Old school building may help with our homeless population.

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First it was declaring a housing state of emergency last fall, then it was converting unused buildings into temporary homeless shelters.

Now, the city of Portland has taken its creative approach to chipping away at Portland’s homeless problem to a new place, this time to Portland Public Schools.

According to Willamette Week, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales is negotiating a deal with PPS Superintendent Carole Smith to turn a school district owned building in Southeast Portland into a homeless shelter. In exchange, the city would continue to provide funding for “school security and student bus passes.”

The building under consideration is a storage building on the campus of the former Washington High School at 1300 Southeast Stark Street. The latter facility underwent an extensive renovation and is now home to the music venue Revolution Hall, as well as business tenants such as New Seasons and Copious Creative.

Check out the whole article here at the Portland Business Journal website.

Tests at OHSU show low health risks related to soil pollution.

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Testing done by officials on Portland soil after high levels of cadmium and arsenic were found in the air show a low risk for residents, officials announced Wednesday.

The Oregon Health Authority, the Department of Environment Quality and the Multnomah County Health Department held a media briefing at 11 a.m. to give an update on the issue.

The officials said that an analysis of soil samples, cancer rates and urine tests show that residents in SE and North Portland, areas where testing showed high levels of toxics, are at low risk for health problems.

Samples of soil from around Bullseye Glass Co. in SE Portland were generally below naturally occurring or “background” levels of heavy metals, including arsenic, cadmium and chromium 6, the DEQ said.

As well as the soil showing low levels of metals, lab tests show few cases of cadmium exposure. In a study done, there weren’t elevated rates of metals-related cancers in North Portland.

During testing, the OHA analyzed 247 urine cadmium test results and found that seven samples had detectable levels of cadmium. Two were in children and three of them were at levels requiring clinical follow-up.

“The data released today are very reassuring, but our work is not done,” said Lynne Saxton, OHA Director. “We will continue to gather and report data going forward.”

Read the whole story here

 

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Oregon law requires that before a home can be sold, it must have smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors*.

Smoke alarms are required to have a hush/silence feature, and if they utilize an ionization sensor exclusively (and aren’t a part of combination detector) then a 10-year/long-life lithium battery must power it. If there is a hardwired system or a plug-in system, they must have a battery backup.

*Carbon monoxide detectors are required if there is a heater, fireplace, furnace, appliance or cooking source that uses coal, wood, petroleum products or other carbon monoxide producing fuel. OR if the home is connected to an attached garage by a door, ductwork or ventilation shaft that communicates directly with a living space.

Portland’s Streetcar Model being considered elsewhere

As cities develop their downtown cores to include more mixed uses and grow vibrant centers of business, Portland’s model for streetcar development is being looked at by city planners around the world. Though not new, using streetcars to spur development by providing subsidies and tax breaks are a part of what the City of Portland did to launch our popular streetcar line:


Portland’s streetcar system attracts about 12,000 daily riders at an average ticket cost of $1.47. Its creators credit it with $3.5 billion in surrounding development, including shops, restaurants and 10,000 new housing units.

Read the whole story here:
http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/12/17/light.rail.streetcar/index.html?hpt=C2

Jump in sales in July!

Existing homes selling fast – record fast The volume of home re-sales has been on the upswing for four consecutive months. Rates provided by Bankrate.com. NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com)—Sales of existing homes rose in July for the fourth consecutive month, lending support to economists who argue a recovery is near.

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Like our page on Facebook at Facebook.com/AltPDX We’ll be posting interesting listings, Portland happenings and news that relates to our homes and neighborhoods. We’re also there as a resource if you have questions, need to ask for a referral for a contractor or talk with others about what to do with a wet basement after a heavy Oregon storm.

Short Sales Resisted – Foreclosures Are Revived

This is an interesting article about the background of short sales and what the banks are thinking as they foreclose on homes.

“But hard-pressed homeowners like Lydia Sweetland are asking why lenders often balk at a less disruptive solution: short sales, which allow owners to sell deeply devalued homes for less than what remains on their mortgage.”

Read the whole story at The New York Times site.