5 Things We Love About Lake Oswego in June

I’ve covered the coming attractions this summer in Lake Oswego, but here are five happenings that I wanted to draw particular attention to, some of which were not previously mentioned.

As I’ve said before, Lake Oswego is the little town that thinks it can and does—there’s so much to look forward to this summer, even with Covid restrictions in place. So count your lucky stars that come summer, you are living in Lake Oswego (or at least visiting!)

Women’s Golf Day. Ladies enjoy FREE rounds of golf after 12:00 p.m. along with a FREE clinic with PGA professional and course manager Tom Mueller from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. While there is no cost to this event, women do need to call for a tee time or reserve online. Open to ages 18 and older.

Opening of Lake Grove Swim Park. This place holds a special place in the Costello family heart. Our kids (and their parents) spent many a summer afternoon here swimming in the lake, playing ping pong, hanging out at the concession stand, and just being a kid. Unfortunately, due to Covid restrictions, activities are limited this year as is the time patrons are allowed to visit the park (a time-limit will be enforced to ensure that everyone gets to use the park while still safely distancing). But even in a scaled-down version, this park is one of the best things about Lake Oswego. So if you live within the former Lake Grove School District boundaries, be sure to put this on your Summer To Do list starting June 18. And if you don’t, just wait until next month when the city’s swim park opens on Ridgeway Road.

Deepening our Connections: A 3-Part Series on African American Literature, Part 1. The discussion continues, picking up from this year’s Lake Oswego Reads selection: Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. The Lake Oswego Library and Respond to Racism are sponsoring this conversation that will use storytelling to connect us and help us better understand the diverse and often painful experiences of our nation’s Black communities. Part 1 of this series will discuss Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs via Zoom and led by Regan Parker, a Lake Oswego mother, lawyer, and author with a deep passion for racial justice and belief in the power of story to instill understanding and connect us to one another. Sunday,  June 13 at 2:00 p.m. Register online.   

Petals and Punch. This is a new addition to Lake Oswego’s summer lineup of activities and promises to be memorable for little ones and their families. It takes place in Lake Oswego’s outdoor living room—Millennium Plaza Park—and features live entertainment from Angel Ocasio Comedy and music from Mr. Hoo. Tickets are $30/pair for Residents; $45/pair for non-residents and include tea, savory bites and sweet patisserie. An additional sibling discount is available if registering for another child. Register online for class number 22967.

Summer Solstice. I’ve extolled the virtues of summer in Lake Oswego on this blog before, but summer nights are some my favorites. And on Sunday, June 20, we see our longest day clocking in at 15 hours, 40 minutes and 25 seconds of daylight. Sunrise is at 5:22 a.m. and sunset at 9:02 p.m. followed by several more days with an even later sunset of 9:03 p.m. It’s definitely something to look forward to!

I plead guilty to trying to sell you on what a great place Lake Oswego is to live. That’s what this blog is all about. And if I manage to convince you to check it out, please feel free to give me a call at 503.939.9801, email me at costellok@hasson.com and/or check out my website. After living here and working here as a Realtor for over 30 years, I’d love to put my knowledge and love for this town to work for you. Happy summering!

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Coming Attractions This Summer in Lake Oswego

Last year at this time I posted an article speaking to the growing list of traditional summertime activities that had been cancelled due to Covid-19 and the Covid-approved versions of the ones that remained.

Now 365 days later, I’m happy to announce that Lake Oswego continues to find ways to make summer its finest season with smaller-scale, capacity-monitored outdoor events. From concerts in the park to flicks on the farm, there are a variety of options for Lake Oswegans to make the most of the glorious weather and daylight-filled days coming our way.

Here’s a sneak peek at the coming attractions:

Lake Oswego Farmers’ Market. I’ve already touted about this popular summer attraction but in case anyone missed it, I wanted to make sure the market, which is already underway, is top on everyone’s “Summer To Do” list for Lake Oswego. Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. May 8 to October 2 in Millennium Plaza Park, 200 First Street.

Pop-Up Concerts on the Lake. The Lake Corporation is staging eight pop-up concerts at various locations around the lake beginning June 11 through September 9. Locations are revealed at 5:30 p.m. on the day of the concert through emails to members and on their Facebook page. Concerts begin at 6:00 p.m. (except for Hot August Night on August 7 which begins at 6:30 p.m.)

Juneteenth. Head down to Millennium Plaza Park to participate in the city’s commemoration of the day slavery ended. Programming TBA.

Picnic in the Park. Our popular summer concert series returns in a new and Covid-approved version. Since capacity will be monitored based on county risk levels, the Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Department is issuing ticket purchases on a lottery basis. Interested attendees must register individually for each of the concerts they wish to attend. A drawing for the July concerts (held at Millennium Plaza Park) will be held June 15; July 13 for the August concerts (held at Westlake Park). If selected, participants may purchase up to six tickets (at $14 each which includes a meal) and then bring low sand chairs and/or blankets for their socially distanced assigned space the night of the concert. The show will go on, rain or shine. Check back for a complete lineup.

