Portland’s New Home Energy Scores

New Portland Energy Score Policy 

This won’t take effect for a year and it will probably be a good thing in the long run. It affects sellers and buyers. A seller will need to pay for a report about the
home’s “energy score”  before putting their home on the market. The report will allow buyers to get an objective look at how efficient a home is before they even go look at it.

It may be a little bumpy in the beginning like any new policy but it will be interesting to see how it all turns out! In the long run it will probably encourage sellers to do more energy retrofitting before they list their home. 


A Smarter Home

Technological advances in the last 15 years or so has brought us smart phones, smart cars, and now, smart homes. The smart home industry has seen a recent uptick in interest, and while they may not all be necessary upgrades for your home, a few of these gadgets could be fun additions to your daily routine. Here’s a snapshot of what products are out there right now. 

Amazon Echo

Amazon released the first iteration of the Echo in 2014, and since then, it has made strides in connecting folks to their homes. A voice-activated device, the Echo is a fantastic control center for the other smart devices in your home. When you enter a room, ask Alexa to turn on your smart lights, and the room will be illuminated within seconds. If you have a smart garage door, you can ask Alexa to close it for you from the kitchen. With built-in speakers, you can easily play music through the various music streaming services available during a dinner party. 

Nest Learning Thermostat

The humble thermostat has finally been updated with the Nest Learning Thermostat. With the ability to learn your ideal temperature and know when nobody is home, the Nest can set up the perfect schedule for your air conditioning needs with very little work on your end. This will help make your home more comfortable while also helping you save money.

Lutron Serena Remote Controlled Shades

Gone are days of fiddling with strings to lower or raise your blinds with the Lutron Serena. With a push of a button, you can control the motorized shades from across the room, and let in a much or as little light as you want. 

Power outlet with integrated USB Ports

Perhaps the simplest and cheapest smart home upgrade you can do is change out your old power outlets with ones that have several built-in USB Ports. Easily charge your smart phones, tablets, and other USB enabled devices without having to deal with a power brick. 

Let me know if I missed one of your favorite smart home devices! If you have any real estate related questions, please give me a call.

Chill Out!

Keeping cool in the summer can be a costly endeavor. Here are a some tips to save money while staying cool at home. Give me a call if you have any other home maintenance questions. I can get you in touch with the right people!

  • Open your windows at night to let cool air in and use fans to help aid in the process. Don’t forget to close the windows during the day to trap the cool air in!


  • Invest in some blinds or darkening curtains to help insulate and regulate the air inside while you’re away.


  • Big machines like your washer and dryer tend to give off a lot of heat, so do your laundry at night for maximum efficiency. With that in mind, get out and use your grill instead of your oven and stove when cooking.


  • If you have central air running through your home, you can maximize your AC usage while saving money by scheduling when it runs. Energy.gov suggests 78 +/- 1-2 when you’re at home, and bumping it up to 80 when you’re away. This of course can be adjusted to your comfort levels, but it’s a fantastic starting point. Don’t forget to change out your filters frequently during the summer.


  • The best thing you could do is to invest in exterior shades, like an awning or outdoor shutters. Awnings are an extremely effective way to reduce cooling costs.


These are just a few tips and tricks to chill out in your home while saving a bit of money. Stay cool!


Branch Out: Discover Portland’s Trees

Our city’s reputation once lay in its prolific population of stumps– now, as summertime comes to Portland again 165 years after the city’s incorporation, the trees that make Portland beautiful release their leaves and open their blossoms once again. Take this opportunity to visit and appreciate Portland’s historical, wonderful, and fruitful arbors. As always, if you have questions about the real estate market, I am happy to be of service!


The Hoyt Arboretum

Perched high in Washington Park, the Hoyt Arboretum showcases a collection of shrubs and trees from around the world and your own backyard. Stroll the shaded paths independently, or take advantage of guided tours around the park concerning subjects as varied as ethnobotany, creating natural dyes and native trees. Enjoy a quiet picnic in the designated picnicking area, or simply meditate on the Redwood observation deck– the arboretum allows you to take in the diversity and beauty of trees, whisking you far away from the city and into the natural world. Free, and accessible by TriMet Line 63. Prices for tours vary.


