6 New Things to Try in January in Lake Oswego

  1. A new bakery. We all have our favorites when it comes to satisfying our sweet tooth, but often we tend to seek out what’s closest to us. I’d like to recommend a fairly new bakery in town that’s in my neck of the woods and is tucked away off the main drag, so you may not know about it. Too Sweet Cakes added Lake Oswego to its lineup last year although you may have also seen their exquisitely decorated cakes in Zupan’s Market in Lake Grove. Be sure to leave your willpower at the door as the display case will dazzle you with a selection of cookies, pastries and cakes, many of which are also available in gluten-free and vegan options. Check out their Instagram feed—it’s as beautiful as their offerings are delicious. 5755 Willow Lane, Suite B, 503.305.8381.
  2. A new restaurant. Here again, we have our favorites or we stick to the ones on the main drag. Venture out a bit and consider neighborhood spots like Aji Tram owned by two local Lake Oswego boys who returned to their roots after graduating from Oregon State and U of O. They brought with them their love of Asian cuisine to which they’ve added their own exciting culinary twist. 4477 SW Lakeview Blvd., 503.342.6249.
  3. A new park. Watch for a soft opening of Iron Mountain Park at 2401 Iron Mountain Road. Crews have been at work all fall and winter long to transform this 51-acre natural area into a park complete with nature play area, pathways and a bridge leading to the new trailhead to the Iron Mountain Park Trail.  A more formal grand opening will take place in the spring. This is a great excuse to explore the Iron Mountain Park Trail. It’s quite a hike but if you continue up to the viewing platform, the reward is pretty spectacular!
  4. A new book. We have the good fortune of having an artist in residence living with us right now, my daughter Riley, a women’s fiction author whose first book, Waiting at Hayden’s, was named a Best Beach Reads of 2019 by Shereads.com. Her Christmas gift to me was a draft of her next book, One Perfect Weekend which I have started and am already hooked. While One Perfect Weekend is not available for purchase yet, Waiting at Hayden’s is, so check it out and support a local homegrown author.
  5. A new class. The Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Department is offering new outdoor recreation opportunities with workshops on birding (both beginner and advanced classes) beekeeping, and how to make products from all that honey!
  6. A new business. My wife and daughter have opened a new Etsy shop featuring printable wall art, greeting cards and bookmarks. You can print their designs right from your home computer or send the file they send you upon purchase, to your local print shop. In this time of COVID, it’s a convenient option, especially for those last-minute occasions you forgot to buy a card for. Check them out at HeartspunPrintables.

If a new home is part of your 2021 plans, then be sure to give me a call at 503.939.9801 and/or check out my website. I’ve been a Lake Oswego Realtor for over 30 years helping people move in, out, and around Lake Oswego. I’d love to put that experience to work for you!

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Remembering Mike Hasson

On December 31, a light went out in Lake Oswego. Mike Hasson, the founder of Hasson Company Realtors, passed away after a 10-year-battle with mesothelioma. He took on the challenge of fighting that disease like he took on all the challenges he faced—with a positive attitude and a resilience that inspired all around him.

I joined Mike’s company in 1989 when it was still under the banner of Handel, Hasson and Jones, two years before he broke away and founded the Hasson Company Realtors. I was drawn to the integrity he brought to the business and his emphasis on doing business the right way.

But our relationship wasn’t just a professional one, as most Realtors who work at the company would admit. Our personal lives followed the same trajectory. At the time when I joined Mike, there was a group of us at the company just starting to have kids. So not only were we sharing our professional ups and downs, we were also on the same roller coaster ride of becoming parents for the first, second, and third times. And turns out Mike was a hands-on Dad like me. We were high achievers at the office, but not at the expense of spending time with our kids. He went on to coach two of my daughters in soccer and I watched as he took those same principles he applied in the office and put them to work on the soccer field. He expected the best out of his players but he also equipped them with the right training, strategies and support to produce at a very high level. To this day, my youngest daughter, who trained under Mike for many seasons, considers him one of her most important mentors.

