wife last spring who couldn’t resist these beautiful bellflowers.

If April showers bring May flowers, then now is the time to start planning the flowers you’ll be planting in your yard.

Notice I said “planning.” While you may be able to plant perennials this month and cold tolerant annuals like pansies, you’ll want to hold off on frost-tender crops like basil and flowers like impatiens.

But if you’re like my wife, planning is half the fun. Just walking into a well-stocked nursery can inspire and infuse you with the urge to spread color wherever you go. Take advantage of the slower time to pick the brains of master gardeners on hand at these local nurseries to get some ideas for how to plan your summer display.

DENNIS’ 7 DEES LAKE OSWEGO GARDEN CENTER. When I first moved to Lake Oswego we were home to three nurseries, Lake Grove Garden Center on Boones Ferry Road, Kasch’s on A Avenue, and Dennis 7 Dee’s on McVey. While the first two have since closed, Dennis’ 7 Dees is still open offering year-round service and selection including landscape design and maintenance as well as seminars ranging from Repotting Indoor Plants to Creating Holiday Centerpieces. You’ll want to allow time to browse through their unique gift items including local jams, fragrant candles, and handmade terrariums as well as check out their supply of pots and home décor. And their website is filled with useful information for the ambitious gardener including tips on container gardening as well as how to pick the right hydrangea for your yard. Hours: 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, 1090 McVey Avenue, 503.636.4660.

DENNIS’ 7 DEES BRIDGEPORT VILLAGE. Looking to nurture your green thumb on a wet spring day? Head over to Dennis’ 7 Dees urban plant space in Bridgeport Village and check out the indoor plants, decorative containers, and garden-related gifts. Workshops are held here too so go online to check their schedule. Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. 7325 SW Bridgeport Road in Tigard, 503.992.6575.

STAFFORD RIDGE NURSERY (FORMERLY KORDELL’S GARDEN CENTER). New owners, Clinton and Nicole Marsh are thrilled to be operating this locally owned garden center at the corner of Rosemont Road and Stafford. They specialize in locally grown plants including annuals, perennials, herbs, veggie starts, shrubs, native fruit trees and ornamental trees all served up with free advice. Weekly deliveries promise fresh product. Located right across from Luscher Farms at the roundabout, it’s a convenient go-to stop for Lake Oswego gardeners. Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. 10 Rosemont Road, 503.638.1014.

BOSKY DELL NATIVES. This West Linn spot has been called a “one-of-a-kind gardening experience.” With over 300 species of native plants for sale, you’ll find items here you may not find anywhere else. Plants are categorized by their purpose: hummingbird gardens, gardening for birds, butterfly gardens, erosion control and they come with a lot of advice from the very knowledgeable and passionate owner. Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.  23320 SW Bosky Dell Lane, West Linn, 503.638.5945.

HUGHES WATER GARDENS. Take advantage of the thirty plus years’ experience these folks have in building water features and visit their site if you’re looking to build and/or stock a water garden of your own. They have all the supplies you need from pond liners, to pumps and filters as well as plants such as water lilies, fairy moss and grasses. Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Closed Sunday. 25289 SW Stafford Road, Tualatin, 503. 638.1709.

AL’S GARDEN AND HOME. Not one of the four locations of this third-generation family-owned business is located in Lake Oswego but they are worth a trip if for nothing else to lift your spirits and be inspired. Their 10.5-acre flagship garden center in Sherwood is my wife’s go-to spot starting early in the spring. She watches for sales on 4” annuals like petunias and bacopa for container gardening as well as for sales on their flats. And sometimes she just goes for an infusion of color when she needs it. Take time to wander through their gift shop, indoor plants, pots, outdoor furniture, and bring your burning gardening questions in and head straight to the information booth where an expert can diagnose your issue and offer a suggestion. Hours: Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Saturday from 9:00 a.m. go 6:00 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 16920 SW Roy Rogers Road, 503.726.1162. Check online for sales and other store locations.

