Why Lake Oswego is the Place to be on the 4th of July

The gang’s all here–Lake Oswego is a popular destination for our son’s San Francisco Bay Area friends on the 4th of July

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So I’m going to let these pictures tell Lake Oswego’s 4th of July story.

In short, Lake Oswego is the place to be on this national holiday. Just ask one of my son’s 16 friends who are traveling from San Francisco to join us for the celebration. If the pictures don’t say enough, you can read one of my previous blogs.

Here’s a schedule of this year’s events:

  • Skiboard and Wakeboard Show. Grab a viewing spot of the action in Lakewood Bay at Sundeleaf Plaza, Stickmen’s Brewery & Skewery, the Lake Theatre and Café, or Millennium Plaza Park on Sunday, July 2 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Portland Waterski Spectacular. Check out the stunts and the showmanship as these skiers dazzle you on the water in Lakewood Bay, Sunday, July 2 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Millennium Concert Band. Get in the flag-waving mood with your patriotic favorites on Monday, July 3, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Millennium Plaza Park. (In case of inclement weather, the concert will be held at Lakeridge High School auditorium).

    A table for 20 at the Lions Pancake Breakfast

  • Lions Club Pancake Breakfast. This is the one time of the year my wife eats pancakes so they must be good (and hers are gluten-free)! Early birds make sure they get the marionberry syrup. Line starts forming at 7:00 a.m. and grows until closing time at 12:00 noon. George Rogers Park, 611 S. State Street. $9/Adults; $6/Kids 12 and under.
  • Star Spangled Parade and Celebration. What kid doesn’t love a parade? Apparently none in Lake Oswego as it seems every child under the age of 10 is either walking down A Avenue or cheering those on who are. Parade begins at 10:00 a.m. and finishes at Millennium Plaza Park with a Star Spangled Celebration…and pie eating contest at 12:00 noon. Things wrap up at 1:30.
  • Lake Oswego Corporation Boat Parade. Where else can you see one parade on land and one on water all in the same day?! Boats will leave from Lake Grove Swim Park at 3800 Lakeview Boulevard at 12:00 noon. While you’re there, reserve your spot for fireworks viewing later that night.
  • Fireworks Show. The show begins around 9:45 p.m. on the west end of Oswego Lake so best to be at the Lake Grove Swim Park, on the Oswego Canal bridge, in a boat on the lake, or at a lakefront party if you can get an invite.

    This says it all about how our family feels about celebrating the 4th of July in Lake Oswego.

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Why Lake Oswego’s 54th Annual Festival of the Arts Gets Right to the Point

“Tango Tree” by Pat Averill

If the idea of colored pencil art takes you back to the fresh Crayola boxed set you had as a kid, think again. In fact, that’s the point of Lake Oswego’s 54th Annual Festival of the Arts Special Exhibit: Beyond the Point: The fine art of colored pencil and graphite. Organizers have taken a medium we are all familiar with and made us rethink what is possible when pencil touches paper in the hands of a skilled artist.

“Beach Buddies” by Pat Averill

One of the featured artists this year is Pat Averill who got hooked on colored pencil thanks to a couple lessons offered by artist and master teacher Bet Borgeson at Marylhurst. She loved its translucency which makes it easy to create complex colors. “I also loved the fact that it didn’t require a huge set-up time, drying time, or special place to work.”

“Free Ride” by Pat Averill

What viewers might like most about colored pencils are their ability to mimic other mediums. “Colored pencil art is amazing!” explains Averill, and “can look like a transparent watercolor painting, an oil painting, and if used on sanded paper, it looks almost like pastel.” And from my very naïve eye, there are many pieces that are as realistic looking as a photograph.

These sample works featured here by Averill begin to show you the possibilities that these wax, oil and water soluble colored pencils offer. Be sure to attend the show to see even more.

Besides the special exhibit on display at the Lakewood Center for the Arts, The Festival of the Arts features live music, dance and performance acts as well as a juried and open art exhibit, craft booths, children’s activities and food at the Lakewood Center (368 S. State Street) and George Rogers Park (611 S. State Street) . Dates are June 23-25, from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Check here for a full schedule.