One of my family’s favorite travel memories is of a trip we took to Orlando, Florida, with Mike and his daughter Jenna. He was coaching our daughters’ 3v3 soccer team who had qualified for the national finals in Disney World. The week was filled with excursions to the Magic Kingdom, Disney Hollywood, Animal Kingdom and Blizzard Beach Water Park, (along with a few brownie sundaes thrown in there for dessert) which wasn’t probably a recommended training regimen before an important game. The girls put up a good fight, but did lose in the playoffs. That’s not what any of us remember though. It’s more like the ten times we rode the Kali River Rapids, sometimes without even having to get off the ride at the end because the park was so deserted (it was January, 2002 and the tourism industry hadn’t yet recovered from 9/11). Or how scared the kids were to ride the Tower of Terror, only to exit it quickly after the 13-story drop and line up to do it all over again.

Our entire family was stunned to learn of Mike’s passing as we, like most of the rest of his circle (which was a widely cast one) thought he was invincible. My wife captured the essence of his personal gift by describing his ability to be “fully present whenever you talked to him.” Here was a man who, as one colleague described him, couldn’t walk around town without being greeted by just about everyone, but still managed to tune out the background noise to truly listen to what you had to say, to check in with how our kids were, to see how we were doing.

Last week our company held a virtual memorial in-house so everyone would have a chance to reminisce and pay tribute to Mike. Tears were shed, laughter was shared, but the recurring theme was this—Mike valued relationships and went out of his way to touch as many lives as he could while he was with us. “Be like Mike,” became the recurring mantra as we all realized that if everyone was, this world would be a much better place.

Rest in peace, my friend. You will be missed.

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5 Things We Love About Lake Oswego in January

  1. Lake Oswego Reads Kickoff Free Book Giveaway. This year’s community book selection is the New York Times bestseller, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson. The author provides a well-researched lens through which to examine caste systems and their impact in three societies: America, Germany and India and continues the discussion on race relations that recent events have triggered in the U.S. as well as within our own community. Following Covid-19 guidelines, the library will be giving away 800 free copies of the book to Lake Oswego library cardholders on January 7 from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the library, 706 Fourth Street.
  2. Art in the Bubble: Pablo Picasso presented by Bernie Taylor. Have you ever stared at a Picasso and wondered, “What was he thinking?” If so, here’s an opportunity to get your questions answered. International art scholar Bernie Taylor will be exploring what influenced the artwork of Pablo Picasso as part of the Lakewood Center for the Arts “Art in the Bubble” series, the revamped program lineup of the 2020 Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts in the wake of COVID-19. This Zoom event will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 20. Registration is free but donations are encouraged.
  3. Cats 101. Unlike dogs, cats seem to prefer remaining a bit mysterious to us humans, even though we’ve been hanging around together for almost 10,000 years. If you’d like to understand your feline companion more, then sign up for this new virtual class offered through the Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Department. There are two sections of the class, one geared for ages 12 and older (January 11 through February 22 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m) and another for kids 6-11 (January 13 through February 24 from 6:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Registration is $15 for residents/$22 for non-residents and available online. AND if you’d like to learn how to train your cat (yes, it is possible), then sign up for that class, #22099 which runs from January 11 through February 22 from 7:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Fee is $22 for residents/$30 for non-residents.
  4. Floral Design and Wine. Zupan’s is hosting another of their popular floral design classes virtually on January 24 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Using flowers on the bulb and early blooming branches, your design will not only be fun to create, but also to watch as it blossoms and develops! Price is $125 and includes all materials as well as cheese, charcuterie and wine which must be picked up prior to class. Register online.
  5. Green Thumb Planning. Dreaming of when you can get back out in your garden? Well, the time to start planning that garden is now and between the Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Department and Dennis’ 7 Dees, you should be well prepared. The city is offering Garden Planning 101 on Saturday, January 23 at Luscher Farm ($12 residents/$18 non-residents) and 7 Dees is offering a free Seed Starting for Beginners as a livestream event on January 28 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Be sure to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in Lake Oswego by clicking the “Sign me up” button in the top right hand column.

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Good Tidings About the Lake Oswego Housing Market

