Reinforced Workspace Ready for a Long Future

The iconic old building that faces Hawthorne Blvd. at Mt. Tabor is now reinforced in case The Big One hits. Despite the commotion of the deconstruction and reconstruction, Gabe Rahe along with his staff was able to keep Art Heads, SE 50th & Hawthorne open and doing business as usual.

Given the choice to close for three weeks or work around construction for three months, Rahe chose the latter. He and his employees scrambled to move the framing business around the space while construction was going on.

“We moved all the display racks, work stations, tools etc. to a portion of the building that wasn’t being renovated. The most difficult part was to make sure no dust particles touched the art. Our customers were very accommodating too.” 

The end result is iron subterranean shafts and crossbeams that will keep the building safe in case of an earthquake or natural disaster. Another end result of the reinforcement was Rahe’s collaboration with the contractors to create a work space to his specifications.

“We had a blank slate to work with,” he said. He and his fellow employees knew what would make the work space flow and designed the shop to fit their needs and those of their customers.

Starting in 2019, the makeover at Art Heads will be complete and Rahe will own the business. He was first employed here when Art Heads was located in the Hawthorne Masonic Building in 1999. After moving to this location in 2005, he became the manager and started the process of buying the business.

When the recession hit in 2008, Art Heads created a new line of ready-made frames to offer to their customers. This kept the doors open and the four employees working. With ready-made frames they could offer every price category from the person living on a fixed income to someone wanting to frame an expensive piece of art.

In framing they take into consideration color and size, the environment it will be placed in and the completed piece. Not everything requires a gilt gold frame as in bygone days. “People spend a lot of time looking at the art on their walls, and we want it to look its best.”

The business is also capable of refreshing paintings and photos, doing enlargements and restoring some works. If its not in their purview of expertise, they know people who do art restoration they can recommend.

Creative expression is an intrinsic part of Gabe Rahe’s makeup. It was what first brought him to the framing world all those years ago and continues to drive him to this day. He helped design and build all the new tables and storage units, taking aesthetics and ergonomics in mind.

The frame displays have been magnetized and will feature more selections. The west facing shades can be drawn so they create a backdrop for art exhibits that are soon to be part of the scene here. They have incorporated the Halsey Hanging System on the tall ceilings making it possible to display art in this open space.

One of his most recent at-home projects was to build a skate park in his backyard for his son. He helped from engineering the design to pouring the concrete. Rahe says he enjoys projects that are like a big puzzle. “It gets me going.”

While The Southeast Examiner was doing this interview, one of Rahe’s customer-friends, photographer Larry Olson, stopped by to say hello and see how work is progressing. Art Heads is that kind of a place because the owner is that kind of guy, a friendly, welcoming person who along with his staff can make the art on your walls reflect how you feel about a particular piece of art.

View the full article here at The Southeast Examiner

4 glass-walled, midcentury modern homes with cool atriums are for sale





What’s the story with Rummers? Read Oregon’s coolest midcentury modern houses: Builder Bob Rummer’s enduring legacy and see the photos. The developer created wide-open, glass-walled modern homes in the 1960s and 1970s that encouraged then-revolutionary indoor-outdoor living.

[1961 Park Forest Ave. in Lake Oswego, listed at $699,900, has a pending offer.]


Portlanders who appreciated Frank Lloyd Wright’s later work and developer Joseph Eichler’s atrium-centered homes in California instantly understood the appeal of Rummer’s soaring living rooms with see-through sliding glass doors that opened to patios. Many of Rummer’s customers stayed put in their homes for decades.

[1961 Park Forest Ave. in Lake Oswego, listed at $699,900, has a pending offer.]




Plans were inspired by A. Quincy Jones and other Case Study House architects, Today, a Rummer-built house can sell fast. An offer was received in five days after one, built on a half-acre lot at 1961 Park Forest Ave. in Lake Oswego, was listed in November 2018 at $699,900.