Summer is a busy time in Lake Oswego with lots going on so subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss a thing! Click the “Sign me up” button in the top right hand column.

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3 Reasons Why Olivia Newton-John Wants You to Get Fitsical!

Back in the day when her hit, “Physical,” rocked the billboard charts, Olivia Newton-John rocked the look: leotards, leg warmers and headbands. The City of Lake Oswego thinks you can do the same and invites you to attend their 80s themed party, “Let’s Get Fitsicle!”on Thursday, June 15 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m at West Waluga Park, to celebrate all the choices we have in Lake Oswego to live a healthy and active lifestyle.

If Olivia were here, she’d want you to attend because she knows that some things, like eating healthy and staying active, never go out of style. So while the event is set to 80s hits, the goals are very timely:

  1. Raise money for the Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation scholarship program
  2. Raise awareness of the Healthy Eating-Active Living cities initiative that is behind many of the city’s popular programs such as Community Supported Agriculture at Luscher Farms, Yogalates at Palisades, Cyclocross Skills Clinics, or the Tuesday salad bar at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.
  3. Kickoff an active outdoor summer for Lake Oswego families and friends.

Here’s the schedule featuring our own LO Fire Department, Parks and Recreation staff and local businesses:

6:00 to 6:30 p.m. Check out all the activities, including healthy snacks, hands-only CPR, radical tunes, raffle. Be sure you take a spin on the Blender Bike which brings a whole new meaning to “doing two things at once.”

6:30 to 6:40 p.m. Warm-up with the Lake Oswego Fire Department

6:45 to 6:50 p.m. Dance Aerobics with Nancy

6:50 to 7:00 p.m. Nia with Zarina

7:00 to 7:10 p.m. Hula with Eve

7:10 to 7:20 p.m. Strength Training with Gail

7:20 to 7:30 p.m. Boot Camp at the Fit Spot with Barb

7:30 to 7:40 p.m. Tai Chi with Fred

7:40 to 7:50 p.m. Cool-down with the Lake Oswego Fire Department

7:50 p.m. Raffle drawing (must be present to win)

West Waluga Park is located at 15775 Waluga Drive. For more information, call 503.675.2549.

Stay up-to-date on what’s happening in Lake Oswego and what’s to love about living in Lake Oswego by clicking the “Sign me up” button in the top right hand column. And if you are thinking of buying or selling your home, give me a call at 503.939.9801 or check out my website. I’ve been helping families move in, move out and move on for over 25 years–I’d love to put my experience to work for you!

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5 Things You Can Expect From a Good Realtor in Lake Oswego, Oregon

With the busy home buying season upon us, chances are you could be looking for a good Realtor to help you with your next move. When checking out who to work with, make sure your agent is prepared to do more than just help you buy or sell your home. Make sure he or she is prepared and qualified to offer you these services as well.