  1. The Lake Oswego housing market is ending the year strong. By November’s end, we saw an 8.6% increase in home sales values and a cumulative increase of 316.3% increase in value since 1997. A total of 694 homes had sold over the course of the year, slightly besting last year’s total of 681.
  2. The Month’s of Inventory (or MOI) tells us we are still in a seller’s market as the number was 1.4 for single-family homes and 1.3 for condos or attached homes. The MOI speaks to how long the current inventory of homes on the market can last relative to demand and traditionally, inventories of four months or less are considered a seller’s market. Anything above six months is a buyer’s market and a balanced market looks at an inventory between four to six months.
  3. Despite it being a seller’s market, mortgage rates are working in the buyer’s favor hovering at a record low, 2.72 for a 30-year fixed-rate loan. Realtor.com predicts they will tick up by the end of 2021 to the vicinity of 3.4% so buyers need to weigh that into the timing of any decision they make.
  4. The maximum conforming loan limits have been raised for single-family properties from $510,400 to $548,250 which is good news for people looking to buy a home in Lake Oswego where property values tend to be higher. Why is that? Anything over the conforming loan limit kicks a loan into the “jumbo loan” category which is considered riskier for lenders because they are not guaranteed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. As a result, the underwriting criteria for a jumbo loan are stricter including: higher credit score, cash reserves, and larger down payments. The interest rates charged can be a little higher too as well as the closing costs. The higher limit on conforming loans gives buyers a little more wiggle room, especially in a market like Lake Oswego.
  5. Personally, I am seeing the lure of suburban living drawing newcomers to Lake Oswego. Just in the past month, I’ve worked with a couple buyers looking to move out of Portland and a couple others moving out of the San Francisco Bay Area. Every week I tout the benefits of living in Lake Oswego on this blog because it really does have so much to offer. From the sheer physical beauty to the highly rated school district to its location, I am never surprised when it is “discovered” by homebuyers looking for a place to settle.

If you or anyone you know is looking to move in or around Lake Oswego, please have them give me a call at 503.939.9801 and/or check out my website. I’ve been helping buyers call Lake Oswego home for over 30 years and I’d love to do the same for you!   

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Let the Lakewood Center Put Some Merry in Your Holiday Week

Looking to add something new to your Christmas entertainment lineup? The Lakewood Center for the Arts has come to the rescue with a host of Covid-friendly offerings to ensure that even though this holiday season may be different for all of us, it can still be merry.   

SANTA’S CHRISTMAS CARDS. This virtual production brings us into Santa’s home while he is enjoying a well-deserved break from all his Christmas preparations. Like us, he’s had a lot of time to shelter in place so he finds himself ahead of schedule with time to sit back and reflect on how much his trusty elf, Tillie (Lisa Knox) has helped him this year. Then his thoughts turn to some of the Christmas cards he has received and the wonderful families who have sent them. We’ll get to meet the Corwin’s and Schultz’s and get a big dose of their holiday spirit through song and dance. Tickets are $20 per household. Upon your purchase, you’ll receive an email receipt with a link to view the performance. Viewing is available until December 31.

THE PEPPERMINT BEAR ANTHOLOGY. The Lakewood Center’s Holiday Magic Breakfast Theatre has been a favorite family tradition for years. The Center has found a way to keep the magic alive by making three past performances of The Peppermint Bear Show available for viewing during the holiday season. Tickets are $10 per household for each show and can be ordered online. You can buy one or all three!

Peppermint Bear: The Taming of the Shoe (from 2015). Christmas is just around the corner and the head elf, Mert, is attempting to rehearse the big parade with Gert and Mort when our young friend, Charlie, arrives at the North Pole. It seems there is some electronic problem with toy making machinery and Santa needs Peppermint Bear’s help!

Peppermint Bear and the Giant Elf (from 2017). Santa’s workshop is in a tizzy when his chair and magic jingle bells go missing. A giant slips in with plans to become the new, much bigger Santa Claus, and uses the magic jingle bells to take control of the elves! Sally, a young girl whose father assists at the north pole, and Peppermint Bear learn to use teamwork to make everything right before Christmas is ruined.

Peppermint Bear: Who Needs Sneeds? (from 2018). Peppermint Bear is helping Santa’s elves rehearse for their annual Christmas show when the evil Sneed brothers show up plotting to take Santa’s Christmas gifts before his sleigh ride on Christmas Eve. It’s up to Peppermint Bear to save Christmas again!

SANTA WISH LISTS. Since children can’t visit with Santa in person at this year’s Holiday Magic Breakfast, he has made special arrangements to connect with kids via video. General messages are $5 (delivered 1-2 business days after receipt) and personalized ones are $10 (you may be too late for this one as it can take up to 5 days for delivery). After purchasing either message, a receipt will be emailed to you with a link to a video from Santa requesting a wish list so he and his elves can get to work on the gifts as soon as possible. Send the wish list by email to: santa@lakewood-center.org.

Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas!

