Category: blog

Montavilla

Montavilla is a Portland neighborhood that I’ve been hearing about quite a bit lately! Just on the East side of Mt. Tabor, it is still more affordable than inner Portland.

Fun fact: historically, the name, “Montavilla,” came about in the late 1800s from condensing “Mt. Tabor Villa.”

There are quite a number of restaurants and cafes in Montavilla, including Bui Natural Tofu, Bipartisan Cafe, Tanuki, The Observatory, Hungry Heart Bakery, Monti‚Äôs cafe, Wong’s King Chinese Restaurant, The Country Cat, Stark Street Pizza, Macau Chinese Seafood, Karma Cafe, Mojo Crepes, My Brother’s Crawfish, and Fillmore. Watch for posts that go into more depth about some of these!

Parks include Harrison Park, Berrydale Park, Montavilla City Park, and Rosemont Bluff Natural Area. Plus, it’s right next to Mt. Tabor, which is one of the best parks in Portland.

Here are some links if you’d like to learn more.

Berrydale Community Garden

Montavilla Community Center

Montavilla Farmer’s Market

Montavilla Neighborhood Association I recommend reading the history tab.

Montavilla Jazz Festival Look for this to happen in August.

Montavilla demographics provided by the City of Portland.

Koz Development

This month at the Buckman Neighborhood Association meeting there was a presentation by Koz Development. They will be building a new apartment building with 87 micro units near the Imago Dei Community Church at SE 14th and Ash. According to their website, they have a number of additional projects in the works within Portland and beyond.

Their model is to offer apartments that fill a largely untapped niche. Since the units are small, they rent for about 30% less than an average-sized market rate studio in the same area. Utilities and wi-fi are included in the rent. They also come fully furnished with a Murphy bed, two burner stove, and even pots and pans. One of the architects mentioned it was very similar to living in an RV.

So, how small you might wonder? They will be 250 and 350 square feet, expected to rent for $900 – $1500. Some even have 8 square feet of balcony.

This building will not provide any parking for residents, the representatives emphasized that their marketing encourages minimalist, car-less people to move in. They want their tenants to be happy.

Koz Development will provide some percentage of affordable housing units, which people will qualify for through a government program. These will run around $700.

What do you think? Here’s their site to learn more.

 

 

Private room at SE Portland Urban Farm

We went through the City of Portland permitting process and set up our house for Airbnb! Our guests will have a private room and can share the rest of the house and garden with us.

We are looking forward to sharing our space with visitors. If you have friends or family coming to Portland, please give them the link!

Things that make our space special: eclectic design, conservatory, gourmet kitchen, clawfoot tub, chickens, beehives, and sauna. See our listing for more photos!

If you would like help setting up your own space for Airbnb, I’d love to work with you! I can offer consulting on the process, photography, writing, and I will even set up the listing for you. Contact me for more info at: larenleland (at) gmail (dot) com.

Paw Protector!

It’s been snowing (and sticking!) in Portland for days now. It isn’t great for our pups, they want to go on walks but they hate the snow sticking to their paws. Our little one has fur between her toes and it is especially bad for her. Usually after about 5 minutes outside she wants to be picked up. I did some research on the best ways to help our little friends and discovered I could whip up a protection salve!

The recipe is simple. Equal parts beeswax, coconut oil, and avocado oil. I used three tablespoons of each. Then, add a few drops of vitamin E oil.

Add all ingredients to a small pot. (I have a pot that is dedicated to this sort of thing.) And heat on low.

It won’t take too long before it all melts together.Pour into a container. I had these deodorant containers available, which push up from the bottom and I thought worked well enough. You might want to try something low and flat instead if you are just doing paws. I put a bit on her legs too, so this shape was perfect to direct it where I wanted it.

Give them a bit of time and they will solidify. Then, you’re ready to go. When you apply them to your furry friend, have a bit of patience. The body heat in your dog’s paws will heat the salve enough to apply it. If you have a super jumpy pup, try building some up in your own palm and then transferring. Upon first application Honey Bee was a bit unsure about the process. But it worked!

Here she is after our long walk in the snow, with nothing clinging to her paws! (She still got some in her beard!)

Stella Taco

I just tried a new (to me) taco spot on Division. I enjoyed it, so thought I should spread the word!

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I don’t eat most kinds of meat, so I love that they had three vegetarian options: mushroom mole, fried avocado(!) and black bean. YUM. All three for a total of $8. (They did have lots of meat options too!)

Cute tags, also. (Not scrawled on with sharpy as an afterthought like so many restaurants.) I’d strongly advise picking up some of their salsa, I was happy to have it as an accompaniment.

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energy efficiency

We all want an efficient home so that our bills will be lower, our homes more valuable, while also doing something good for the planet! But how to do it?

Here are some steps you can take to make your house more energy efficient!