  1. The truth even if it’s not what you want to hear. A good real estate agent should come to you with hard data that suggests a market price at which your home will sell. In that calculation, he or she will take into consideration comparable sales, the condition of your home, market conditions, and your timeline. A good agent should not just tell you what you want to hear in order to get the listing as that doesn’t do you any kind of service at all. I have to admit I’ve lost some listings because I’ve always believed that my first obligation is to provide sellers with a realistic picture of what their home is worth. It’s not always what they want to hear but it can save them months of frustration down the road.
  2. Referrals. Being in the business, I have a list of remodelers, plumbers, handymen and mortgage brokers that I know can deliver on their promises. This can save valuable time when getting your home ready to put on the market.
  3. Advice. While I always explain to my clients I am not an attorney, I have picked up a lot of “best practices” expertise in my 25 plus years experience selling homes in and around Lake Oswego. When it’s appropriate, I share that with my clients, saving them valuable time, and in many cases, money. For example, I recently listed a home for a couple who are separated and pending divorce. I advised them to hold off finalizing their divorce until selling to maximize their profit. As a couple, they are entitled to a $500,000 capital gains tax exclusion upon the sale of their house. Once they are divorced, the exclusion drops to $250,000 for each person individually. Definitely something to consider.
  4. Follow-through. Very few real estate transactions are cut and dried. Things come up. In the hands of an inexperienced or ineffective Realtor, those “things” can sometimes become deal breakers. A good agent goes the distance to ensure he or she follows through on any concerns that might hold up a deal. I recently sold a condo that had crawl space issues which were the Homeowner Association’s responsibility. The buyer wanted some assurance that the HOA would follow through on that. I made sure that the seller started the conversation with the HOA to make the buyer feel comfortable that work would be done in due time to her satisfaction. While I understood that this was standard practice and something the HOA would undertake, the buyer did not and so I took action to address his concerns.
  5. Home warranty recommendation. Another application of Murphy’s Law is that in many cases, the minute you sell your home, the water heater will die or the refrigerator goes out. New buyers don’t take the news very well but if they have a home warranty in place that came with the sale, they’ll get a new one to replace it leaving everybody happy. That’s why I’ve been instructing my sellers to buy a home warranty for over 16 years that goes with the sale of their home. It’s not unusual for me to hear from the home warranty companies that they have been to one of my listings or sales to do repairs or replace items—reinforcing my belief that this is good standard operating procedure and something that every good agent should be recommending.

If you are interested in moving, give me a call at 503.939.9801 or check my website. I’ve been helping people move in, move out and move on for over 25 years and would love to help you do the same.




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Celebrate National Trails Day on Lake Oswego’s Pathways

Lake Oswego’s Old River Road pathway begins by crossing the scenic footbridge in George Rogers Park

With summer-like weather beckoning you, why not plan to “Go take a hike!” to celebrate National Trails Day this Saturday, June 3. Lake Oswego has a wide variety of walker, runner, biker, pet-friendly pathways to choose from ranging from the scenic seven mile Lake Loop to the Heritage Trail that guides hikers to seven sites in town associated with Oregon’s pioneer iron history.

Once you set foot on one of these trails, you’ll be doing yourself much more of a favor than just stretching your legs. Here are some of the other benefits of getting outdoors:

  1. Reduced stress. Spending time among the trees like you’ll find on the Iron Mountain Trail can provide stress relief as it did for Japanese university students who spent two nights in the forest in a 2012 study. Test results showed lower levels of oxidative stress and inflammation after their time in Mother Nature and lower cortisol levels than a similar group who had spent two dates in the city.
  2. Improved short term memory. In 2008, the University of Michigan had a group of students perform a memory test and then divided them into two groups. One walked around an arboretum while the other strolled down city streets. Upon their return they were asked to take the test again. The group that walked around in nature improved their scores by almost 20 percent while the urban goers saw little change.
  3. Increased Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D has been credited with everything from bone and cell growth to decreased inflammation so getting your daily dose is important to your overall health. Sunshine is the direct source, setting things in motion once it hits your skin so there is no substitute for getting the real thing.
  4. Better mood. English scientists analyzed the results of ten studies on the effect of “green exercise” (physical activity done in nature) and mental health and concluded that “Every green environment improved self esteem and mood” among the participants. Throw in water, and the results were even greater. You’ll get that if you walk along the Old River Road Pathway.

For a complete guide to Lake Oswego’s pathways and trails, click here.

Learn all there is to know and love about Lake Oswego by clicking the “Sign me up” button in the top right hand column. You’ll receive weekly updates of my blog.

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Why the Rogerson Clematis Garden is a Perfect Excuse to Have a Garden Party

The Duchess of Waverly was showing off when I visited the Rogerson Clematis Garden at Luscher Farm recently.

The Rogerson Clematis Garden at Luscher Farm is just another example of how the city of Lake Oswego belies its size. With more than 1600 individual clematis spread on an acre of land surrounding the historic farmhouse, it is the most comprehensive collection of clematis within a public garden in North America.