Heritage Trees of Portland

Explore Portland’s oldest trees and rediscover the history of your neighborhood through its trees. With 300 historical trees scattered throughout the city, there certainly is much to appreciate! Download the Heritage Trees app and take an unconventional tour of Portland– learn the history and significance of some of Portland’s oldest residents, where the growth of the city will take on a new meaning. PDXheritagetrees


Portland Fruit Tree Project – Community Orchards

The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the world’s finest fruits– from cherries to peaches, Oregon’s fruit trees will soon be laden with the taste of summer. The Portland Fruit Tree project brings the farm into your neighborhood, inviting residents of the city’s various quadrants to participate in the care and harvest of a community orchard. Grow and pick delicious fruits straight off the branch, meet neighbors, and appreciate the trees that make summertime special. www.portlandfruit.org. Various Locations.

Homegrown Garden

Now is the perfect time to start your garden! Whether your thumbs have been green for years or you’re planning to play in the dirt for the first time, you’ll dig this guide.

#1. Focus on the trinity of gardening: soil, water, sunlight. Some quick research into what your planned plantings love makes a world of difference when it’s harvest time. Make yourself a cheat sheet for each of your future foods and be diligent!
#2. Start before the beginning. Get your hands dirty. The best soil will be soft and crumbly, not sandy, not wet and sticky. If your soil is leaning to one side of that scale, add sand or compost to balance it out. Fertilizer is your friend.

#3. Put on your garden planning hat. Once you know which of your plants will be on similar water schedules, group them together for shared sipping. Know where your light is coming from. Let the taller sun-loving residents like kale or cilantro throw some friendly shade for their shorter fair-complexioned neighbors.
#4. Grow what your belly wants. If you’re eagerly anticipating the yield of your efforts, you’re far more likely to nurture your garden. Arugula, spinach, kale, mizuna, bok choi, and mustard greens make for fabulous salads and savory side dishes. Peas are fast-growing, early season crops. Think of your favorites and find out if they grow well in our climate!
Everything tastes better when you’ve grown it yourself. That might not just be satisfaction either. There are certain vitamins and minerals (magnesium, for example) that don’t get replenished in soil. So that fresh dirt in your yard will sprout healthier produce than what you’re buying at the store from regularly farmed fields.
I’d be honored to sample any of your home-grown fruits and vegetables, but don’t feel like you need to wait to harvest season to give me a call. I’m always available to help you with any of your home and real estate needs!

Our Heritage Trees

Visitors to the Northwest will often marvel at how green it is here. Magnificent trees will stretch their great boughs skyward, seemingly oblivious that they’ve taken root in a densely populated urban area. There’s a reason we’re so fortunate to have such amazing Portland trees: we protect them.

Nearly 300 “Heritage Trees” stand tall throughout Portland. Anyone can nominate a tree for this special status. Once granted, it becomes unlawful (without prior written consent) to remove, destroy, cut, prune, break or injure any designated Heritage Tree. Even trees on private property can be nominated with permission from the landowner and this consent binds all successors and heirs.


Burrell Elm
SW Main St and SW Jefferson St
American elm (Ulmus americana)
Height 78 ft
Spread 105 ft
Circumference 12.17 ft

Dutch Elm
1225 SW 6th Ave
Dutch elm (Ulmus x hollandica)
Height 105 ft
Spread 90 ft
Circumference 13.5 ft

Tulip Tree
1403 NE Weidler St
Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
Height 72 ft
Spread 65 ft
Circumference 15.5 ft

White Oak
NW 23rd & NW Overton
Oregon white oak (Quercus garryana)
Height 80 ft
Spread 86 ft
Circumference 15.4 ft

Wych Elm
222 SE 17th Ave
Wych elm (Ulmus glabra)
Height 100 ft
Spread 60 ft
Circumference 14.9 ft

No matter where you are in the city, one of these proud trees likely lives nearby. Want to find an epic Heritage Tree? There’s a free iPhone app for that. You can learn more about it here.

There’s even a handy Portland Heritage Guidebook you can check out online or right-click and save for later viewing.