Lake Grove Swim Park. Tentative plans are to be open from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. beginning Friday, June 18 and closing the week of August 23. Most likely, attendance at the Lake Grove Swim Park will resemble last summer’s guidelines; however, depending on the risk level assessment, things could change. As always, entrance is limited to residents within the  boundaries of the former Lake Grove School District, who pay an additional property tax to support the swim park. Residents must have a park pass in order to use the swim park. Passes are issued at the swim park and require picture ID with proof of residency (i.e., drivers license). Resident addresses are verified via tax records to determine eligibility.

In addition, these restrictions most likely will apply:

•There will be a park capacity

•Masks will need to be worn within six feet of patrons who do not enter the park together

•A time limit will be enforced to ensure access for everyone

•Food will not be served

•No swim lessons

• Kiddie pool may not open

• There will be no equipment or games rentals; however, guests can bring their own

Lake Oswego Swim Park. This swim park, located at 250 Ridgeway Road, is operated by the Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Department and is open to all residents of Lake Oswego. In order to accommodate swimmers safely this summer, certain Covid-19 protocols will be followed including:

•Proof of LO residency with photo ID

•25-person maximum capacity

•2-hour maximum visit

•1 visit per day

•Face covering required for ages 5 and over (not in water)

•Children 11 and under must be accompanied by an individual 16 years or older

Petals & Punch. Millennium Plaza Park will be transformed into a flower-filled venue for a enchanted afternoon tea party on Sunday, June 27 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Enjoy savory bites and sweet pastries along with your tea and making magical memories with your child. Entertainment provided by Angel Ocasio Comedy and music by Mr. Hoo. Register online: Residents $30/pair; Non-Residents $45/pair.  

Festival of the Arts Art in the Park. This two-day event featuring visionary artists of the Pacific Northwest returns in a newly imagined way to follow Covid-19 safety guidelines. Artists will be spread out throughout the entirety of George Rogers Park to allow for social distancing. Come get your artistic fix and support these regional artists. Saturday and Sunday, June 26 through June 27. 611 S. State Street. Watch for more details.  

4th of July Pancake Breakfast. The pancake breakfast is going virtual again this year which you can access and donate to here. The Lions Club is hoping to host an event in August, possibly along the lines of a hamburger/hot dog feed. Stay tuned.

 4TH of July Fireworks on the Lake. This annual event is tentatively being planned; however, there were no details at posting time.

Masque Alfresco. Families can once again enjoy free outdoor theatre productions in George Rogers Park Memorial Garden (next to the Iron Foundry) Fridays through Sundays from July 23 through August 8 at 7:00 p.m. This year’s antics tell a version of Alice in Wonderland in the silly, slapstick way Masque Alfresco is known for.

Flicks at the Farm. Carpool cinemas are another example of the Covid-pivot. Go back in time and enjoy a popular flick under the stars with your family and/or friends. Reserve your spot (and be prepared to provide contact information for each person—up to 6—attending for contact tracing, if needed). Staggered load-in begins at 7:30 p.m. with spaces assigned on vehicle size. Movies begin around 8:45 p.m. Fee is per space: $39 Resident/$45 Non-Resident. The lineup includes Raya and the Last Dragon on Friday, July 30, and Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark on Saturday, July 31. Register online.  

Twilight on the Farm. This fundraiser to support numerous programs offered at Luscher Farm is set for August 14 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. featuring a farm style picnic dinner with wines and beers from local producers. Check online for details.

Movies in the Park. There’s more than one way to watch a movie. Fans can return to Millennium Plaza Park to watch Moana on Tuesday, August 10 or Westlake Park on Tuesday, August 17 for The Croods. Movies begin at dusk (approximately 8:45 p.m.). While the event is free, registration is required for contact tracing purposes.

Drive-In Concert. Enjoy some physically distanced fun at a double-header drive-in concert at Luscher Farm on Saturday, August 21. Opener is CJ Mickens followed by Hit Machine. Staggered load-in begins at 5:15 p.m. with spaces assigned on vehicle size. Concert runs from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Price is per parking space: $40 Resident/$49 Non-Resident with a maximum of six persons per car. Again, contact tracing protocol requires all attendees be listed with contact information.

Oswego Heritage Council Collector Car & Classic Boat Show. Organizers are deciding if, when and how to hold this annual event and hope to have a decision by the end of May so stay tuned.

Barnyard Bolt. Sign your family up for this 5K family fun run at Luscher Farm. Dash your way through sprinkler splashes, bubbles and other obstacles sure to leave you laughing (and slightly dirty and/or wet). Participants are encourage to dress up as their favorite barnyard animal. Open to ages 5+. Staggered start times enable capacity monitoring. Saturday, August 28 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. $15/person until July 31; $18/person August 1.

Barks in the Park. Who says humans get to have all the fun? Bring your furry friends to Hazelia Dog Park on Thursday, September 9 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. where you and they can have some dog-gone fun from maneuvering around obstacle courses, listening to music, checking out the pet-friendly vendors and snacks and entering the costume competition.