To maintain and nurture this treasure, the Friends of the Rogerson Clematis Collection are holding their tenth annual Inviting Vines Garden Tour and Party on Saturday, May 27 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. featuring the Rogerson Garden as well as four additional gardens that have been showcased in years past. Guests can also enjoy “Breakfast with Mike Darcy,” in the barn for an additional fee.

The Rogerson collection was started by Brewster Rogerson in 1971 and made its way from Kansas to Eugene to the Gutmann Nursery in North Plains before finding its home at Luscher Farm where clematis are combined with other plants in a residential setting to inspire visitors to incorporate them into their yards. Volunteers update what’s in bloom on a regular basis, and with the variety planted there, it seems that something is always showing off its color.

Why all the fuss about clematis? They are visually stunning—I’ve been known to purchase a couple for my yard after being dazzled by their display in local nurseries. They come in a variety of colors as well as shapes and sizes. Flowers can be as wide as one to five inches across and the plants can range from one to thirty feet tall.

Don’t take my word for it. Buy a ticket for the Inviting Vines Garden Party. Cost is $25/person; $50/person for tour and breakfast with Mike Darcy (seating is limited and tickets only available on line until May 23). If you can’t make the event, just check out the “What’s in Bloom?” page on the collection’s website and head over to Luscher Farm at 125 Rosemont Road to see for yourself. Hours are 8:00 a.m. to dusk everyday.


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Mother Nature Has Friends in Lake Oswego

Efforts by Lake Oswego’s Park Stewardship volunteers ensure that native species like this trillium can thrive in their natural habitat.

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’d like to give a nod to a mother we can all be grateful for—Mother Nature.

Here in Lake Oswego it seems she has quite a few friends. Over 700 in fact – stewardship program volunteers who got down and dirty last year all in the name of restoring our natural areas. What drives them to pick up a shovel and gloves, brave the elements at times, and tackle jobs that could have been featured on one of the tamer episodes of the former Dirty Jobs TV show?

“Stewardship volunteers know they make a difference in the health of a living forest,” explains Babs Hamachek, Lake Oswego’s Parks Stewardship Coordinator.Unlike some volunteer efforts where it’s difficult to gauge a person’s impact, stewardship volunteers can see the direct results of their contributions.

For Heidi Schrimsher it has meant, “Watching parks evolve from ivy and blackberry infested deserts to biodiverse microcosms, and making these areas accessible to our community.”

With a masters in landscape architecture Schrimsher seems like a perfect fit for this line of work but the spectrum of volunteers is quite diverse. “My favorite work parties include parents with kids of all ages (including young ones that are more interested in finding worms than anything), high school kids looking for community service hours and empty nesters,” explains Schrimsher. “These diverse neighbors, who would likely never interact, get together in the park for the same purpose – to act as stewards of the land.”

Nobody said the work was glamorous, but for those who value a healthy natural habitat, it’s rewarding.

So what kind of dirty work do these volunteers actually do?  Urged on by the battle cry, “Free the Trees!” much of their time is spent pulling English Ivy off trees and removing other invasives such as Himalayan Blackberry and Travels Joy Clematis that smother native plants.

Once areas are cleaned up, volunteers can plant native species and help with other projects that protect the natural area of the park like spreading mulch or picking up debris. Thirty-five work parties were held last year, usually lasting for two hours on a Saturday or Sunday.

Mother Nature isn’t the only one that profits from these good deeds. The volunteers themselves get to exercise outdoors, meet new people who share their environmental values, and enjoy the health benefits of being in nature such as: stronger immune system, lower blood pressure, reduced stress, increased ability to focus, and increased energy level. As Hamachek explains, “It’s a win/win for the volunteers and the natural areas.”

Check out stewardship volunteer opportunities online. Work parties are drop-in and tools are provided.

Keep up to date on what’s to love about Lake Oswego. Click the “Sign me up” button in the top right hand column to receive a new reason to love this town each week.


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