To quell any rumors that Portland trailblazer Wesley Matthews had lost his edge or let up on his game at the beginning of this season, he wrote the lyrics from a song by hip hop artist Big Sean on a reporter’s notebook right before his first exhibition game, “I’m the new version of the old me.
The same could be said for Lake Oswego’s Old Town Neighborhood. Although it’s the oldest part of the city, an active neighborhood association and a forward-thinking neighborhood plan adopted in 1998, ensures that like a fine wine, Old Town is improving with age.
CONVENIENT LOCATION. Ten year resident, Dick Reamer, calls Old Town the “perfect location.” He rattles off everything that is within walking distance: George Rogers Park, Willamette River, Albertson’s grocery store, coffee shops, movie theater, Lakewood Center, downtown Lake Oswego. And if it’s too far to get to on foot, public transit runs right along State Street which borders the neighborhood on the western boundary.
CHARM. Many bungalow style homes dot the streets and the neighborhood plan strives to incorporate more dense housing while still maintaining the quaint feel.
HISTORY. Old Town is the birthplace of Lake Oswego. It was platted in 1851 by Albert Alonzo Durham and grew as the iron industry developed, bringing with it workers who needed places to live. A portion of the iron smelting chimney remains and is on display at George Rogers Park. Historical landmarks include the George Rogers house and the Odd Fellows Hall on Durham Street which has been converted into several housing units. Walking down neighborhood streets is like walking down memory lane with street names assigned to important Lake Oswego figures like Ladd, Leonard, Wilbur and Durham.
AMBIANCE. Reamer describes the neighborhood as reminiscent of the neighborhoods he remembers as a youngster growing up. Life seems to slow down when you turn off State Street onto Leonard, Wilbur or Ladd. There is a Little Free Library located at the corner of Wilbur and Durham where the honor system ensures that a steady stream of books is available for borrowing.
ACTIVE NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION. The association usually holds about two general meetings a year along with six or seven board meetings. Guest speakers are invited in, like a recent meeting featuring the police chief who discussed safety issues and neighborhood watch. In the past they’ve also conducted a neighborhood preparedness survey, gathering contact information in case of emergency and identifying resources like doctors, nurses and CERT trained volunteers. Twice a year they try to get together socially, once in the summer for a potluck at George Rogers Park and another in December which has included watching the Christmas ships go by.
Reamer says when people discover Old Town, they often ask if there are any homes for sale in the neighborhood. Currently there is one listed at $979,000, a renovated 4,000 square foot Craftsman on Furnace Street with 3 bedrooms and 3 ½ baths. Last month a 3,552 square foot Craftsman built in 2004 on Leonard sold for $665,000.
Seems the residents are quite happy where they are, so if you’re looking to get in, watch the market closely or let me do the legwork for you. Experienced Realtors like myself often hear of listings before they hit the open market so put my network to work for you!