THE GARDEN CORNER. If hanging baskets are your thing, this is your place. Need a recommendation? Just check out the baskets lining the streets of Lake Oswego, Tualatin, the Pearl District, Beaverton, Gresham, Oregon City, Summer Lake, Roseburg and more. You can let them do all the work and pre-order one for sun, shade, indoor or holiday or gather the supplies to make one yourself. The nursery itself is a beautiful spot to wander and fans attest to the fact that the plants you buy here are well-loved. Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. 21550 SW 108th, Tualatin, 971.512.2688.

LOEN NURSERY. This well stocked garden center has been around for a long time. Its website is like searching through an old Sears catalog, stocked with all kinds of information on plants, trees, shrubs and flowers to help you with your planning. You can also check availability. The retail center has been closed since mid December but the public is invited to the wholesale location on Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. where they can also enjoy wholesale pricing. 19205 SW Cipole Road, Sherwood, 503.625.5454. The retail address when it reopens is 18710 SW Pacific Drive, Sherwood, 503.625.2222.

PORTLAND NURSERY. Think everything garden and you get the idea what you’ll find at this gardener’s mecca: trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, grasses, herbs, houseplants, tools, garden art, amendments, furniture and pottery. And you’ll also find some things you didn’t expect like ideas for fall and winter containers with their “monthly container” feature on their website. You can keep your green thumb green all year long! Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at both locations: 5050 SE Stark, 503.231.5050 and 9000 SE Division, 503.788.9000.

BIG BOX STORES. Don’t forget to check out nearby Fred Meyer, Home Depot, Lowe’s and now Wilco. Keep an eye out for Fred Meyer’s Fuschia Saturday usually held in early April where they provide the manpower and dirt; you buy the plants and containers (or bring your own)and/or fill out the contact form below.

Looking for the perfect yard in Lake Oswego to nurture your love of gardening? Give me a call at 503.939,9801, check out my website, and/or complete the form below. I’d love to help you find the right home in Lake Oswego and promise to put my 30 plus years as a Realtor to work doing just that!

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Dirty Underwear Is One of the Five Things We Are Loving About Lake Oswego in April

April is a very special month in Lake Oswego and here are five reasons why:

  1. Soil Your Undies Campaign. In conjunction with Earth Day and Arbor Month, the Lake Oswego Watershed Council is inviting Lake Oswegans to participate in the 2021 Soil Your Undies Campaign. Why you ask? By burying a pair of cotton undies at least six inches underground and then digging them back up in 60 days, you can see just how busy the microscopic organisms are in your soil. The more broken down your underwear is, the more active soil microbes you have in your yard. You can pick up a free pair of 100% cotton tighty-whities at either Lakeridge or Lake Oswego High Schools on April 24 between 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Pre-registration required). The rest is up to you!
  2. The days are getting longer. On April 1, sunrise will be at 6:50 a.m. followed by a 7:39 p.m. sunset, giving us 12 hours, 49 minutes and 2 seconds of daylight. By the end of the month, we’ll gain another 1 hour and 28 minutes of (hopefully) sunshine which puts us well on our way to June 21 when sunrise will be at 5:22 a.m. and sunset at 9:02 p.m., for a grand total of 15 hours and 40 minutes of glorious summer daylight!
  3. Trilliums. These heralds of spring can be spotted in natural areas in and around Lake Oswego, especially along the trails in Tryon Creek State Natural Area. Their sheer beauty and abundance has caused many an Oregonian to mistaken them for the state flower (that title belongs to the Oregon grape) but they still deserve our respect—no picking allowed as they may not recover or could take years to recover.
  4. Dennis’ 7 Dees Gardening Classes. We are all itching to get our hands dirty in the yard and these classes will help. All you need to do is RSVP online and then mark your calendar for these Livestream classes: Spring Container Makeover on April 1, Indoor Plants for Low Light on April 8, and Growing Edibles and Herbs in Containers on April 15. All classes begin at 10:00 a.m.
  5. Virtual Drink and Draw. Felt artist Le Brie Rich will lead crafters in an easy-for-beginners needle felting project on April 22 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Participants will end up with a felt bird in a nest at the end of the class. The $40 fee includes the instruction as well as the materials which can be picked up at 41 B Avenue the week before the class.