View the full article here at Oregon Live

8 Curb Appeal Tricks That Will Bring Buyers to Your House

After investing a considerable amount of money in your home, you certainly want it to always look its best. This is especially the case if you’re thinking about putting your house up for sale. Curb appeal is crucial when it comes to conveying a sense of taste and style for your home and is conducive to supporting a more premium price tag.

There are eight exterior home improvement tactics that you need to seriously consider to enhance the curb appeal of your home. Many of the strategies presented here can be undertaken as relatively easy do-it-yourself projects. Others can be accomplished with professional assistance in a short amount of time and within a reasonable budget.

Improve the Entryway

When it comes to curb appeal, many people focus on the entryway. The reality is that potential buyers visiting your home will spend more time at your entryway than anywhere else at the front of your residence.

If the door or anything else at the entryway is in disrepair or worn, the time may have come to replace the front door – and make the fix soon. At a minimum, you’ll want to consider giving the entryway to your home, including the door, a fresh coat of paint. If you want to change the look of your exterior, merely changing the color of your front door can be enough of an alteration to result in your house’s facade having a whole new look.

You also want to add a few other attractive touches to your entryway or front porch. Depending on the size, add a couple of well-crafted chairs and a complementary table. Small additions including a wreath or potted plant are also smart and understated options.

When sprucing up the porch and entryway, keep in mind that this is the passage point between the outdoors and the heart of your home. Make certain that your entryway selections harmonize with what you have done with your interior decor as well.

Install Landscape Lighting

If you’re like most homeowners, you’ve spent at least some time and money on landscaping for the front of your house. You may be interested in making at least some landscaping-related improvements. One of the simplest and most impactful steps you can take is to install landscape lighting.

Landscape lighting offers you a wide array of placement options: Elect to install lighting that will highlight trees on the premises, illuminate a walkway or light up the exterior of the house itself.

You can elect to have landscaped lighting hardwired. This may constrain your efforts to some degree, but taking this route ensures steadier and more reliable illumination.

The alternative is to install either battery-powered or solar-powered lights. With either, you have more flexibility as to where and how you install landscape lighting on your property. However, be mindful that the lights have a consistent power source. A missing or broken light within a series of lights can really stand out, and not in a flattering way.

Add Security Lighting

The addition of security lighting at your residence can enhance curb appeal in a practical way. In this day and age, people are becoming more security conscious.

Consider placing lighting around the perimeter of your residence itself, adding floodlights or spotlights at key locations around the property including walkways and entry points, and schedule them to turn on and off at specific times or by motion detection.

Security cameras have become relatively affordable and are a worthwhile investment to provide comprehensive monitoring of the home, even remotely, and deter unwanted intruders. Although many of the newer models have night vision capabilities, it would be ideal to install these within proximity of the lighting coverage.

Add Easy Landscaping

While on the subject of landscaping, perhaps the front of your house is a bit lacking when it comes to foliage. You can go the container garden route to increase and coordinate the placement of vegetation around the front of your home. The local garden store will most likely have an array of different types of containers that you can mix and match to create a beautiful presentation around the exterior of your home.

In most cases, an asymmetrical and staggered approach to placement results in a stunning, vibrant look. In addition, adding landscaping in this manner represents another curb appeal enhancement strategy and can be undertaken as a DIY project.

Make Over the Mailbox

If your mailbox is at the curb of your residence itself, take action to enhance curb appeal by giving the mailbox box a makeover. A mailbox project can have an understated, positive impact on the look and appeal of the front of your home.

The options available to you in regard to making over your mailbox can be as simple as replacing the box itself. There are plenty of fun and stylish options available at most home improvement centers like Home Depot or Lowe’s. You can also consider having a mailbox custom designed to be a replica of your house.

Another step you can take to enhance the appearance of your mailbox and your home is to plant a small garden around the post, transforming the mailbox into a pleasing anchor to a garden that can feature vibrant flowers.

Install Window Boxes

If your overall residential design harmonizes with the addition of window boxes, consider installing some to complement the front windows of your home. With window boxes, you are able to present different types of plants on a seasonal basis, adding an eye-catching vibrancy to the property from the street.