Stay tuned to this blog to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in Lake Oswego. Click the “Sign me up” button in the top right-hand column and receive weekly updates in your inbox.

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Advice for Buyers in the Lake Oswego Housing Market

What does an apple have to do with today’s housing market? Turns out it was the perfect stand-in for a parody on the supply and demand hysteria we see playing out among homebuyers when TikToker Shaun Johnson uploaded a video comparing an apple to a home for sale. Once the apple is put up for sale, bidders come chiming in, driving up the price from $5 to $120 within a matter of seconds, including one California buyer who at $100 said it was the “cheapest apple he’d ever seen.”

If you’re a mere observer to this “arms race” also known as the housing market dash, references like these are funny.

But if you’re actually in the race to buy a new home, it’s no laughing matter.

Here are some of the stories from the front lines:

• Desperate to find a competitive edge, buyers are waving inspections

• People started camping out two days in advance for a first-come first-served opportunity to buy a $1.2 million townhome in Santa Clara, California

• Higher lumber prices have added about $26,000 to the construction cost of a new home according to the National Association of Realtors

• Buyers are writing love letters to sellers even though they put themselves at higher risk of violating fair housing standards

• When looking for comparative sales to determine value, I’m now looking only two months back because values have escalated so quickly.

What’s a buyer to do?

Here are some suggestions:

1. Look for houses under your price limit to give yourself room to offer more than the list price.

2. Get loan approval subject to an appraisal. By going through the approval process, you come out with an unconditional commitment by the lender who has verified all your data to grant you the mortgage subject to the appraisal. This is better than being pre-qualified which merely gives you an idea of how big a loan you’ll likely qualify for and is solely based on consumer-submitted data. And it’s better than being pre-approved which is based on verified consumer data but still doesn’t have the guarantee of an underwriter to back it. Sellers will consider an offer from an approved buyer a much stronger one than from a pre-qualified or pre-approved buyer because it indicates the buyer’s financing is guaranteed, subject to the appraisal. It can also shorten the escrow process which many sellers also consider a plus. Finding a lender to go through this process with you can be challenging but is well worth it and is one of the services a Realtor like myself can help provide, having worked with reputable lenders who are willing to work on this basis.

3. Consider offering perks like: offering flexible occupancy dates if the seller needs extra time to find a place to move; offer to pay to remedy inspection problems up to a certain amount (I would never recommend waiving the inspection nor waiving all rights to remedy inspection problems. I recently was involved in a deal where the buyer offered to pay up to $2,500 to address inspection problems; however, when the inspection exposed a mold problem with a price tag of $20,000, the seller agreed to pick up the tab for the rest of the cost.)

4. Have a good understanding of your long-term plans. Chances are you may end up paying top dollar for a home in today’s market. If you plan are living there for several years, you give yourself enough time for natural appreciation rates to protect your investment. However, if this is a short-term plan, you might be better off waiting until things cool down.

5. Be willing to invest some sweat equity along with your finances. The house with all the bells and whistles is going to have the most suitors standing in line wanting to win the prize. Consider listings that may be a little outdated or need more TLC and you might have more of a fighting chance (but be sure to factor in the cost of the renovations in the price you end up offering).

6. Work with an experienced Realtor. In a market like today’s, you really need the advice of an experienced Realtor to navigate the playing field. I have counseled some clients to wait until things open up more. I’ve also cautioned clients from bidding more than I thought they could recoup when it comes time to sell. More than ever you need a Realtor who will be honest with you which means you may not always hear what you want to hear, at least not in the heat of the moment. But such advice is a good antidote to buyer’s remorse.

Let me help you buy or sell your next home. I’ve been a Realtor in Lake Oswego and the Portland metro area for over 30 years and I’d love to put my experience to work helping you navigate today’s real estate market. Give me a call at 503.939.9801, email me at costellok@hasson.com and/or check out my website.

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Spotlight on Lake Oswego’s Farmers’ Market

Of all the coming attractions of summer in Lake Oswego, the Lake Oswego Farmers’ Market is one of the most anticipated.

And with good reason. As you can read in some of my earlier blogs here and here, the Lake Oswego Farmers’ Market is more than just a place to shop. It has been a place for friends to gather, for kids to learn new things about the foods we eat, to enjoy music, good food and a spectacular view.

While some of those amenities are limited by Covid-19 restrictions, we can still find lots to enjoy at this year’s Lake Oswego Farmers’ Market. Hours are every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. from May 8 through October 2 at Millennium Plaza Park. Masks are required and social distancing is encouraged by controlling admission through one entrance and one exit and spacing the booths further apart.

For a complete list of this year’s vendors (not all of whom will be present every week) check online. But here are some shout-outs to a few to show the variety you’re likely to find on any given Saturday.