Don’t miss out on any of my reasons to Love Lake Oswego. Click the “Sign me up” button to receive weekly updates.

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5 Lessons Being a Homeowner Has Taught Me

In her book, House Lessons: Renovating a Life, author Erica Bauermeister writes, “A house is a quiet partner; you have to listen carefully.”

Her insights have given my wife and me cause to look back at the lessons our homes have taught us. While I agree with Bauermeister that sometimes our home speaks softly to us, I ‘ve found that in other cases, it yells.

Here are a few things we have learned from being homeowners.

  1. Love isn’t just between two people. Bauermeister draws from her own experience as a Realtor in recalling clients who said they were looking for one thing but couldn’t help themselves from falling in love with another. That may explain how my wife and I put a down payment on our first house against my father’s advice and in spite of the fact that it was being offered “as is” with a shaky foundation and a hole in the bathroom floor. But it had a clawfoot tub! (we were into antiques at the time) And it had a big yard! (albeit you couldn’t see it from the street because of overgrown vegetation). And it had a front porch! (okay, so it slanted a little). And it was in our price range (as long as my mother-in-law could loan us the money for the down payment). Our decision wasn’t so much driven by logic as it was by feeling. As Bauermeister explains, when we’re in the housing market, we’re not necessarily looking for a house, we’re looking for a home that “fits our soul.”
  2. Sometimes you have to work together to get the job done. As you’ve probably guessed by now, our first home was a fixer-upper. And while we did everything from lay floor tiles to install a brick patio, the most challenging job we faced was hanging wallpaper. To add to what is often a grueling task, the paper we chose was very attractive but on the thin side, and when hanging in 10-foot sheets, had a tendency to rip. Let’s just say there was so much cursing and yelling going on that we had to close the windows. But once we got the right timing down for the teamwork needed, we managed to get the job done with fewer casualties (and a lot less swearing).
  3. Think of all the possibilities. My wife and I have never owned a brand-new home. Instead we’ve bought houses with potential. With our first house, we both saw it, or I should say, we both felt it. With our second home, here in Lake Oswego, it was my wife who steered us in the right direction. “If we ever want to live on this lake,” she explained, “this home is our entry ticket.” That was back in 1986, and she was right. The price of entry was low enough that we were able to buy a cottage on one of the canals that once again, needed work. After living there for six years, our next-door neighbor was planning a move and asked if we were interested in buying. It was a dark, neglected daylight ranch, with none of the charm that our cottage had. But this time I saw the potential. I poured my wife a glass of wine, had her stand on the back deck and imagine all the possibilities the large, flat backyard offered to our growing family. She conceded and 18 years later we have accrued a lifetime of memories raising our kids here.
  4. Compromise. Sometimes our visions aren’t always in sync. Two summers ago, I wanted to extend the lawn in our backyard which required eliminating this one natural area populated by a bamboo-like plant that my wife loved. She remembered our kids playing in it when they were little and she also just liked the variety they brought to our yard. Today those plants are still in our yard but in a different location so I got my added lawn square footage and she can still watch those stalks sprout up every summer. I see my clients negotiating the artful compromise among themselves often when they are looking to buy a home. They are not always on the same page, but find ways to agree on a house that comes closest to what they are both looking for.
  5. Breaking up is hard to do. The problem with falling in love with your house is the fact that when it comes time to sell, breaking up is hard to do. We rented our first house out for two years before selling it to make sure we had no intention of moving back to California. Just like with any breakup, once we were into our “new relationship” with our cottage in Lake Oswego, it was much easier to let go. A few years back during the housing crisis, we thought we might need to sell our Lake Oswego home. It was a gut-wrencher for all of us, and we had our kids write down memories to put in a box that we planned to bury in the yard. Fortunately, the market turned around and 12 years later we’re still here. But we know that time will eventually come. Judging by what worked before to ease the heartbreak, we hope to have a good sense of where we are going next so that we’re looking forward to our next move with excitement and not back with regret.  