Install Shutters

In the same vein as window boxes, if you have a residence with a style that harmonizes with shutters, consider adding them as a means of enhancing the curb appeal of your home. There is a wide variety of different types of shutters and designs you can typically find at your local home improvement center. In addition, if you’re so inclined, you can even have shutters custom made and installed for your home that use sophisticated, automated mechanisms.

Refresh Painting, Siding and Trim

An exterior home improvement tactic that applies to many houses is refreshing paint, siding and trim. Especially if you’re planning to put your house on the market and haven’t updated the exterior paint or repaired siding in a while, taking the time for these projects – which may require a professional to make sure it’s done right – is a must.

If you’re interested in making a more noticeable change to the look of your home, pick a different color for the exterior of the house, changing the siding or do something more subtle, like altering trim color.

View the full article here at U.S. News

He illegally demolished landmark house; now he has to build an exact replica

SAN FRANCISCO — A man who illegally demolished a San Francisco house designed by modernist architect Richard Neutra was ordered this week to rebuild it exactly as it was.

The city Planning Commission also ordered Ross Johnston to add a sidewalk plaque telling the entire saga of the house’s origins in the 1930s, its demolition and replication.

It’s not known whether he will follow through. A call and email message seeking comments from Johnston’s lawyer has not been returned.

Johnston had received permission only to remodel the two-story house he bought for $1.7 million in 2017 with a design that would have largely kept the first floor intact, the San Francisco Chronicle reported .

Instead, everything but the garage door and frame of the house was knocked down.

Johnston later applied for a retroactive demolition permit and asked to build a new three-story house that would expand the size from 1,300 to nearly 4,000 square feet.

Johnston said he wanted to move his family of six into the larger home.

“I have been stuck in limbo for over a year,” he told the seven-member commission.

His attorney Justin Zucker argued that the house’s historic value had been erased over time because of a 1968 fire and a series of remodels in the 1980s and 1990s.

The house in Twin Peaks, known among architecture buffs as the Largent House, was the Austrian architect’s first project in San Francisco.

Planning Commissioner Kathrin Moore said she is confident that a replica could be “executed beautifully in a way that would be consistent with the home’s original expression.”

View the full article here at The Oregonian

Forget the Suburbs, It’s Country or Bust

For some New Yorkers, being priced out of the city means it’s time to move to the woods.

When Casey Scieszka, a freelance writer, and her husband, Steven Weinberg, a children’s book writer and illustrator, decided to leave Park Slope, Brooklyn, they didn’t consider the New York suburbs, where the yards were too small and the property too pricey. Instead, they moved to a house five miles down a dirt road — in the Catskills.

If you’re surprised to hear that two city-based creatives gave up their urban roots for life in the country, so were their families. Perhaps no one was more shocked than Mr. Weinberg’s grandmother and a friend of hers who once vacationed near the young couple’s new home in West Kill, N.Y. “The Catskills are over,” the friend said with concern.

Mr. Weinberg, 34, politely responded: “But you haven’t been there in 40 years. It’s different now.”

One could say the same for many of the rural hamlets, lush valleys and charming Main Streets of upstate New York: They’re changing, thanks to a wave of city folks moving in. Sure, the hemlock trees are still towering, the mountain ranges still majestic and the streams still rushing, but telecommuting has inspired a new crop of people to move to these sometimes wild, sometimes walkable and sometimes wide-open spaces. Priced out of the city, but armed with the possibility of working at home, some New Yorkers are willing to trade their walk to work for a walk in the woods.

“If you want to live on five acres, that’s never going to happen in the suburbs, so some people are looking farther,” said Jessica Fields, a real estate agent for Compass in Park Slope. In 2014, she founded Beyond Brooklyn, which helps people who want to leave the city figure out where to go.

She and her husband considered moving their family to Ulster County seven years ago — and while that is not entirely off the table, they are staying in Brooklyn for now. “We know so many people who have moved upstate or are curious about moving there. It attracts the people that want to be outside and make their own kombucha, but still want to stay connected to arts and culture.”