FARM PUNK SALADS. You gotta love a farmer whose mission is to “get you stoked about eating a salad.” Besides offering salad greens and herbs grown on a pesticide and spray free farm, they also tout their lineup of salad dressings designed to “give your salad an extra ‘oomph’ that will keep you satisfied.”  Flavors include Basil Balsamic, Paprika Cider, Coriander Ginger, Dill-icious, and Rosemary Sage.

STRAIGHTAWAY COCKTAILS. Your happy hours will get happier if you stop by Straightaway Cocktails. Leave the bartending to these cocktail enthusiasts who have done the mixing and fine-tuning for you. Perfectly blended cocktails are bottled in sizes from 50 ml for one drink to 750 for 12. My favorite when I stopped by their tasting room was the Lintik—Gin aged with lemon, house-made simple syrup and bitters, but there’s a Margarita, Negroni, Cosmos, Old-Fashioned and a couple others to try as well.

CRANBERRY KITCHEN. Oregon is one of the few states that grows this native fruit, and this cranberry farm located on the northern Oregon coast has been supplying cranberry lovers for over 50 years. Their booth features whole dried cranberries as well as crannie mixes with supporting players like dried blueberries, dried cherries, premium nuts and granola.

aMYLK. This plant-based mylk is as beautiful as it is delicious. Bottled in old-fashioned glass bottles that reveal natural colors to fill a pastel palette, you’re bound to feel good as well as look good drinking one of their many flavors including vanilla hazelnut, cashew creamer, matcha almond and café au lait.

QUICHE ME IF YOU CAN. Anyone who can come up with that clever a name for her business also has to be pretty creative in the kitchen. Quiche flavors include mushroom, leek and goat cheese; roasted butternut squash, caramelized onions and goat cheese; roasted mushrooms, onions, red bell peppers and smoked gouda. They keep for seven days in the refrigerator making meal planning easy!

TWISTED WINGS HEADBANDS. One thing I’ve learned from the women in my life is that while they like the look of headbands they can be uncomfortable. These reversible fabric headbands seem to solve that problem that just require a twist and you’re ready to head out! The owner’s Instagram page even shows matching masks if you’re going for the coordinated look.

THE GRATE PLATE. This handmade ceramic grating plate is the next answer to grating garlic, ginger, nutmeg, hard cheese and more. It also comes with a silicone garlic peeler (easy peasy!) and a wooden handle gathering brush. I am the proud owner of one of these nifty kitchen gadgets and I can attest to the fact that they work!  

I sell more than homes in Lake Oswego. I sell a quality of life that I try to reflect in this blog each and every week. Be sure to subscribe by clicking the “Sign me up” button in the top right-hand column. And if you are in the market to buy or sell your home in Lake Oswego, please give me a call at 503.939.9801, email me at costellok@hasson.com, or check out my website. I’ve been a Realtor in Lake Oswego for over 30 years and would love to put my experience to work for you!

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7 Things We Are Loving About Lake Oswego in May

What a difference a year makes! While we aren’t out of the COVID woods yet, this May is looking very different from last. Instead of listing events that have been cancelled in this blog, I’m happy to report that some of our favorite events are returning, albeit in Covid-friendly versions.

Here are some things to look forward to in Lake Oswego in May.

Summer Camp Registration. Parents, set your alarms. Lake Oswego resident registration for Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Summer Camps opens up at 9:00 a.m. on May 3. There is an extensive lineup this year including 17 preschool camps, 6 art, 10 dance, 5 music, 3 mad science, 6 science and stem, 5 Lego, 10 technology, 7 Lego, 8 Teen Service Corp, 12 outdoor, 10 sports and fitness and golf and tennis. Camper groups are limited to 20 participants and social distancing is encouraged while masks are required. Your best strategy is to visit the brochure ahead of time and if you see something good, add it to your wishlist to save until registration day. Then once the clock strikes 9, add it to your cart! Luckily, you’ve probably been training for this already if you’ve had to strategize how and where to get your vaccine. Good luck!

Walk4Water. WaterAfrica is hosting this year’s annual event once again in support of its partner, World Vision’s goal to “Finish the Job in Zambia” which means providing clean water everywhere the organization works in Zambia within the next five years. That translates to reaching one million people who now find themselves walking an average of 3+ miles a day just to get dirty water, that often carries water-borne disease.

Here’s how to participate in the 14th annual event:

Register online. Once you’ve registered, you’ll receive an automated email with a link to a page to sign up for a timeslot for the Foothill Parks walk. There are only 120 spots available spread out across three time slots: 8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. If no time slots are still available, registrants can participate through their own chosen walk and are encouraged to share their experience and the WaterAfrica mission to Finish the Job in Zambia with friends and family through social media. Registration fees are $25/child; $50/adult; $300/family.

LAKE RUN. This annual event (which had to be cancelled last year due to COVID-19), typically draws in 1,000 participants and raises $100,000 for charity. Since 2018, the event has been organized by and benefitted Northwest Housing Alternatives which builds new homes and opportunities for seniors, families, veterans and people with special needs across Oregon as well as providing homeless intervention programs for families in Clackamas County.