I’ve learned a lot about homes not just as a homeowner but also as a Realtor in Lake Oswego and the Portland metro area for over 30 years. Let me put that experience to work for you! Give me a call at 503.939.9801, and or check out my website. I look forward to hearing from you!

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Don’t Believe Everything You Hear About the Lake Oswego Housing Market

When it comes to the Lake Oswego housing market, don’t believe everything you hear.

Here are a few rumors currently circulating that need to be fact-checked.

EVERYBODY IS MOVING TO TEXAS. Yes, we know a few Lake Oswego residents who have made Texas their primary residence, but still manage to visit Lake Oswego quite often, especially during the summer. But, according to the annual study by United Van Lines, Idaho saw the biggest inbound moves at 70% with South Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota and Arizona also ranking in the top 5 with inbound moves at 60% or higher. Oregon actually saw 62.5% inbound moves compared to 37.5% outbound, with 30% moving here for family reasons and another 39.6% relocating due to a job.

New Jersey was at the bottom of that list with 69.5% outbound moves compared to only 30.5% of the movers wanting to come in. Other states seeing more exodus than influx included New York, Illinois, Connecticut and California.

Places that are doing well in Texas are suburbs outside of the big cities, just as we are seeing across the United States and here in Oregon. Located just 12 miles outside of Portland, Lake Oswego is a highly desirable suburb to relocate to.

THE HOUSING BUBBLE IS GOING TO BURST. Unlike the housing frenzy that gave way to the Great Recession, this spike is not being artificially fueled by a free flow of money. Lending standards are being upheld, not eased. Instead the fundamentals of supply and demand are driving this housing market surge and they don’t show any signs of letting up soon. Experts are predicting that 2021 will continue to be a bull market for housing.

REMODELING MY HOUSE WILL BE CHEAPER THAN MOVING. Thanks to COVID, we are all spending more time in our homes, and needing more amenities, like home offices and bigger family rooms. Instead of moving, one option is to remodel; however, the rise in lumber prices may leave homeowners with sticker shock. Lumber prices hit a record high in mid-February for a variety of reasons: demand being one, but also because CNBC reports that “mill operators and lumber dealers misread the 2020 market” and pulled back on production. Then when COVID hit and construction projects were halted, their initial read of the situation was reinforced. When the boon followed, they weren’t prepared, and COVID safety protocols then made it hard to kick production back into high gear.

Of course, this spike in lumber prices is also affecting new construction, so that will be reflected in new home costs as well. However, builders realize they can only pass on so much of the additional cost on to buyers which cuts into their profitability. That combination runs the risk that some builders may wait this period out until lumber prices come down, adding to the imbalance in the market between supply and demand.

FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERS CAN’T AFFORD LAKE OSWEGO. I’m not going to lie. Buying a home in Lake Oswego as a first-time homebuyer can be challenging, but it is doable. Check out one of my earlier blogs. Currently there are three condominiums under $200,000 for sale in Lake Oswego and seven single family residences under $600,000. All seven of the homes are pending and have been on the market for an average of 32 days on the market, so you can see there is a high demand for this entry level price into the Lake Oswego market. All the more reason to work with an experienced Realtor like myself to ensure your chances of coming out ahead in this competitive market.

Stay up-to-date on the Lake Oswego housing market by subscribing to my blog. Click the “Sign me up” button in the top right-hand column and receive weekly updates.

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7 Covid-Friendly Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day In and Around Lake Oswego

St. Patrick’s Day festivities were the first holiday celebrations to be canceled due to COVID-19 last year.

On March 8, 2020, I posted a blog titled “7 Ideas for Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day In and Around Lake Oswego. Nine days later the events I featured were called off due to Governor Brown’s closure of bars and restaurants except for takeout, and limitations on public gatherings to no more than 25 people.

Fast forward 365 days (okay, maybe it didn’t exactly feel like fast-forwarding but more like slow motioning), and there are still some casualties but several of the events are happening again including Lake Oswego’s own St. Patrick’s Day Festival, albeit in a COVID-approved fashion. Check them out.