And for good measure, here’s an interactive map:

Get out there and explore Portland’s glorious Heritage Trees!

Urban Birds and Bees


Living in an urban area doesn’t mean you can’t have local honey and fresh eggs. It just means you can support a local business and maybe invite some new feathered friends into your backyard. Watch this informational video and then check out the full scoop on the birds and the bees below!

Bees – Rooftop Urban Hives by

Bee Local

After pollenating Portland’s flora and promoting the local ecosystem, Bee Local’s honey-makers buzz up to the tops of key buildings downtown to do what they do best. Each hive can cover a radius of over a mile, bringing back the neighborhood’s pollen to craft their own special variety of honey. In addition to its inherent deliciousness, a daily dose of honey can alleviate symptoms of seasonal allergies and motivated folk will employ ancient techniques to make mead or “honey wine.”

If you want to get your paws on this amazing local honey, check out Bee Local’s online store. Honey is a fantastic gift (for yourself and others) so visit the site periodically because the varieties change as the season progresses!

So the next time you’re downtown and spot a bee beating its wings up toward a building, you can smile to yourself because you’ll know where she’s headed.



Chickens – Your Backyard Barnyard

Before you get distracted by all the awesome benefits of owning chickens, let it first be known: chickens make great pets. Just hanging out with your chickens in the backyard while enjoying a refreshing beverage is a recipe for relaxation.

In addition, most hens will provide you with omelet ingredients every one to three days. And these fresh, free-range eggs are proven to be higher in vitamins and lower in cholesterol and saturated fat.

Also, chickens are enthusiastic gardeners. They’ll happily clear a vegetable garden after harvest, scratching out slugs and weeds and yes, fertilize the soil for good measure. If you have fruit trees, chickens will clear away the fallen produce before it attracts insects.

You might say that backyard chickens are the bee’s knees!

For information on the types and quantity animals the City of Portland allows you to keep at your residence before you need a permit, check out this FAQ on backyard animals.

Keep Portland’s Older Homes

I hosted a strategy meeting at People’s Co-op, SE 21st and Tibbetts in June 2014. We brainstormed solutions and strategies and d how we want the process of housing demolitions to change to protect neighborhood livability,

housing affordability, solar access and more. And don’t forget the environmental impacts of housing demolition. Too many good older homes are being destroyed in our inner city neighborhoods.

Here are some important links for information on this issue:

Demolition Delay and Notification Information

Architectural Heritage Center Blog with overview and proposed strategies

SE Uplift Demolition resources page, including video and very good info from the June 11 conference at Concordia

Embrace the Rain

The rainy season is here in the Northwest, and “Oregon Sunshine” is drizzling and pouring on our lives and our homes. Now is the time to enjoy beautiful waterfalls at full force and cozy up during a storm or downpour. Some may dread the damp blanket of moisture that covers the sky, but here in Oregon, locals have learned to embrace the rain and positively harness its power. Rain barrels and rain gardens are excellent ways to utilize the 40 inches of fresh precipitation we receive each year; saving resources, money and energy is sure to put a smile on any Oregonian’s face.

Rain barrels allow homeowners to collect water for their house plants, gardens and lawns. For every inch of rain that falls on a 1000 sqft roof, a whopping 600 gallons of water can be collected. Simply utilizing this free resource can save a significant amount of money in a season, and will help conserve water usage during the drier months. Rain barrels are easy to make, and readily available to buy, so embrace the rain and start collecting that good ol’ “Oregon Sunshine” –after all, it’s free!

Rain gardens are another excellent way to make use of the drizzle. Planting native trees, shrubs, flowers and other vegetation in a natural or landscaped basin positioned near a runoff source will collect rain water like a sponge. These gardens are a beautiful way to conserve h2o, reduce stagnant water in your yard and create a wonderful habitat for wildlife. The water slowly filters into the ground before becoming stormwater runoff –that means healthier urban waterways and habitats.

However you choose to welcome the wet weather, remember all the positive ways you can embrace the rain.

Also, here’s an excellent rain garden How-To Video.

And for creating your very own rain barrel, there’s a comprehensive Do-It-Yourself Guide.