This year’s event will be virtual, May 1 and 2, enabling participants to run any course they wish (which for those of us who dread that McVey climb could be a good thing!) Simply register online and then on race weekend, run a 5K or 10K course of your own choosing, and upload your time to compare your results with other Lake Run participants.  Entry fee is $35.

FARMERS’ MARKET. This summer favorite returns in a hybrid version between pre and post Covid. Covid-19 safety guidelines from the Oregon Health Authority are still being followed meaning face coverings are required, there will be reduced booth space to provide more room for attendees to maintain social distancing, and entering and exiting will be limited to one location each. We will see the return of some attractions like artisan/nonprofit/community booths, Farm Fresh Kids and live music featuring soloists or duos. Watch for a more detailed blog in May for information about vendors included in this summer’s lineup. Market hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every Saturday From May 8 through October 2.

SAMURAI IN THE OREGON SKY WITH ILANA SOL. For all you history buffs out there, this one is a must-see. In 1942, Japanese pilot Nobuo Fujita catapulted his seaplane off of a submarine, flew over the Oregon coast, and became the only pilot to bomb the U.S. mainland during WWII.  He never dreamed he would one day be invited back to the region, where he would begin a lifelong friendship with the people of a small Oregon town.  SAMURAI IN THE OREGON SKY chronicles how Mr. Fujita came to refer to his former target as his “second home.” Filmmaker Ilana Sol joins for a post-viewing virtual discussion with LOPL librarian Todd Feinman, Pat Ginn from Respond to Racism and Greg Oberst who is in the film. Friday, May 7 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Register online.

VILLAGE FLOWER BASKETS. This community-funded program sponsored by the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce will splash our streets with color once again starting in May. The Garden Corner of Tualatin has been hard at work for months planting the baskets so they are ready to burst into color for the summer months. Donations pay not only for the baskets but also for their maintenance all summer long so please contribute by calling 503.636.3634, sending a check to the LO Chamber Foundation, PO Box 368, Lake Oswego Oregon 97034 or donating online.

COMMUNITY AWARDS CELEBRATION. It takes a village, they say, and the Chamber of Commerce sponsors this annual event to acknowledge some of those villagers who help keep Lake Oswego thriving. I’m proud to find myself included in the impressive lineup of past recipients of their Community Leader of the Year award. Other distinction is paid to the Business of Year, Headlee Beautification Award, Exemplar of Education and more. This year’s event is set for May 22 and will be both live and virtual. Check the website for details.

Stay up-to-date on what’s happening in Lake Oswego by clicking on the “Sign me up” button in the top right-hand column and receive weekly updates in your inbox. If you are considering moving to Lake Oswego, give me a call at 503.939.9801, email me at costellok@hasson.com and/or check out my website. I’ve been a top-performing Lake Oswego Realtor for over 30 years and I’d love to share my enthusiasm for and knowledge of Lake Oswego with you to help you make your next move your best one!

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Celebrate Arbor Month in Lake Oswego With These Activities

In case you hadn’t noticed, trees are a very big deal in Lake Oswego.

We plant them, protect them, line our streets with them, honor them and this month we celebrate them as part of the city’s first-ever Lake Oswego Arbor Month. Such fanfare seems appropriate for a city that is in its 32nd year qualifying as a Tree City USA from the National Arbor Day Foundation.

Here are some ways you can share in the tree-love this month.

TREE PRUNING WORKSHOP. Learn the best pruning practices to develop healthy, strong, and attractive trees and shrubs from ISA Board Certified Master Arborist Damon Schrosk of Treecology, Inc. Pre-registration is required and capacity is limited to 20 Lake Oswego residents due to social distancing measures. Free registration by calling 503.635.0290 or email planning@lakeoswego.city. Saturday, April 24, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Foothills Park Pavilion, 199 Foothills Road.

HUNT FOR THE GNOMES IN NATURE. Lake Oswego’s stewardship gnomes, Blossom, Greenie and Oak, will be hiding out in three different natural area parks from April to October. Visit lo-stewardship.org for monthly park locations and gnome clues. Post pictures of you with a gnome on social media using the hashtag #LOparksgnomes for a chance to win your very own gnome in October. Here’s where they’ll be hanging out in April:

Foothills Park, 199 Foothills Road

River Run Park, 19698 River Run Drive

Stevens Meadows, 18600 Shirley Drive

HERITAGE TREE TOUR. Download a copy of Lake Oswego’s Heritage Tree map and set out to explore our city’s tree heritage. To qualify for the designation, trees must be healthy and have historical, cultural, environmental, or physical qualities that set them apart. You’ll find a wide assortment including douglas-fir, American elm, ponderosa pine, giant sequoias, madrone, sycamore and gingko. You should find a plaque next to each designated tree.