THE DULLAHAN PUB ST. PATRICK’S DAY IRISH FESTIVAL. St. Patrick’s Day kicks things off for this year’s return of Lake Oswego’s own homegrown St. Patrick’s Day Festival. The event will run Wednesday, March 17 through Sunday, March 21 from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. There will be two separate tents with limited seating for guests with live music rotating every 30 minutes so attendees get the opportunity to hear a variety of tunes. All your Irish favorites will be on the menu including corned beef and cabbage, fish and chips (my favorite here) and bangers as well as a selection of specially curated Irish whiskey-based cocktails and the Irish staples, Guinness and Magner’s Cider. In addition to rotating the music, management is considering rotating guests as well to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to get in on the fun. Colored wristbands will be handed out to ensure patrons stay in their designated tents and honor the 90-minute timetable. There is no admission fee; however, donations are welcome to cover the cost of the entertainment. One casualty of this year’s event is the Irish Dancers who usually take the stage and delight the crowds with their heel clicking, stamping and tapping. Space does not allow for these performances this go-around. 352 B Avenue, 503.305.8087.

KELL’S ST. PATRICK’S DAY FESTIVAL. Considered Oregon’s largest Irish celebration, staff told me that this popular event is also re-appearing in a scaled-down version. The schedule was still being finalized at posting time; however, their website indicated they were gearing up for St. Paddy’s Day 2021 with opening hours starting March 11. Check their website for updates. 112 SW 2nd Avenue, 503.228.4057.

SHAMROCK RUN. Portland’s longest running tradition is going virtual this year and features multiple distances ranging from the Leprechaun 1K lap for kids 10 and under to a half marathon with a 4-mile Stride, 5K, 10K, and 15K in between. The virtual run will be done on the honor system, meaning, you do not have to submit proof that you completed your distance. So you may run at any time you wish. Registration is open through March 14 and includes an official 2021 Shamrock run shirt or kid’s cape, reusable shamrock tote back, and a discount code to register for 2022 at the lowest price.

PORTLAND’S ST. PADDY’S PARADE. This fun neighborhood tradition is also going virtual this year inviting revelers to post their St. Patrick’s photos and video online by today, March 7, for sharing on their website starting March 14. Email portlandstpaddysparade@gmail.com for a link to the website.

PADDY’S BAR and GRILL ST. PATRICK’S DAY FESTIVAL. Here’s another scaled down event but featuring all the usual Irish suspects: bagpipers, Irish Dancers, Guinness and Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey. Sponsorship opportunities are available with VIP tickets; otherwise it’s General Admission at $20/person as capacity allows. Wednesday, March 17 from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. 65 SW Yamhill Street, 503.224.5626. Tuesday, March 17.

Here are a couple other ideas for keeping things green on St. Patrick’s Day:

STICKMEN BREWING COMPANY. Celebrate with an Irish Red Ale on tap at this Lake Oswego spot. The Madame Molly is named after a ghost that legend has it inhabits the brewery’s building but who seems to approve of Stickmen’s culinary and brewing efforts and has laid low ever since they took over. 40 N. State Street, 503.344.4449.

KYRA’S BAKE SHOP. Order an Irish Brew cupcake from this award-winning gluten-free bakery comprised of chocolate-beer cake, filled with Irish cream white chocolate ganache and topped with Irish cream frosting and Irish cream white ganache. 599 A Avenue, 503. 212.2979.

I may be 99.8% Irish but I promise not to offer you any blarney when it comes to talking about buying or selling your home. With over 30 years of experience helping families move in, out, and around Lake Oswego, I’d love to do the same for you! Give me a call at 503.939.9801, email me at costellok@hasson.com and/or check out my website.

Sláinte!

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A Tisket A Tasket, Get Out Your Farmers’ Market Basket: Pilot Market Opens Next Sunday

What could be better than the return of Lake Oswego’s popular Farmers’ Market? A pilot farmers’ market located in Lake Grove and debuting next week, Sunday March 7 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.!