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Where You Can Catch Covid-Approved Holiday Lights This Year in the Portland Metro Area

Some of our most treasured holiday lights displays in the Portland metro area have fallen victim to Covid-19 including Peacock Lane. But others have reinvented themselves to still find a way to light up the season and as the Christmas Ships website says, “offer some form of normalcy in such an abnormal time.” Here’s a rundown of Christmas lights you can still enjoy.

Oregon Zoo ZooLights. The show must go on…just in a different way. This year, holiday revelers can enjoy the 1.5 million light display from the comfort and safety of their cars as the zoo opens up its gates to drive-through traffic for a Covid-safe event. Tickets must be purchased online in advance and are made available on a 7-day rolling schedule. You can also pre-order snacks or gifts which will be delivered to you at check-in. Face masks must be worn when interacting with staff, but not while you are enjoying the display from your vehicle. Ticket prices vary, depending on the date.

The Grotto. The Grotto’s gift shop is the only thing open right now given the Multnomah County Covid-19 mandate. Daily mass is also being offered to only 25 people who must register online. And a virtual Advent celebration is available with activities, reflections, recipes and crafts to those who register online. After December 16, the Grotto hopes to re-open its gardens and grounds to daytime visitors and resume its Sanctuary Lantern Tours that guide a maximum of 8 people at a time through the Via Matris and its cultural shrines, as well as St. Anne’s Chapel and the Meditation Chapel. Tickets are $25/person and available online.  

Winter Wonderland. Since this has always been a drive-through event, the only thing that has changed this year is that tickets must be purchased online and there can only be a maximum of six people in a car. Tickets for what is considered the largest light show in the Northwest are $28 Monday through Thursday, $33 on Friday and Sunday and $39 on Saturdays. Check online for hours.

Lights at the Oregon Garden Resort. The popular Christmas in the Garden has been postponed until 2021 but the Oregon Garden Resort is offering a more intimate holiday light experience for its overnight guests. When you book a room between November 27 and January 2 (excluding December 24-25), your amenities include entry to Lights at the Oregon Garden Resort for 1.5 hours. This year’s display will feature a one way path surrounding the lodge and winding through the gardens and include the magical candy lane tunnel of lights. It is not open to the general public. Accommodations start at $169 for two people and also include breakfast the next morning.  

Christmas Ships. Catch up to 60 boats decked out in their holiday brightest on two different fleets parading both the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Check online for a complete schedule and best viewing spots including the seven nights the combined fleet sets out. Operates 15 nights from December 4 through December 22 (excluding December 14 and 15).  The combined fleet will make a trek from the Riverplace Marina down to George Rogers Park on December 19, with expected arrival around 6:00 p.m. Lake Oswego viewing spots include Foothills Park, Roehr Park and George Rogers Park. Spectators are asked to maintain a safe distance from other viewers and to wear masks. FREE.

And for local lights here in Lake Oswego, check out the nextdoor app reflecting spots neighbors have recommended. One spot you have to be sure to include on your list of local Lake Oswego homes to check out for holiday lights is the house on the corner of Indian Springs Rd. and SW Childs Rd. After our holiday lights tour of Lake Oswego, we deemed them the winner!

Be sure to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in and around Lake Oswego. Click the “Sign me up” button in the right hand column and receive weekly updates.

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Holiday Shopping in Lake Oswego

Shopping local is always encouraged but especially this holiday season as our local businesses continue to pivot to accommodate for the changes mandated by the pandemic.

The city of Lake Oswego has even developed an “Open for Business” map to help shoppers in their quest. Pamplin Media is also offering “Shop Local Challenges” each week and encouraging shoppers to post photos of themselves at local businesses on their website. Each week, they’ll draw one lucky winner from all the entries to win a $50 gift card.

If that isn’t enough incentive, take a look at all the treasures local retailers offer. Here’s a roundup of some of the favorites.  

ADORN. This Portland based shop features brands like Rails, Bella Dahl, Sadie and Sage and Sam Edelman. You’ll find everything from jackets to jumpsuits along with accessories like jewelry by Portland artist Ayumi Angel. Hours: Sunday through Wednesday, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. 369 First Street. 503.303.5614.

DREAM CLOUD BOHEMIAN MARKET. This new kid on the block has been calling Lake Oswego home since November 12 after moving from their Portland location. Hopefully we can give them a warm welcome. They specialize in artisan-made goods from apparel to handmade rugs with a focus on fair trade and all-natural fibers and sustainability. Unique gift items include meditation, self-care and wellness kits. From now until December 15, you can receive 15% off one item when you donate $10, $15 or $20 to the Toys for Tots drive which the store is supporting. They are also offering curbside pickup or local drop-off if you live within eight miles of the boutique. Check them out online or visit their store. Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday. 364 First Street, 503.477.9798.