BECOME AN LO TREE HERO. While ivy may look pretty climbing up a tree, the climbing vine poses a danger to the tree’s health. How? That ivy is competing for the same nutrients the tree needs, weighing down its branches making them vulnerable to wind, and eventually weakening the tree making it a target for pests. Learn how to safely remove ivy from trees with this tutorial on the Oswego Lake Watershed Council. Then, armed with the right information and tools, head out with your new superpowers. Be sure to only remove ivy on property that you own, or if you have explicit permission to remove ivy there! Take before and after photos, and share your progress on social media. Include the hashtag #LOTreeHero so others can see your work. 

BE A TREE DETECTIVE. The City of Lake Oswego is relying on community volunteers to help them gather data on the health and diversity of our urban forest. This information will hep arborists, scientists, and city planners better understand the economic and ecological benefits of our urban forest. The Oswego Lake Watershed Council is hosting an online training session:

•Wednesday, April 14, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

To register, visit the Oswego Lake Watershed Council website.

GET DIRTY. Find out the role healthy soil plays in creating a healthy forest by attending an Earth Day workshop on the microscopic organisms that break down organic material for food, returning vital nutrients back into the ecosystem. Then follow that up by participating in an experiment to see just what those organisms manage to do to a brand-new pair of 100% cotton underwear you bury under 6-inches of soil. Here are the details:

            •Get to Know Your Dirt (Virtual Zoom) Workshop on April 22, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

            •Soil Your Undies Kickoff with free cotton underwear giveaways on April 24 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Luscher Farm or Lake Oswego or Lakeridge High Schools.

To register, visit the watershed’s website.

Stay up-to-date on what’s happening in Lake Oswego by subscribing to my blog. Click the “Sign me up” button in the top right-hand column. And if you are considering moving to, away from or within Lake Oswego, give me a call at 503.939.9801, email me at costellok@hasson.com and/or check out my website. I’ve been a Lake Oswego Realtor for over 30 years and I’d love to put my experience to work making your next move your best one!  

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Celebrate Money Smart Week With This Lake Oswego Homebuying Quiz

The week of April 10-17 has been designated as Money Smart Week, a public awareness campaign created by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 2002 to help consumers better manage their personal finances.

You can register for free virtual webinars to increase your Money IQ on topics ranging from Managing Money Ups and Downs to Understanding the Basics of Federal Student Loans.

Investing in real estate, especially here in Lake Oswego, can be a money smart decision, but as with every decision, it’s best to gather information beforehand. I try to do that every week in this blog, and this week I’ve put together a quiz about some homebuying basics that everyone should know.

From mortgage points to property tax calculations, there are lots of factors that play into just how much a house really costs. This quiz will clue you in on a few.

And if you have any questions or want to explore how much house you can really afford, please give me a call at 503.939.9801, email me at costellok@hasson.com, and/or check out my website. I’d love to help in any way I can to make sure your next move is your best move.

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Nurseries In and Around Lake Oswego to Help You Turn April Showers into May Flowers

Warning: Visiting Al’s Garden Center may result in a purchase as it did for my wife last spring who couldn’t resist these beautiful bellflowers.

If April showers bring May flowers, then now is the time to start planning the flowers you’ll be planting in your yard.

Notice I said “planning.” While you may be able to plant perennials this month and cold tolerant annuals like pansies, you’ll want to hold off on frost-tender crops like basil and flowers like impatiens.

But if you’re like my wife, planning is half the fun. Just walking into a well-stocked nursery can inspire and infuse you with the urge to spread color wherever you go. Take advantage of the slower time to pick the brains of master gardeners on hand at these local nurseries to get some ideas for how to plan your summer display.

DENNIS’ 7 DEES LAKE OSWEGO GARDEN CENTER. When I first moved to Lake Oswego we were home to three nurseries, Lake Grove Garden Center on Boones Ferry Road, Kasch’s on A Avenue, and Dennis 7 Dee’s on McVey. While the first two have since closed, Dennis’ 7 Dees is still open offering year-round service and selection including landscape design and maintenance as well as seminars ranging from Repotting Indoor Plants to Creating Holiday Centerpieces. You’ll want to allow time to browse through their unique gift items including local jams, fragrant candles, and handmade terrariums as well as check out their supply of pots and home décor. And their website is filled with useful information for the ambitious gardener including tips on container gardening as well as how to pick the right hydrangea for your yard. Hours: 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, 1090 McVey Avenue, 503.636.4660.

DENNIS’ 7 DEES BRIDGEPORT VILLAGE. Looking to nurture your green thumb on a wet spring day? Head over to Dennis’ 7 Dees urban plant space in Bridgeport Village and check out the indoor plants, decorative containers, and garden-related gifts. Workshops are held here too so go online to check their schedule. Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. 7325 SW Bridgeport Road in Tigard, 503.992.6575.

STAFFORD RIDGE NURSERY (FORMERLY KORDELL’S GARDEN CENTER). New owners, Clinton and Nicole Marsh are thrilled to be operating this locally owned garden center at the corner of Rosemont Road and Stafford. They specialize in locally grown plants including annuals, perennials, herbs, veggie starts, shrubs, native fruit trees and ornamental trees all served up with free advice. Weekly deliveries promise fresh product. Located right across from Luscher Farms at the roundabout, it’s a convenient go-to stop for Lake Oswego gardeners. Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. 10 Rosemont Road, 503.638.1014.

