Here’s Why It’s Not Too Early to Make Your Valentine’s Day Plans Now in Lake Oswego

Valentine’s Day is one of those occasions it’s best to plan ahead for. Especially if you want to surprise your valentine with something that requires a reservation. Spots at romantic restaurants can fill up fast. Things can sell out. So don’t delay. I’ve done some legwork to save you time.

1. Make a dinner reservation. A few places in town are offering special Valentine’s Day menus including:
Tavern on Kruse. Enjoy a three course dinner featuring scallop-mousse stuffed lobster for two for $100/couple. Phone reservations required. 4835 Meadows Road, #133. 503.303.5280.
Riccardo’s is offering a special four course menu at $80/person (not including wine, drinks and gratuities). Share an Antipasti and Primo Course (three offerings each) and then select individual Secondo Courses and Dessert offerings.

2. Make something special. Nic & Figs is offering a Mixed Media Heart College class sending you home with a 12×12 canvas covered with a variety of hearts you’ve created out of different mediums: paper, glitter, tissue, paint. Thursday, February 8 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. for $48.

3. Do something special together. Nic & Figs to the rescue again! They are offering a class you can do with your child or your girlfriend! Sweetie Pies is a valentine-themed baking class on Saturday, February 10 from 10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. for $44/person. Galentine’s Day is an Introductory to Calligraphy class sending you home with a pen, nibs, ink and practice sheets to perfect scripting the perfect love notes! Tuesday, February 13 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. 425 2nd Street. 503.479.8596.

4. Feel the love. Make a date in advance for Tom Grant and Shelly Rudolph’s “Winter Romance” concert at the Lake Theater and Café on Monday, February 26 at 7:00 p.m. Enjoy duets, soulful pop and romantic jazz so much so that your valentine won’t mind having to postpone your celebration. $15/person. 106 N. State Street.

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New Year’s Resolutions for Lake Oswego Homeowners

It’s that time of year again when 40% of Americans set goals to improve their quality of life. By year’s end, statistics suggest only 8% of us will have followed through.

To increase your odds for success, it helps to have goals that are simple and tangible. So for all you homeowners out there, I’ve come up with a few that meet those criteria. See if there are any that will fit your list.

  1. Get your home radon tested. It may not be as sexy as “Remodeling the Kitchen” or “Painting the Living Room” but testing for radon in your home is important and should definitely be on your 2018 To Do List if you haven’t done it already. According to the National Cancer Institute radon is a radioactive gas released from the normal decay of elements like uranium, in rocks and soil. It enters your home through cracks in floors, walls, or foundations and collects indoors. You can’t detect it because it’s invisible, odorless and tasteless but without you knowing, it could be damaging your lungs and putting you at risk for cancer.

The good news is that you can test your home for radon levels and if they are high, you can choose among several options for mitigating the gas and reducing it to a level that is considered safe. You can buy a kit and do the testing yourself or hire a professional. I’ve had it done in my home and found a level that was slightly elevated so took measures to correct that. My neighbor did the same, and although he is right next door, his levels were much higher. Levels can be influenced by the type of construction, heating and ventilation systems, and geology so it’s important to find out what the levels are in your home even if your neighbors have done so and found no risk.

There is a Portland Radon Map updated for 2017 which lists the risk level according to zip codes based on homes that have been tested in that area. In Lake Oswego, both 97034 and 97035 are considered moderate risk.

  1. Maintain your roof. Luckily in Oregon we have changing seasons but with that comes a lot of wear and tear on our roofs from rain, hail, windblown debris, snow, and UV exposure. That’s why it’s important to do an annual checkup or even more frequently, particularly after a major storm. Keeping your roof clean limits the wear and tear and hopefully heads off expensive repairs. It also extends the life of your roof and keeps it looking good. Out of all of my real estate deals each year, I’d say roof issues factor into 15% of my sales. By maintaining your roof on a regular basis, you can potentially avoid it becoming a concern for buyers should you decide to sell.
  2. Take inventory. This is one of those items I haven’t updated in years and need to do so. With Christmas just behind us, chances are you have some new items around the house like a big screen TV or iPad. Now’s a perfect time to document them for insurance purposes should the need arise down the road. Choose the medium that works best for you—video, photos or pen and paper. Just be sure to also include model and serial numbers and receipts if you have them. Then store the information somewhere outside your home, either uploaded into online file storage like DropBox or Google Drive or in a safe deposit box at your bank.
  3. Get to know your neighbors. When my wife and I lived in an apartment the first six months of our marriage, we managed to not meet any of our neighbors until moving out day. But when we moved to Lake Oswego we made a conscious effort to make connections with neighbors both right next door and in our town and it has paid off. Not only does it make our house feel more like a home, we’ve also relied on our neighbors for many things. Once my wife returned home and found the front door wide open. Afraid to explore inside alone, she walked across the street and returned with our neighbor Sandy who was armed with a baseball bat just in case (not needed). Last month we were gone for a week and my next door neighbor Mark brought in my garbage cans and kept an eye on the place for which I returned the favor over Christmas vacation. We’ve borrowed (and loaned) yard equipment, trailers, and even cups of sugar. We’ve attended anniversary and graduation parties, and shared recommendations on handymen and plumbers. Back in 1986 when our basement was flooding, neighbors showed up on our doorstep willing to move furniture to higher ground and watch our pets. Good neighbors help your roots run deeper. The only drawback I can think of is it might make it a little harder to move if you find yourself not only leaving a house but friends behind.