MAPEL BOUTIQUE. This locally owned boutique carries national brands like Z Supply, 7 for All Mankind and BB Dakota as well as local and independent designers like Sela and Sage and Saressa Designs. Mixed in there are fun and festive discoveries to make your holiday shopping much merrier. You’ll find Pacific Northwest-themed puzzles, holiday graphic tees, and Puffin beverage holders that make any drink look merry. They are also offering free same-day/next day shipping on all local web orders. Check them out online or visit their store at 390 N. State Street, Suite 124. Hours Monday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Sundays from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. 503.344.4573.

LUCKY ME. This store gets its name from the expression shoppers say when they visit. It’s filled to the brim with lots of bling and holiday décor including ornaments, Christmas attired stuffed dogs and naughty and nice pillows. Their usual PJ Salvage offerings are joined by festive holiday-themed PJ sets. If you prefer a private shopping experience, you can book an appointment with Marie, the owner, to peruse the shop all by yourself. Times are available Mondays through Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. before the store opens. Just email her at marieluckyme@me.com. Hours: Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. As Christmas approaches, hours will be extended so call for updates. 385 First Street, Suite 115. 503.636.9595.

RAIN SPARK GALLERY. This seasonal art gallery has gone virtual this year displaying the work of 30 member-artists. The wide selection includes glass, ceramics, fiber, paper, metal, wood and mixed media.  You will find throws, rugs, and wearable art, jewelry, sculpture for the garden, and a wide range of art for the wall including paintings, woodcuts, photography, and more. In addition, Rain Spark is carrying on its tradition of hiding 60 handmade porcelain ornaments throughout Lake Oswego as part of the Lake Oswego Community Treasure Hunt.  This year all ornaments can be found in city parks and outside of local businesses. Look for clues on Rain Spark Gallery’s website and Facebook page.

HOLIDAY MARKETPLACE. The Arts Council of Lake Oswego will be featuring over 30 artists’ work in its ARTspace Gallery as part of its fourth annual Holiday Marketplace running until December 30, 2020. Choose from fine woodworking, ceramics, fine art, wearable textiles, handcrafted soaps and lotions, candles, jewelry, confections, and more! Shopping will be available in person with safety protocols, along with online offerings. Hours: Tuesday through Friday 10:00 a.m. to 5::00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 510 First Street, 503.675.3738.  

GRAPEVINE. Name dropping is encouraged here. That’s why you’ll find fashions by Splendid, 7 for all mankind, Rails, Vince, Citizens of Humanity and Eileen Fisher just to mention a few. Visit the store during regular hours or schedule an appointment for a private experience by emailing info@grapevinefashioin.com. Hours: Monday through Saturday 11L00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. 310 N. State Street, #112, 503.635.6009

GLASSYBABY.  Glassybaby sells hand-blown votive holders that each come with a story. With names like Miracle, Cream and Silver Lining, I imagine there is a votive that would speak to the friends and family on your list. A portion of all sales go towards the glassybaby foundation to support causes close to glassybaby’s mission: support organizations that promote hope and healing. Social distancing has made the hand-blowing process even longer so the selection is more limited than usual as they strive to produce enough of each color. Hours: Monday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 390 N. State Street, 503.804.5415.

CHICO’S. Whether you’re looking for holiday red, all that shimmers or comfy and cozy, Chico’s has it. Lake Oswego managed to garner one of the 600 locations of this franchise and the location seems to be a good match—Chico’s was one of the original Lake View Village tenants. The company prides itself on personal stylists who work with you to select the right style with the right fit. They’ve taken their personal service virtual so you can get all that advice from the comfort and safety of your home! Share a little with one of their stylists about your recipient—what colors does she like…are there certain styles she gravitates towards…is machine washable a requirement…and let her go to work for you, letting you look good when she opens her gift. Right now they’re offering special deals every day as part of their 12 Days of Chic through December 13. Hours: Monday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. 385 1st Street, #119, 503.675.6655.