BOSKY DELL NATIVES. This West Linn spot has been called a “one-of-a-kind gardening experience.” With over 300 species of native plants for sale, you’ll find items here you may not find anywhere else. Plants are categorized by their purpose: hummingbird gardens, gardening for birds, butterfly gardens, erosion control and they come with a lot of advice from the very knowledgeable and passionate owner. Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.  23320 SW Bosky Dell Lane, West Linn, 503.638.5945.

HUGHES WATER GARDENS. Take advantage of the thirty plus years’ experience these folks have in building water features and visit their site if you’re looking to build and/or stock a water garden of your own. They have all the supplies you need from pond liners, to pumps and filters as well as plants such as water lilies, fairy moss and grasses. Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Closed Sunday. 25289 SW Stafford Road, Tualatin, 503. 638.1709.

AL’S GARDEN AND HOME. Not one of the four locations of this third-generation family-owned business is located in Lake Oswego but they are worth a trip if for nothing else to lift your spirits and be inspired. Their 10.5-acre flagship garden center in Sherwood is my wife’s go-to spot starting early in the spring. She watches for sales on 4” annuals like petunias and bacopa for container gardening as well as for sales on their flats. And sometimes she just goes for an infusion of color when she needs it. Take time to wander through their gift shop, indoor plants, pots, outdoor furniture, and bring your burning gardening questions in and head straight to the information booth where an expert can diagnose your issue and offer a suggestion. Hours: Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Saturday from 9:00 a.m. go 6:00 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 16920 SW Roy Rogers Road, 503.726.1162. Check online for sales and other store locations.

THE GARDEN CORNER. If hanging baskets are your thing, this is your place. Need a recommendation? Just check out the baskets lining the streets of Lake Oswego, Tualatin, the Pearl District, Beaverton, Gresham, Oregon City, Summer Lake, Roseburg and more. You can let them do all the work and pre-order one for sun, shade, indoor or holiday or gather the supplies to make one yourself. The nursery itself is a beautiful spot to wander and fans attest to the fact that the plants you buy here are well-loved. Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. 21550 SW 108th, Tualatin, 971.512.2688.

LOEN NURSERY. This well stocked garden center has been around for a long time. Its website is like searching through an old Sears catalog, stocked with all kinds of information on plants, trees, shrubs and flowers to help you with your planning. You can also check availability. The retail center has been closed since mid December but the public is invited to the wholesale location on Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. where they can also enjoy wholesale pricing. 19205 SW Cipole Road, Sherwood, 503.625.5454. The retail address when it reopens is 18710 SW Pacific Drive, Sherwood, 503.625.2222.

PORTLAND NURSERY. Think everything garden and you get the idea what you’ll find at this gardener’s mecca: trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, grasses, herbs, houseplants, tools, garden art, amendments, furniture and pottery. And you’ll also find some things you didn’t expect like ideas for fall and winter containers with their “monthly container” feature on their website. You can keep your green thumb green all year long! Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at both locations: 5050 SE Stark, 503.231.5050 and 9000 SE Division, 503.788.9000.

BIG BOX STORES. Don’t forget to check out nearby Fred Meyer, Home Depot, Lowe’s and now Wilco. Keep an eye out for Fred Meyer’s Fuschia Saturday usually held in early April where they provide the manpower and dirt; you buy the plants and containers (or bring your own)and/or fill out the contact form below.

Looking for the perfect yard in Lake Oswego to nurture your love of gardening? Give me a call at 503.939,9801, check out my website, and/or complete the form below. I’d love to help you find the right home in Lake Oswego and promise to put my 30 plus years as a Realtor to work doing just that!

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Dirty Underwear Is One of the Five Things We Are Loving About Lake Oswego in April

April is a very special month in Lake Oswego and here are five reasons why:

  1. Soil Your Undies Campaign. In conjunction with Earth Day and Arbor Month, the Lake Oswego Watershed Council is inviting Lake Oswegans to participate in the 2021 Soil Your Undies Campaign. Why you ask? By burying a pair of cotton undies at least six inches underground and then digging them back up in 60 days, you can see just how busy the microscopic organisms are in your soil. The more broken down your underwear is, the more active soil microbes you have in your yard. You can pick up a free pair of 100% cotton tighty-whities at either Lakeridge or Lake Oswego High Schools on April 24 between 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Pre-registration required). The rest is up to you!
  2. The days are getting longer. On April 1, sunrise will be at 6:50 a.m. followed by a 7:39 p.m. sunset, giving us 12 hours, 49 minutes and 2 seconds of daylight. By the end of the month, we’ll gain another 1 hour and 28 minutes of (hopefully) sunshine which puts us well on our way to June 21 when sunrise will be at 5:22 a.m. and sunset at 9:02 p.m., for a grand total of 15 hours and 40 minutes of glorious summer daylight!
  3. Trilliums. These heralds of spring can be spotted in natural areas in and around Lake Oswego, especially along the trails in Tryon Creek State Natural Area. Their sheer beauty and abundance has caused many an Oregonian to mistaken them for the state flower (that title belongs to the Oregon grape) but they still deserve our respect—no picking allowed as they may not recover or could take years to recover.
  4. Dennis’ 7 Dees Gardening Classes. We are all itching to get our hands dirty in the yard and these classes will help. All you need to do is RSVP online and then mark your calendar for these Livestream classes: Spring Container Makeover on April 1, Indoor Plants for Low Light on April 8, and Growing Edibles and Herbs in Containers on April 15. All classes begin at 10:00 a.m.
  5. Virtual Drink and Draw. Felt artist Le Brie Rich will lead crafters in an easy-for-beginners needle felting project on April 22 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Participants will end up with a felt bird in a nest at the end of the class. The $40 fee includes the instruction as well as the materials which can be picked up at 41 B Avenue the week before the class.