Yes, Mercato Grove, the new residential and retail development in the former Mercantile Village location, is presenting this project in collaboration with the Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Department. This gives the department the opportunity to evaluate the interest for a permanent market in the 97035 zip code area. It will be small, with about 15 vendors, and operate in accordance with all Oregon Health Authority Covid-19 guidelines to ensure the safety of vendors, market patrons, volunteers, staff and the community.

Judging by the lineup of farmers/growers and hot food/refreshment suppliers, I’d say this pilot project is already off to a great start. Plus, for those of us who are already “channeling summer,” it gives us a taste of summer’s farmers’ market bounty a good two months sooner!

Here are some of the vendors worth checking out. Please note that some will appear on a rotating basis.

LIL STARTS. I’m sure my daughter, who is trying to grow a green thumb, will be visiting this place. Owners Luke and Lillian Klimaszewski use sustainable farming practices to grow clean, healthy produce and plants on 2.5 acres of cultivated land in the East Columbia Neighborhood of Portland and in Orient, Oregon. Right now our lettuce starts are about 1/4” high so thinking their starter plants might offer a higher chance of success!

JUNIPER LAYNE FARM. Located on a quarter acre in Happy Valley (with another half acre in Boring, Oregon) this Certified Naturally Grown farm is how one young woman decided to realize her passion for food. All vegetables, berries, and flowers are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, inorganic fertilizers, GMO seeds, or other environmentally harmful practices.

aMYLK. This vendor produces pure plant-based mylks that are not only delicious but also beautiful. Sold in old-fashioned milk glass containers, some of the pastel colors will have you curious to taste what’s inside. Some of the popular flavors include: Blue Belle, an almond based mylk whose color comes from an ancient strain of blue green micro algae derived from Spirulina, harvested from Klamath Lake; and I’m Beautiful, another almost based mylk in a beautiful rose color that I assume comes from the beet root powder and schisandra berry.

THREE HEARTS FARM. This small family-run farm just 30 miles south of Portland focuses mostly on specialty cut flowers and fillers. With spring flowering bulbs, annuals and perennials strutting their stuff right now, look for some spectacular bouquets to choose from.

DANIELLE’S SAUCES. This homegrown company has received national recognition, winning more than 40 national awards for its gourmet sauces that their website says strives to “enhance, not dominate, the taste of prepared foods.” Choose from A-Too Savory Sauce, Extra Hot or Sweet Habanero, Sweet Chili, Original Teriyaki, Cajun Dust and more.  

DOUBLE TROUBLE BAKERS. This Vancouver based operation wants to take the trouble out of baking for you by doing it for you! Select from classic cookies like chocolate chip, oatmeal, molasses or peanut butter or one of their ramped up varieties such as double chocolate chocolate chip, or oatmeal cranberry white chocolate.

FILLS DONUTS. This collaboration between two popular Portland chefs will also be a permanent fixture in Lake Oswego once Mercato Village opens. Featuring Berliner style donuts and traditional crullers, it’s destined to be one of the first places my donut-loving son visits when he returns from living abroad in London.

JIMMY TOMATO. Featuring small batch cooking of “Old School” recipes, this small family business offers a Classic Italian Tomato and Classic Tomato and Meat Sauce that has been handed down for generations.  They’ve spent hours over the stove so you don’t have to. Just take home, cook up some pasta and enjoy.

CRAFT COCKTAILS. When it comes to enjoying a good drink, seems you can leave the bartending to the experts without leaving home. I guess it only seems natural that the craft beer explosion would segue to the craft cocktail revolution and several of the contenders will be parading their wares through the Lake Grove Farmers Market. Here are some of the offerings:

503 Distilling. They feature delicious cocktails ready to drink out of a can like the Wicked Mule(vodka infused with fresh lime and ginger blended in homemade ginger syrup and carbonate) and the La Vida Mocha (cinnamon infused rum with Mexican chocolate and riff cold brewed coffee). You can also try their homemade spirits: gin, rum, wildfire cinnamon rum, pear brandy, vodka, whiskey and pear brandy.

