George Bailey thought he wanted to leave his small hometown behind but in the end of It’s a Wonderful Life, he realizes that Bedford Falls has everything he needs. People who are lucky enough to live in the First Addition Neighborhood in Lake Oswego, Oregon probably feel the same way. Here’s why:
- Charm. From the quaint cottages to the picket fences, the neighborhood oozes with a small town feel. Country Living named the First Addition Neighborhood (FAN) as one of the 10 Best Cottage Communities in 2006.
- Walkability. The neighborhood is designed to be pedestrian friendly with tree canopied streets, front porches where folks actually sit and call out to you, and commercial and retail establishments within walking distance. It was picked as one of 10 Great Neighborhoods in America by the American Planning Association in 2007 as a testament to how well it works.
- Eclectic. “There is a healthy mix of housing types,” explains First Addition/Forest Hills Neighborhood Association Chair, Carole Ockert “with houses, apartments, condominiums, and storefront townhomes.” Cookie cutter architecture this is not, with homes that draw from a variety of styles: English cottage, craftsman, bungalow, ranch, Gothic and Prairie. As a result, residents represent a mix of old, young, empty nesters and young families just starting out.
- Amenities. You can get a feel for how much this neighborhood packs into 120 acres when you realize all that you’ll find here: an award winning public library, post office, small private community pool, and city park.
- Alleys. Twenty foot wide alleys contribute to the welcoming nature of the streetscape. Garage access to many of the homes is from these alleyways and in fact, the neighborhood plan stipulates that new homes need to incorporate this feature into their design.
- History. The First Addition was first platted in 1888 and is home to several historic structures and some of the oldest trees and gardens in the city. Check out the 130 year old sugar maple on the corner of Third and C or the over 130 year old American Elm on First Street between B and C.
- Easy commute. For many First Addition residents, the commute to work means walking a few blocks down to the Tri-Met Transit Center at Fourth and A Avenue and hopping on a bus for a thirty minute ride to downtown Portland.
- Forest Hills School. Just outside the First Addition boundaries, Forest Hills Elementary is still within walking distance for many neighborhood residents. The playground and fields are popular spots for families on weekends and after school.
- Shopping district. From groceries to office supplies, haircuts to shoe repair, First Addition residents don’t have to travel far to take care of their needs. “We see the stores and the people who run those businesses as part of our neighborhood,” explains Ockert. They serve on association committees addressing issues such as parking or traffic. “We believe in the vitality of those businesses so we encourage people to shop local and I think the merchants care about that too so they are very responsive to our concerns. It’s a good symbiotic relationship,” she adds.
- Active neighborhood association. The people who live and work here are invested in protecting the quality of life they enjoy as spelled out in their neighborhood plan, “The First Addition neighborhood of the future will be much like the First Addition neighborhood of today.” In recent years, FAN merged with the Forest Hills Neighborhood Association so while they maintain their individual boundaries, they embrace one neighborhood plan. In addition to monthly meetings, they host an annual get-together, typically in May. This year’s will feature an ice cream social to welcome all the newcomers into the neighborhood.
Homes in the First Addition range in price between $175,000 and $1.25 million. If you’re interested in exploring the possibilities of living here, give me a call. Besides living here, I’m a Realtor in Lake Oswego and I’d love to show you around.