WISHBONE HOME DESIGN. Dress up your home for the holidays with seasonal décor that includes elegant ornaments, festive pillows, wreaths and holiday candles. Gift items include jewelry (including statement pieces by Julie Vos), candlesticks, frames and gift cards. Pick up a little decorating advice while you’re at it from the experts on hand. Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. 385 1st Street, 503.636.1229.

CITY HOME. This is one of those places that makes shopping fun with its blend of vintage, repurposed and reclaimed furnishings and decorative home pieces. Hostess gifts include spirit-themed tea cups, a boat in a bottle kit, a Made with Love stoneware baker, and holiday soy candles in scents like tree farm, peppermint and homemade gingerbread. For all those homeschool teachers these year, a light-up vintage sign that spells out Classroom or Class in Session might be the perfect gift. Other finds include a six foot kid’s growth ruler, Sun Please lumbar pillow and a host of furniture and wall art to choose from. Hours: Monday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 180 A Avenue, 503.519.7712.

THE GROVE. Instead of their evening Holiday Party, The Grove is highlighting its makers with popup displays all month long. Follow the Instagram and Facebook accounts for announcements as to who will be showing up and when. This past week featured Heather McMaster, owner of the Girl in the Pearl, Obsessed Home with a pillow popup and Mary Martinez with Paper Moon Shop helping customers order custom note pads. Owner Molly Walton reports that Christmas décor and home accessories are popular this year as well as gift baskets which are perfect for contact free delivery on recipients’ front porches. Hours: Monday – Friday, 11 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Also offering private shopping during closed hours and curbside and local front porch delivery. 4473 Lakeview Boulevard, 503.697.9999.

PASTICHE FRAME SHOP AND GALLERY. Located just around the corner from The Grove, this spot is for the adventurous shopper who likes fun surprises. Walking into this eclectic mix of repurposed and new home décor and gift items, you can rest assured the person on your gift list is going to receive something unique. Hours: Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 16780 Bryant Road, (503) 636-0208.

PAPER CAPER. From stocking stuffers to hostess gifts you can check a lot of people off your list at this store. Children’s pop-up books, holiday face masks, ornaments, scarves and head warmers, and Christmas chocolates are just some of the treasures you’ll find in addition to their wide selection of greeting cards and wrapping paper. Speaking of wrapping paper, they provide that service during this busy holiday season. Hours: Monday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 16829 65th Avenue, 503.620.9460.

When looking to buy or sell a home in Lake Oswego, be sure to work with a local Realtor like myself who knows the area best. Give me a call at 503.939.9801 and/or check out my website. I’d love to help you with your next move!

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5 Ways to Give This Holiday Season in and Around Lake Oswego

Holiday food drives are important every year, but the need is especially great in 2020, given the pandemic and the hardship that has created for many families. Here are some opportunities for giving food as well as other items locally to brighten residents’ holidays.

With Love. This non-profit’s mission is to support foster families by providing safe, clean and quality clothing and supplies for children ages 0-6. They are holding a Stocking Stuffer and Toy Drive and are asking for new items if at all possible so these children can feel the love this holiday season. Items needed include  for Infants (0-2 years old): baby toys, balls, bath toys, bibs, blocks, bubble bath, bubbles, hair bows and brushes, hair detangler, large crayons, shape sorters, sippy cups, socks, stickers, teethers, toy cars, wipes and wrist rattles; and for Little Kids (ages 3-6): action figures, art supplies, balls, band-aids, bath toys, books, bubbles, chalk, dolls, games, gloves, hair bows, hats, Hot Wheels, Legos, movies, play jewelry, Play-Doh, puzzles, socks, stickers and underwear.  Donations can be dropped off by Saturday, December 5 at the With Love Facility, 14555 SW 74th Ave, Tigard. Hours are Mondays from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and Fridays from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. They will be closed the week of Thanksgiving and open for donations on Saturday, December 5. If you prefer to donate online, you can shop their Amazon Holiday Wish List. There are also volunteer opportunities helping to receive, process, clean, sort and organize donations. Sign up online. 

Hunger Fighters. In 2014 when students at Lake Oswego Junior High realized that food insecurity is an issue even for Lake Oswego families, they started a club to address it. Today this official nonprofit distributes food from a pantry located at 2301 Hazel Road in the green house garage on the east side of the Lake Oswego High School campus. Donations are always welcome during business hours every Saturday from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Non-perishable items be dropped off anytime and left in the container outside. Perishable items like dairy, eggs, meat and fresh fruit can be dropped off on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. or by emailing to arrange an appointment. Check online for a list of currently accepted non-expired food and hygiene items. Cash is always welcome too which you can donate online. A gift of $25 feeds one person for a week. Volunteer help is also needed in a variety of areas including grocery packing, picking up donations from grocers and restaurants in the area as well as helping to stock the pantry. You can sign up online.