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5 Lessons Being a Homeowner Has Taught Me

In her book, House Lessons: Renovating a Life, author Erica Bauermeister writes, “A house is a quiet partner; you have to listen carefully.”

Her insights have given my wife and me cause to look back at the lessons our homes have taught us. While I agree with Bauermeister that sometimes our home speaks softly to us, I ‘ve found that in other cases, it yells.

Here are a few things we have learned from being homeowners.

  1. Love isn’t just between two people. Bauermeister draws from her own experience as a Realtor in recalling clients who said they were looking for one thing but couldn’t help themselves from falling in love with another. That may explain how my wife and I put a down payment on our first house against my father’s advice and in spite of the fact that it was being offered “as is” with a shaky foundation and a hole in the bathroom floor. But it had a clawfoot tub! (we were into antiques at the time) And it had a big yard! (albeit you couldn’t see it from the street because of overgrown vegetation). And it had a front porch! (okay, so it slanted a little). And it was in our price range (as long as my mother-in-law could loan us the money for the down payment). Our decision wasn’t so much driven by logic as it was by feeling. As Bauermeister explains, when we’re in the housing market, we’re not necessarily looking for a house, we’re looking for a home that “fits our soul.”
  2. Sometimes you have to work together to get the job done. As you’ve probably guessed by now, our first home was a fixer-upper. And while we did everything from lay floor tiles to install a brick patio, the most challenging job we faced was hanging wallpaper. To add to what is often a grueling task, the paper we chose was very attractive but on the thin side, and when hanging in 10-foot sheets, had a tendency to rip. Let’s just say there was so much cursing and yelling going on that we had to close the windows. But once we got the right timing down for the teamwork needed, we managed to get the job done with fewer casualties (and a lot less swearing).
  3. Think of all the possibilities. My wife and I have never owned a brand-new home. Instead we’ve bought houses with potential. With our first house, we both saw it, or I should say, we both felt it. With our second home, here in Lake Oswego, it was my wife who steered us in the right direction. “If we ever want to live on this lake,” she explained, “this home is our entry ticket.” That was back in 1986, and she was right. The price of entry was low enough that we were able to buy a cottage on one of the canals that once again, needed work. After living there for six years, our next-door neighbor was planning a move and asked if we were interested in buying. It was a dark, neglected daylight ranch, with none of the charm that our cottage had. But this time I saw the potential. I poured my wife a glass of wine, had her stand on the back deck and imagine all the possibilities the large, flat backyard offered to our growing family. She conceded and 18 years later we have accrued a lifetime of memories raising our kids here.
  4. Compromise. Sometimes our visions aren’t always in sync. Two summers ago, I wanted to extend the lawn in our backyard which required eliminating this one natural area populated by a bamboo-like plant that my wife loved. She remembered our kids playing in it when they were little and she also just liked the variety they brought to our yard. Today those plants are still in our yard but in a different location so I got my added lawn square footage and she can still watch those stalks sprout up every summer. I see my clients negotiating the artful compromise among themselves often when they are looking to buy a home. They are not always on the same page, but find ways to agree on a house that comes closest to what they are both looking for.
  5. Breaking up is hard to do. The problem with falling in love with your house is the fact that when it comes time to sell, breaking up is hard to do. We rented our first house out for two years before selling it to make sure we had no intention of moving back to California. Just like with any breakup, once we were into our “new relationship” with our cottage in Lake Oswego, it was much easier to let go. A few years back during the housing crisis, we thought we might need to sell our Lake Oswego home. It was a gut-wrencher for all of us, and we had our kids write down memories to put in a box that we planned to bury in the yard. Fortunately, the market turned around and 12 years later we’re still here. But we know that time will eventually come. Judging by what worked before to ease the heartbreak, we hope to have a good sense of where we are going next so that we’re looking forward to our next move with excitement and not back with regret.  

I’ve learned a lot about homes not just as a homeowner but also as a Realtor in Lake Oswego and the Portland metro area for over 30 years. Let me put that experience to work for you! Give me a call at 503.939.9801, and or check out my website. I look forward to hearing from you!

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