  1. Get an energy audit from a local, professional company. They will do an inspection of your home and give you a game plan for how to up your efficiency. Here are some local companies to try: Green Savers PDX, Revival Energy Group, and Bull Mountain Heating.
  2. Fix leaks! This is a pretty low-cost way to make a big impact. Lots of doors and windows have spaces around them that let cold air in. Also, take extra care when checking out your basement and attic. More air than you think exchanges between these spaces and your main living areas.
  3. Insulate! Do you know what is in your walls? Sheetrock didn’t come into use until the 1950’s, so if your home is older than that you probably have lath and plaster. (This isn’t all bad, it lessens noise and helps suppress the spread of fire.) However, traditionally lath and plaster doesn’t involve insulation, but you can hire a professional to inject insulation into the walls. With drywall, just cut holes, fill up the spaces, and replace and seal.
  4. Upgrade your windows. Many old homes have single pane glass. These are somewhat like holes in your walls! High efficiency windows make a huge difference. If you can afford it, try wood frames instead of the old aluminum. If you can’t afford all new windows, try for storm windows in the winter.
  5. Upgrade doors. Especially if you have an hollow doors, replace them with new energy efficient ones.
  6. Upgrade appliances. Most appliances today come in models that take energy efficiency into account. Tankless waterheaters heat water only when it is requested, saving energy and giving you an endless supply or warm water.
  7. Solar! There are even companies who will lease your panels to you. This is a low cost way to harvest energy directly from the sun.

If you get through this whole list, your house will be very efficient! Let me know how it goes.

Bee Sanctuary Garden Guest House

Now you can stay at Blossomwood Farmstead! Our guest house is up on Airbnb. It sleeps two, so it’s the perfect get-a-way.

Here is inside the guest house.

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Your view from the porch.

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The river!

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Official description:

This is a small guest house on a 42 acre farm property on Yachats River Rd. We are seven miles from the beach and town of Yachats. Our farm is called Blossomwood Farmstead. It is truly a retreat.

The guest house has one bedroom, one bathroom, and living room space with kitchenette. Enjoy relaxing on the front porch!

This farm is a bee sanctuary, which means that we use organic methods when possible and do not use pesticides. We will be continuously adding forage to support pollinators.

Click here to see the listing on Airbnb!

National Conference for Women in Sustainable Agriculture

I was fortunate to attend this conference over the past few days. It was incredibly heartening to meet so many women who are committed to sustainability in farming. As a very beginner farmer myself, I felt inspired by those that have been working in agriculture for decades. I came away with some great information and wanted so share some highlights!

Nostrana – I was already familiar with this delicious restaurant as a customer, but it was delightful to hear Chef Cathy Whims speak at the capstone lunch about her history with the Farm to Table movement.

Leaping Lamb Farms – Seems like a great farm stay in Alsea, Or. The owner Scottie Jones is also the founder of Farm Stays US, which is an incredible resource. She also mentioned a great reservation platform for websites, called ResNexus.

North Fork – Another farm stay, this one is directed by a woman named Ginger Edwards in Nahalem, Or.

Pacific Women’s Herbal Conference – A gathering of women in the Cascadia foothills to learn about plants and medicine. Lead by Eversong Evans, a gardener and herbalist in Monroe, Washington.

Emerge – Leadership training for women who would like to hold office.

Fox and Bear – Woman owned Portland Farm.

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition – Our voice in Washington D.C. for the sustainable food movement. Made up of over a hundred member organizations.

Out Here – Documentary about Queer Farmers.

Zia Queen Bees – New Mexico apiary that focuses on the rearing of queens with natural longevity. Business is co-owned by Melanie Kirby.

Recommended books: Soil Sisters, The Color of Food, Broad Influence, and Sowing Seeds of Victory.

East Portland Community Center Indoor Pool

If you are looking for a way to cool off this weekend, try out the East Portland Community Pool. I went last night with my partner and kids — it was such a good time! I had imagined just a regular pool when we headed over, but it is so much more.

There is a silly shark slide that the kids love, plus a giant red slide for bigger kids and adults. (Way faster than I expected.) The little ones can go down on your lap, but make sure to hold them up at the end!

My favorite part was a section with giant jets that created a current and a whirlpool.

We did the two hour Open Play Swim and it was just $18 for all of us.

We loved the non-gender-specific family changing rooms.

Highly recommended!

(Photos are from the official web site.)

Residential Infill Project

Today is the last day to let the Residential Infill Project in Portland know what you think about their proposed changes to zoning laws. Their online “open house” will educate you about the proposed changes. Please note, there will be more opportunities to offer feedback in the future if you cannot get to it today.

Basically, this project aims to identify changes to zoning definitions to allow for more infill of inner parts of SE Portland. The changes proposed will only effect neighborhoods that are within a quarter mile of major traffic thoroughfares. (You won’t be seeing more infill in Westmoreland or on Alameda Ridge, which received criticism by concerned citizens at the meeting I attended.)

Changes would include a wide variety of things. For example, the proposed code would allow more units within the same building near Centers and Cooridors. This would include two ADUs per house (one internal and one external,) and duplexes on all lots, triplexes on all corner lots. It would also allow “cottage clusters” on lots larger than 10,000 square feet.

The size of houses would also be reduced. Houses would have new square foot limits as proportional to lot size. House rooflines would be lowered and setbacks from the street would need to match existing houses.

There are many more changes. Please click here to check out a summary.

At my neighborhood meeting there was a great discussion about these proposed changed. A spokesperson from United Neighborhoods for Reform was present. She detailed what aspects of the proposed changes her group supports and has issues with. They like the idea of houses being limited to 2,500 square feet on 5,000 square foot lots. They take issue with most of the rest of the plan, stating that it would lead to even more deconstruction and rebuilding than is already happening.

What do you think?

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