If you’ve resolved to sell your home or buy one, let me help! Check out my website or give me a call at 503.939.9801. I’ve been helping folks move in, out and on for over 25 years and I’d love to put that experience to work for you.

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Lake Oswego’s Lakewood Theatre Company Provides Fertile Ground for Local Festival

You don’t have to belong to the Screen Actors Guild to get a sneak peek at new theater, film or art projects if you live in the Portland metro area. All you have to do is buy a ticket to the ninth annual Fertile Ground Festival schedule for January 18-28.

Celebrating new works, the festival features theater, dance, and animation, enabling audiences to see these creative art forms at different stages of development. Some performances are ready-to-roll and are making their fully staged world premieres. Others are still in-the-works and are presented as readings with opportunity for audience input as the playwright and actors still find their way through the script.

Lake Oswego’s very own Lakewood Theater Company at 368 S. State Street is host to five of these performances.

  • My Audience with Angels, Saints and Demons. Talk about talented! Writer, director and actress Cheryl E. Grant brings us vignettes about isolation, the struggle for connection and love. This is a workshop format, meaning it’s not ready to premiere but is looking for the feedback of an audience to further its development. Saturday, January 20 at 2:00 p.m. $10/person.
  • A Woman in Washington’s Army. While last year’s Lake Oswego Reads program introduced us to the unsung women heroes behind our country’s early race to the moon, this play introduces us to Deborah Samson, a young woman who disguised herself as a man in order to fight during the Revolutionary Way. This is a reading format with both the playwright and actors sharing the dialogue of the script to give it traction and bring the words to life in front of an audience. Sunday, January 21 at 2:00 p.m. $10/person.
  • 1ne Off! Completely Improvised One-Act Plays. If you like your theatre unpredictable, then get yourself a seat to this one. Audience members can help shape what takes place on stage with suggestions. Voice your ideas or just sit back and enjoy unscripted theatre with the award-winning company of Infinite Improv! Workshop format. Tuesday, January 23 and Sunday, January 28 at 7:00 p.m. $10/person.
  • Young Playwrights Festival. Enjoy one-act plays written by three high school playwrights in the Portland Metro Area who have had the opportunity to work with theatre professionals to hone their craft. Reading format. Saturday, January 27 at 2:00 p.m. $10/person.
  • Parnassus On Wheels. This play, written by local playwright C.S. Whitcomb, is making its world premiere at the Lakewood Theatre Company and so is being included in the Fertile Ground Festival with two performances. It tells the story of a forty-something woman who leaves her life on the family farm to hit the road as a traveling bookseller. Sunday, January 21 at 7:00 p.m. and Wednesday, January 24 at 7:30 p.m. $15/person.

For a complete schedule of events occurring throughout the Portland Metro Area, check the Fertile Ground website.

Tickets may be purchased for individual performances or you can buy a festival pass for $50 which admits one person to each production. Manage your reservations and tickets online.

Lake Oswego is fertile ground for lots of things that residents associate with a good life. If I can help make it a place you can call home, please give me a call at 503.939.9801 or check out my website and email me. I’d love to show you around!

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Lake Oswego Reads Kicks Off This Week With Book Giveaway

Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton beat out 21 other books to become this year’s Lake Oswego Reads selection.

The story follows the narrative of a 78 year old Arctic scientist and a mission specialist on a return flight from Jupiter as they lose communication with the outside world and face the possibility that a catastrophe may have occurred leaving them alone. It’s ripe with all the ingredients that make for a successful LO Reads: thought-provoking themes, interesting environments, and differing worldviews.