Straightaway Cocktails. Enjoy classic and lesser-known spirited and balanced cocktails right out of a bottle and ready to pour: Margarita, Oregon Old Fashioned, Negroni, Lintik (gin aged with lemon, house-made simple syrup and bitters) and Paper Plane (rye whiskey, liquers with natural flavors, cochineal extract) and The Cosmos. They also offer spritzers as well.

Westward Whiskey. Whiskey—it’s their specialty. Choose from an assortment.

Wild Roots offers real fruit infused spirits inspired by the Northwest. Vodka flavors include Apple Cinnamon, Marionberry, Pear, Dark Sweet Cherry, Cranberry, Peach and Huckleberry. Gin comes in Cucumber and Grapefruit.

The market will be located on Hallmark Drive between Mercantile Drive and Collins Way with parking in the Lake Grove Elementary School parking lot.

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7 Things We Are Loving About March in Lake Oswego

January brought us the Capitol Siege. February brought us the ice storm. Let’s hope March has better things in store for us here in Lake Oswego.

Here are a few activities in and around Lake Oswego to consider doing in March.

SPRING BREAK CAMPS. The Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Department is offering a scaled down lineup of Spring Break activities, some of which are already filled so be sure to check the schedule and register online.

VIRTUAL DRINK & DRAW: KOKEDAMA CLASS. Learn the Japanese art of creating pot-less plants with a unique soil mixture, moss and string. Your work of art can be hung or displayed on a dish. The $40 registration fee includes all materials which can be picked up the week before class at the Arts Council of Lake Oswego, 41 B Avenue. Participation is limited to 30 so sign up soon.

FLORAL WINE & DESIGN. Zupan’s is offering their popular virtual workshop again in March. Participants pick up floral materials, cheese and a charcuterie plate prior to class. Enrollment is limited to 10 participants. Sunday, March 14 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. $125 fee.

INSTAGRAM SCAVENGER HUNT. If Spring Break finds you with bored kids looking for an activity, consider this. Load everybody up and head out in search of family-friendly, fun Instagram-worthy photo opportunities both in and around Lake Oswego. Here are some suggestions:

• Amyas and Soleil. Let your family mimic these two characters’ poses and stretch your arms up high. This sculpture was the 2018 People’s Choice winner. Corner of Evergreen and 1st.

• Lollipops. Bring lollipops along and start licking them while standing next to the life-size ones at the library entrance, 706 Fourth Street.

• The Goal. Got any soccer stars in your group? Head over with a ball to the sculpture in Westlake Park and show the sculpture how it’s done.

• Dream. Let your kids pretend they are picking an apple from the tree of knowledge stationed in front of Lake Grove School on Boones Ferry Road.  

• Paul Bunyan. If you want to venture into Portland, head over to this 31 foot tall replica of this folk hero for an Instagram-worthy shot. Corner of N. Denver and N. Interstate Avenue.

• Portland Troll Bridge. Bring a troll with you to leave behind. Kids will get a kick out of this—a colony of trolls living in this wooden train trestle just waiting for your little ones to stop by and visit them. 16498 NW McNamee Road.

• Rhino Mural. This larger-than-life rhino even got our adult children to trek into Portland for a photo shoot. You can find him at 1300 SE Morrison Street.

•Sizzle Pie Pizza Mural. If you’ve got some pizza lovers in your family, this is a great stop with a pizza food pyramid displayed in grand scale perfect for photo ops. Best to plan your outing when you can follow up the photo with a pizza to go!

WOODEN SHOE TULIP FESTIVAL. Last year’s festival was cancelled due to the pandemic, but the Iverson family is planning on opening its fields again this year following state COVID guidelines. Festival dates are March 19 through May 2 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily. The flowers put on quite a show with 40 acres of tulips in bloom when they all get going. Currently season passes are available at $40 each; day passes will go on sale March 1. All tickets must be purchased online.

WHALE WATCHING. While Whale Watching Week has been cancelled for this year, the whales are still making their trek northward to Alaska from Baja Mexico so you can catch them, albeit without the help of volunteers to answer your questions. The whales can usually be seen off the Oregon coast beginning in mid-March through May. With about 25,000 whales making their annual trek, whale watchers can usually catch sight of 10-30 a day off the Oregon coast. Check this online map for the best places to see the whales.