Tualatin School House Pantry. This Oregon Food Bank affiliate serves families each month living in Tualatin, Durham, Lake Oswego, West Linn, and Wilsonville. Cash donations are welcome to buy essentials and can be done in person or online. Canned food donations are also welcome and most needed items currently include: heart soup, chili, canned fruit, canned pasta, macaroni and cheese, canned vegetables and cold/hot cereal. Donations can be dropped off at the pantry during normal business hours: Mondays from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Volunteers are also needed in the food pantry as well as for delivering, loading, packing and picking up donations. If you would like to volunteer, sign up online.

Lake Oswego Toy Drive. Drop off new, unwrapped toys to the Lake Oswego Fire Department Main Station (300 B Avenue) by Friday, December 11. Donations will be delivered to families in need by the Tualatin Valley Elks Club. 503.635.0275.

HandsOn Portland. Check their calendar for ongoing as well as one-time volunteer opportunities. Activities include cooking at home for homeless youth, grocery shopping for homebound seniors, repairing children’s books for kids (this can be done at home with zoom-guided instructions on how to clean and repair books for distribution through the Children’s Book Bank), and fashion sorting and organizing for Dress for Success donations.

Stay up-to-date on everything Lake Oswego by subscribing to this blog. Click the “Sign me up” button in the top right-hand column and receive weekly updates. I’m a Realtor here in Lake Oswego and love promoting the quality of life here. Be sure to contact me at 503.939.9801 and/or check out my website if you’re looking to move to Lake Oswego. I’ve been helping folks move in, out and around Lake Oswego for over 30 years.

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What We Are Loving About Lake Oswego in December

I know we are still in November, but many of December’s highlights come early in the month and/or have an early registration deadline. So, take a look at some of this month’s highlights.

VIRTUAL DRINK AND DRAW. The Arts Council of Lake Oswego’s Drink and Draw programs have been a popular offering and going virtual hasn’t stopped that. When their first date sold out, they added another night. Crafters (even beginner level) will learn how to needle felt, the apparently approachable and addictive sill of sculpting raw wool with a barbed felting needle. By the end of the session, participants will end up with a penguin ornament perfect for hanging on their tree. The class is $30 for the two-hour session with felt artist LeBrie Rich along with kits that include the materials needed which can be picked up the week before the event. Register online.

DIY WINTER WREATH DEMO (LIVE STREAM). Covid has given us the time and the excuse to learn how to do things ourselves. If you’re wanting to create your own holiday wreath this season, tune into this demonstration offered by Dennis’ 7 Dees Landscaping and Garden Center on Thursday, December 3 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. You’ll learn how to hand-tie a wreath around a circle of wire with fresh greens and seasonal accents. The event is free, but you need to register online.

ARTISAN HOLIDAY MARKET. Since we can’t seem to get enough of our beloved farmer’s market, the City has invited local artisans to sell their handcrafted items as part of an Artisan Holiday Market in Millennium Plaza Park on Friday, December 4 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, December 5, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The scene promises to be merry and bright so make plans to attend. Farmers’ Market COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place and face coverings are required.

THE GROVE HOLIDAY PARTY. This neighborhood boutique is hosting a holiday party on December 3 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. where customers can pick up holiday wreaths and greenery that they’ve pre-ordered through Potted in Portland. Swig Rig, a mobile beverage bar, will be on hand offering some libations to spice up the evening.  

VIRTUAL SANTA VISITS. The Lake Oswego Kiwanis Club is offering virtual Santa visits for kids Saturday, December 4 and Sunday, December 5 for $20/visit. When booking, parents are invited to share some insider information about their child to add to the magic. Each visit will be recorded, with families receiving a copy that they can share. The 10-minute time slots are available on a first-come basis. Proceeds will be used to support youth programs for underserved children at River Grove and Oak Creek elementary schools, as well as a handful of homeless students within the Lake Oswego School District. Make your reservation early and online.

SHOP LOCAL CHALLENGE. The Lake Oswego Review has launched a campaign to support local businesses called “Shop Local Challenge.” Residents are invited to accept the challenge by supporting a business they may not typically frequent from restaurants to florists to boutiques.