To help us all get the most out of Brooks-Dalton’s story, Lake Oswego Reads has organized a month’s worth of events that touch on glaciers, polar bears, isolation and emergency preparedness. For a complete lineup, check out the library’s website. Here are a few highlights.

Kickoff and Book Giveaway. Bring your library card and receive a free copy of this year’s book, courtesy of Friends of the Lake Oswego Library. To help you get in the mood, book-related food will be served such as trail mix, chai tea and caribou jerky. Each book will contain a passport, which when stamped at least three LO Reads events, makes you eligible for a drawing for prizes on February 28. Monday, January 8 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Lake Oswego Public Library, 706 Fourth Street.

Ticket Giveaway to hear Lily Brooks-Dalton on Tuesday, February 13 at Lake Oswego High School. Show up with your library card and receive two admission tickets free of charge. Get there early as a line forms. Saturday, January 20 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Glaciers: What are they? Where are they? Where are they going? Get your questions answered by Glacier expert Dr. Andrew Fountain from Portland State University. Thursday, February 1 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at City Hall Council Chambers, 380 A Avenue.

Lake Oswego Reads Art Show Reception and Meet the Artists. Come see how local artists such as Jan Rimerman, Lisa Wiser and Mary Burgess interpret some of the book’s themes. Monday, February 5 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 State Street.

Oregon’s Backwoods Utopias: Alternative Living Communities 1856-2017. Explore Oregonians’ experiences with communitarian living which includes New Odessa (a Zionist community of the 1880s) and Rajneeshpuram. Presentation by Dr. Stephen Dow Beckham. Wednesday, February 7 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Oswego Heritage House, 398 10th Street.

Maker Space-Arctic Crawlers. See what you can make with a toothbrush, motor, battery and your own creativity to tackle a variety of polar challenges. Saturday, February 10 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Lake Oswego Public Library, 706 Fourth Street.

12 Years and Counting: The History of Lake Oswego Reads. Learn everything you wanted to know about Lake Oswego Reads and didn’t know who to ask from organizer Cyndie Glazer. Saturday, February 10 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Oswego Heritage House, 398 10th Street.

Thin Ice: A Polar Bear’s Plight Movie Screening. Come see the documentary of Nora the polar bear whose story was chronicled by The Oregonian and Oregon Live this past year. Sunday, February 11 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., at Lewis and Clark College Council Chambers Templeton Center, 0615 SW Palatine Hill Road.

Life and Research in Extreme Environments. Polar biologist Dr. Brad Buckley from Portland State University will present a slide and video show depicting what it’s like to work in the field in extreme conditions. Monday, February 12 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Lake Oswego Public Library, 706 Fourth Street.

Lily Brooks-Dalton Author Presentation and Book Signing. Hear the author talk about some of the themes and the book writing process. Event is free and those with tickets (from the free giveaway) will be seated first. At 6:45 p.m., people without tickets will have a chance to take a seat. Tuesday, February 13 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Lake Oswego High School Auditorium, 2501 Country Club Road.

Isolation and Separation Anxiety. Dr. John Schneider, a Portland psychologist, will discuss the importance of human connection and the effects of isolation of our psyche. Friday, February 23 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Lake Oswego Public Library, 706 Fourth Street.

What Would You Do During and After a Catastrophe? Lake Oswego Fire Chief Larry Goff will talk about what to do before, during, and after a disaster. Saturday, February 24 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Lake Oswego Fire Station, 300 B Avenue.

Finale and Passport Drawing. Mental health is a theme that runs through the book, and depression sufferer/comedian David Granirer does his best to destigmatize mental illness with his Stand Up for Mental Health Comedy Show. Stick around afterwards for a drawing–if you have a passport with at least three stamps from different Lake Oswego Reads events, you’re eligible to win prizes. Wednesday, February 28 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, 505 G Avenue.

For further information on Lake Oswego Reads, call Cyndie Glazer at 503.675.2538.

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Start Your New Year With Something New in Lake Oswego

This year I resolved to learn how to speak Italian. I downloaded the app and started making good on my resolution just about a month ago. While I’m nowhere near ready to navigate a busy stazione ferroviaria yet, it does feel good to be trying something new.

What about you? What’s on your “someday” list? The Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Department has some new offerings this winter that just might help you stop wishing and start doing. Check them out online and/or call for more information: 503. 675.2549.

Piano for Adults Thursday Group Sessions. This is another one on my bucket list and maybe on yours too. Group lessons introduce you to the basics of music theory and how to navigate your fingers around a keyboard. Learn to play songs, read music and rhythmic expression. Three six-week sessions offered on Thursdays from 7:15 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. beginning January 11. Register for #16880 (January 11-February 15), #16881 (February 22 through April 4), and/or #16914 (April 12 through May 17). $66/Resident; $83/Non-Resident. Palisades, 1500 Greentree Road.