CHERRY BLOSSOM TREES. These beautiful harbingers of spring are abundant around Lake Oswego and the Portland metro area. You’ll find them in Sundeleaf Plaza, Millennium Plaza Park, and lining many of our commercial and neighborhood streets. Venture up to Portland and catch the 100 tree display on the northwest side of Waterfront Park towards the end of March or stroll through Hoyt Arboretum where 60 cherry blossom trees are planted along the 12 miles of trails.

Spring is also a popular time for home sales so if you’re in the market, be sure to start by giving me a call at 503.939.9801 and/or check out my website. I’ve lived in Lake Oswego and been a Realtor in Lake Oswego for over 30 years and would love to put my experience to work making your next move your best one!

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Game Plan for Buying a Home in Lake Oswego’s Low Inventory COVID Market

The housing market nationwide is experiencing a shortage of inventory and Lake Oswego is no exception. There were 33 new listings in December, but that was outpaced with the 75 sales that ate up some of the inventory. It seems the COVID trend to move to the suburbs has become yet another factor that makes Lake Oswego such a desirable place to call home.

We were down to just 0.8 months of inventory in Lake Oswego, way below the more than six-month inventory that signifies a buyer’s market.

Add to that the fact that new listings in the Portland metro area were down over 23% compared to November, and you can see why buying a home in this market can be challenging.

But you can navigate a tight housing market successfully if you follow these tips.

  1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Better yet, get fully approved. Assume that when you find the house you want, you will be competing for it with other buyers. Coming in with the assurance that you’ve already qualified for financing, makes you a much more attractive bidder than someone else who has not.
  2. Prioritize your “wish list.” In a tight housing market, there’s a good chance you may have to compromise on some of the features you want in a house. What’s negotiable—location, price, or amenities? Have that hard discussion before you’re put in a position of having to decide in a panic.
  3. Be patient. If you don’t have to buy right now, be patient. I have a few clients from out of state who were going to come up this month and I told them to wait as there isn’t enough of what they are looking for at this time. Spring is typically a time when more homes come on the market so holding off for a month or two could be your answer if you have that option.
  4. Be prepared for a bidding war. In a recent staff meeting, agents were talking of homes getting multiple offers, often in the 30s and 40s. When that happens, homes often go for more than the asking price, so it’s best to anticipate that and look at homes that aren’t at the top of your budget but that give you some wiggle room to bid higher than asking price.  
  5. Consider a backup offer. I’m a firm believer in backup offers, largely because two of the homes I have purchased for myself came about as a result of that. Deals fall through for all kinds of reasons, from contingencies not being met to financing issues, and in today’s hot market, sometimes buyers get hit with a big case of buyers’ remorse when they win the bidding war. Caught up in need to act fast, buyers can find themselves taking on more than they feel comfortable. Or perhaps they didn’t follow my earlier advice to consider homes below their budget in anticipation of a bidding war and discover they are maxed out after a home inspection that indicates lots of repairs needed. Whatever the case, if you find a property that is really special, you may want to put in a backup offer if your initial offer loses out to someone else. Realize, however, that you will also have to put some earnest money down even with a backup offer to show your commitment which ties that money up as long as you have that agreement. It does not preclude you from continuing to look for another home.
  6. Work with an experienced Realtor. From negotiating price in a bidding war to helping you decide whether a backup offer is a good plan or not, an experienced Realtor can increase your odds of success in a low housing inventory market. In addition, a well-connected Realtor like myself, hears of listings before they come on the market. In a tight market like today’s, that can be a real bonus if you are looking to buy a home in Lake Oswego.

If you are thinking of moving to Lake Oswego, or want to buy a home in Lake Oswego, please give me a call at 503.939.9801 and/or check out my website . I have been a top Realtor in Lake Oswego for over 30 years and would love to put that experience to work for you. Let me help you navigate today’s market.

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