While Small Business Saturday has been an annual promotion sponsored by American Express to get shoppers to “shop small” on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, this is more of an ongoing campaign to support Lake Oswego businesses who are doing their best to survive given the effects of Covid-19.

To give shoppers a goal to reach, the newspaper suggests that they coordinate how much they spend with the dates each Saturday falls on, and try to meet that if not exceed it. So, on November 28, spend at least $28; December 5, spend an amount ending in 5; $12 on December 12 and $19 on December 19.  

HOLIDAY MARKETPLACE. The Arts Council of Lake Oswego has opened its doors to its fourth annual hand-selected, all-media Holiday Marketplace at its ARTspace Gallery through December 30. Find the perfect gift from over 30 artists’ work that includes ceramics, fine art, growlers, jewelry, candles, handcrafted soaps and lotions, ornaments and wearable textiles.

PRESENTATION ON RACISM IN OREGON HISTORY. Why not give yourself the gift of knowledge this holiday season and tune in for this Zoom presentation on December 10 at 6:00 p.m. by Oregon Historical Society Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk. The program is presented by the Oswego Heritage Council and Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the City of Lake Oswego and the Lake Oswego School District. Register online.

A WHITE CHRISTMAS. While the extended forecast for Lake Oswego only shows a chance for snow showers sprinkled throughout the month, we can always hope for more, and if we are really greedy, dream of a white Christmas. It has happened before, it can happen again. That makes the month of December magical, as it should be, here in Lake Oswego.

Stay up-to-date on what’s happening during this busy time in Lake Oswego. Click the “Sign me up” button in the top right hand column and receive weekly updates.

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5 Reasons Why Buying a Home in Lake Oswego is a Great Investment

While the Dow Jones Average and S&P give us daily updates on how much we lost or gained in the stock market, the same can’t be said for real estate.

We don’t usually find out how much our investment in a home has made us until it comes time to sell. But rest assured, here in Lake Oswego, you are most likely making money while you sleep.

Here are a few new insights into that asset known as home ownership in Lake Oswego.

  1. On average, homeowners have 40 times the net worth of renters. That’s according to the most recent Survey of Consumer Finances put out by the Federal Reserve Board. In 2016, the average net worth of a homeowner in the United States was $246,200 compared to $5,300 for a renter. That climbed to $255,000 in 2019 for homeowners while renters inched up to $6,300. With mortgage rates at historic lows, it might be a good time for renters to consider buying a home.
  2. Real estate is the most favored long-term investment among Americans and has been considered as such since 2013. Thirty-eight percent of those surveyed in a recent Gallup poll placed real estate ahead of stocks at 21%, savings at 17% and gold at 16%.  
  3. Owning a home actually forces you to save. Each month that mortgage payment goes towards increasing the equity you own in your home and thereby increasing your net worth. CoreLogic, a leading property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider released their Home Equity Report for the second quarter of 2020 and reported that the overall equity for homeowners with mortgages increased by 6.6% over the past year. Lake Oswegans did better than that! Their equity increased by 7.5%. And while Oregonian homeowners in general, experienced a $9,000 average year-over-year gain, Lake Oswegans enjoyed a $67,800 average gain. Like I said earlier, you were making money in your sleep!
  4. You may have more equity in your home than you realize. Since there is no daily real estate equivalent to the S&P Index, it’s hard to know how much your home is increasing in worth day-to-day. That’s where meeting with a licensed professional Realtor like myself can provide an accurate picture of the equity you have to work with and what that might mean moving forward. You may want to use that increased equity to help you move into a bigger home, a newer one or one with more amenities.
  5. Unlike owning stock, owning a home pays dividends in more ways than increasing your net worth. Particularly during COVID-19, we’ve all come to realize how important having a place to call home is. While it’s hard to put a dollar value on that, it’s definitely a piece of the pie we call “peace of mind.”

Feel free to give me a call at 503.939.9801 to find out how much money you are earning in your sleep if you’re a current homeowner. I’m happy to meet with you and provide you with a comparative market analysis, showing you the hard data that points to what your home is worth. If you’re currently renting and would like to explore how you can enter the home buying market, let’s talk. I can help you arrive at a realistic picture of what you can afford and where those homes are in and around Lake Oswego and the Portland metro area. Check out my website and see what my clients have to say about me. I’ve been a Realtor for over 30 years and would love to put that experience to work for you!  

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