Boomers Beat. This one’s for all you frustrated Ringo Starrs out there—grab your drumsticks and pound your way to fitness in the Park and Recreation Department’s newest fitness class. Raise your heart rate, improve your balance and burn calories in this high energy, cardio exercise class. Try it out for FREE on Thursday, January 11 (#16619) or Thursday, March 8 (#16671) at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, 505 G Avenue. Then register for session 1 from January 18 through March 1 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (#16617) and/or session 2 from March 15 through April 26 (#16618). Cost is $48/Resident; $72/Non-Resident.

The World of Altered Books. If you had a chance to visit the special exhibit at Festival of the Arts, you might have been inspired to take some of your old books and transform them into altered works of art. This class will teach you how. Sessions run 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Mondays from January 8 through March 5 (#16970) or March 12 through April 30 (#16971). Cost is $83/Resident; $105/Non-Resident. Palisades, 1500 Greentree Road.

Hand Building with Clay for Adults. Why should kids have all the fun? Learn clay hand-building techniques while creating both functional or sculptural pieces. All materials will be provided. Sessions are offered on Tuesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. from February 27 through March 20 (#16968) or April 3 through April 24 (#16969). Cost is $158/Resident; $182/Non-Resident. Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, 505 G Avenue.

Indoor Pickleball Clinics. Maybe you’re curious about this paddle sport that borrows from tennis, badminton and ping pong but didn’t know where to go to find out more. Beginner drop-in clinics are available on two Fridays from 6:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. on March 9 and April 13. They’re presented by the Lake Oswego Pickleball Club. That’s right! There’s a pickleball community that would love to show you why they’re so passionate about this sport. Loaner paddles are available. Games are played both on six courts at George Rogers Park and three indoor courts at Palisades. The clinic drop-in rate is $3/Resident;$5/Non-Resident. Outdoor games at George Rogers are free; indoor games cost $3/session for Lake Oswego Pickleball Club members; $5/session for non-members and non-residents.

On a Whim. If you’re wanting to channel your inner Julia Child and have some friends who want to do the same, consider scheduling a private class at On a Whim Studio. Class offerings range from One Pot Meals and Hearty Soup and Chilis to Gluten Free Appetizers and Easy and Elegant Dinner for Two. There is also a wide selection of introductory classes in sewing, quilting and drawing. 503. 305.8493. 467 Third Street.

Maybe a new home is on your wish list—I’d like to make that happen for you. Just give me a call at 503.939.9801 and/or check out my website. For over 25 years I’ve been helping people move in, out and on and I’d love to do the same for you.

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The Stories Behind Your Favorite Holiday Movie Houses

 ‘Tis the season to gather round with family and friends and binge-watch holiday movies. Ever wondered about some of the houses featured in your favorites? To satisfy the house-hunter in all of you, I did some digging. Here’s what I found.

Miracle on 34th Street. Six year old Susan Walker is brought up to not believe in fairy tales, let alone Santa Clause, but she cuts Macy’s stand-in, Kris Kringle, a deal. Deliver her dream Cape Cod house, and she’ll become a believer. I won’t tell you whether or not she becomes a convert, but I will tell you that the house actually exists. The address for the 1947 version is 24 Derby Road in Port Washington, Long Island New York. At 1,700 square feet Redfin currently estimates its value at $706,687. The 1994 version appreciated in size and value located at 771 Washington Road in Lake Forest, Illinois. This 5 bedroom 5,964 square foot house sold for $2,660,186 in 2016. Kris Kringle had to work a little more magic to make that dream come true!

You can’t judge a house by its exterior. Iris’ cottage in The Holiday was just a shell. Interior shots were filmed in L.A. (screen shot of movie trailer)

The Holiday. My daughter is a Nancy Meyers fan and watches this movie whether it’s the holidays or not. Beautiful settings, as my daughter likes to point out, are a trademark of a Meyers film and the writer/producer goes to great lengths (and expense) to get them just right. In the case of The Holiday, that meant scouting the English countryside for the perfect place for Iris (Kate Winslet) to call home. Meyers found the village, Shere, about an hour out of London, but the perfect cottage was in a town over four hours away. So Meyers and her crew built a shell on a hillside overlooking Sheer where all the exterior scenes for the movie were filmed. The interior scenes were created and filmed at Sony Studios in Culver City.

The other main character in the film lives in Los Angeles in a Mediterranean style mansion complete with swimming pool and terra cotta roof. Meyers didn’t have to construct this house; it actually exists at 1883 Orlando Road in San Marino, California and lists its value at $8,089,300. Once again, exterior shots were done here while the crew headed back to Sony Studios.

Mary saw potential in the old Granville house and her wish came true to live there with George. (screen shot taken from movie clip)

It’s a Wonderful Life. Seems Mary Bailey was into flipping houses before they became the Reality TV show rage. She took the old Granville house at 320 Sycamore Street and made it into a home. As nostalgic as the movie may make us, we can’t go visit the Bailey’s home because it only existed on a movie set. The town of Bedford Falls was spread out over four acres in Encino, California and has since given way to development. Unless, of course, you believe the folks of Seneca Falls, New York, who claim that their town is the “real” Bedford Falls. They even hold an “It’s a Wonderful Life” celebration every year to prove it. You can catch this year’s on December 8-10.

A Christmas Story. The child’s-eye view of this movie has made it a perennial holiday favorite. Although set in the fictional town of Hohman, Indiana, the outside of Ralphie’s house was filmed in Cleveland. And leave it to Cleveland to capitalize on that—the house has been restored and is open for tours and even overnight stays. As if that’s not enough Christmas Story nostalgia to feed you, there’s a museum located across the street filled with original props, memorabilia and costumes from the film.

Holiday Inn. This is the movie that gave us “White Christmas,” so no wonder it’s a classic. The Inn is on a farm Bing Crosby moves to which he decides to open as an entertainment venue for holidays only. According to, most of the movie was filmed at Paramount Studios; however, there is an inn in Monte Rio, California, that claims scenes for the film were shot there as well. Rumor also has it that the set was reused 12 years later for another Irving Berlin Christmas classic, White Christmas.

If you’re like Susan in It’s a Wonderful Life, and want a new house for Christmas, give me a call. I might be able to help Santa make your wish come true. 503.939.9801. Or check my website.


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What do Blake Shelton and Lake Oswego, Oregon Have in Common?

Top 10

In this season of list-making, I’d like to point out that Blake Shelton is a List Maker. People Magazine just named him the Sexiest Man Alive. He has also been listed as the Favorite Male Country Artist in 2016 and the Male Vocalist of the Year in 2012.

The City of Lake Oswego, Oregon seems to share Shelton’s penchant for making lists. Check these out.

●Recognized as the #1 School District in the Nation by StartClass, an education research website.

●Named one of Top 10 Best Towns for Families by Family Circle magazine in 2012.

●Awarded the National Planning Excellence Award by the American Planning Association in 2013 for a three minute video, “We Love Lake Oswego” video to introduce the city’s comprehensive plan to the public and stimulate conversation and involvement. The message of the video was that “cities like Lake Oswego don’t happen by accident.”

●Ranked the smartest city in Oregon by Zippia, a career resource site for young professionals, based on the percentage of adults over 25 with at least a high school education (97.8%) and the high school dropout rate (0.5%).

●Earned the #3 spot in Zip Realty’s 2014 “10 Best Places for Families to Live” list, based on educational standards and housing costs.

●Recognized with a Civic Livability Award in 2012 by the U.S. Conference of Mayors for its Lake Oswego Reads program.

●Ranked #5 nationally in the 2011 Forbes survey of cities that give you the most educational bang for your real estate buck.

●Named one of 30 safest cities in Oregon by SafeWise based on both violent and property crime reports. Came in at #12.

●Listed as third most family friendly city in Oregon by real estate blog, Estately. Lake Oswego was noted as having the best public school system in the state. Other considerations factored in included youth populations, commute time, libraries, housing affordability and cost of living.

●Named the most educated town in Oregon by Business Insider based on census bureau data gathered in American Community Survey 2008-2012 for places with at least 1,000 people.

●Donned a winner in the America in Bloom contest in 2003, scoring a 5 out of 5 for its floral displays.

●Even the city government has bragging rights. It was listed in the Top 100 workplaces in Oregon and Southwest Washington in 2016 by The Oregonian and was the only city government to make the list!

●Designated “Fabulous” upon joining the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Cities Campaign. Since the city already had programs in place to promote a healthier and more active lifestyle for residents, it earned the top ranking the program awards.

 I’ve also shown up on a few lists myself, like being recognized as a Diamond Platinum Member in the Portland Metropolitan Realtors Million Dollar Club, a consistent top producer with the Hasson Company Realtors, and the recipient of the Lake Oswego Community Leader of the Year award. Let me go to work for you buying or selling your home. Contact me.

Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at




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