A 2018 StreetEasy report showed that when New Yorkers move within the tristate area, 6 percent go to Westchester and Rockland counties, while 12 percent wind up in New York counties north of there. (For comparison’s sake, 9 percent move to Long Island and 13 percent to New Jersey, whether to urban Hudson County or beyond.) Residents of the Bronx and Staten Island are most likely to move upstate (17 percent), followed by Brooklynites (12 percent).

“Ninety percent of my clients up here are from Brooklyn,” said Megan Brenn-White, a real estate agent in Kingston, N.Y., who left a 750-square-foot apartment in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, that she shared with her husband for an A-frame style house surrounded by woods in Ulster County that they bought for $255,000 in 2016. Ms. Brenn-White markets listings and interesting local businesses on an Instagram account with 6,500 followers, many of them potential or recent transplants from the city.

“Everyone wants the same things: to be within two and a half hours from the city, to have a cute town with a coffee shop less than 10 minutes away,” she said. “Sometimes they’re looking for a weekend house and sometimes — about 20 percent of the time — they’re looking for the reverse: a ‘full-time’ move where they’ll still go a few times a month to the city for work.”

City dwellers are being drawn north, in part, because of affordability. You may live in an apartment in Hudson, N.Y., within walking distance of Basilica Hudson, a former glue factory that now has a busy lineup of concerts, readings and food-related events. Or you may buy a rural farmhouse a quick drive from Beacon, N.Y., with its galleries, restaurants and shops. Either way, you could buy or rent a house for a fraction of what a one-bedroom apartment in the city would cost. Freeing up a chunk of income enables some people to chase their dreams, allowing them to open a business or live the kind of life they might not have been able to in the city.

In 2011, Amanda and Anthony Stromoski, who were living in Park Slope, discovered Kingston while weekending in the Catskills, where they liked to go camping. After wandering Kingston’s sidewalks for a night, and stopping in at the local craft brewery, they fell for the walkable streets and proximity to nature.

They visited several more times over the years and kept Kingston in mind when they were ready to leave Brooklyn. They briefly considered a move to one of the Rivertowns in Westchester, but decided they were ready for a bigger change and wanted to be closer to nature, said Mr. Stromoski, 36.

In 2016, he left his job as an assistant principal at a public high school in Brooklyn, and they bought an 1890 Victorian in Kingston for $311,000. Now they can see mountains from their windows. They made the decision, in part, because they harbored fantasies of opening a bookstore on Main Street.

For a year, Mr. Stromoski worked as a bartender while he and Mrs. Stromoski formulated a business plan. And in 2017, they opened the 2,000-square-foot Rough Draft Bar & Books, just a few blocks from their house. Here, “bibliotenders,” which is what they call their bartenders, will serve you a glass of wine along with a book recommendation; they also offer coffee and pastries from a local artisanal baker. Mr. Stromoski runs the bookstore, while Mrs. Stromoski, a health writer with Meredith, works behind the scenes.

“Opening this kind of business would have been close to impossible in Brooklyn,” Mrs. Stromoski, 36, said. “But here, it was more attainable for us.”

On their first day, one local after another popped in to welcome them, she said: “We feel really lucky to be part of such an amazing community.”

View the full article here at The New York Times

Why You Should Sell Your Home in 2019

Housing markets may not be as hot as previous years, but selling now could be your best bet.

Few people are predicting that 2019 will be a record-breaking year for home prices.

But relatively speaking, 2019 might be the best time for you to put your house on the market. Especially if you’re on the fence about selling this year or next, Nick Ron, CEO of House Buyers of America, recommends going with the devil you know rather than the devil you don’t.

“I think it’ll be better than 2020 and 2021 – who knows what’s going to happen in those years,” Ron says.

Home price growth slowed in the second half of 2018, with fewer buyers entering the market, at least partially due to rising interest rates issued by the Federal Reserve. In 2019, consumers shouldn’t expect homebuyers to flood the market again and drive prices through the roof, but it’s also unlikely to be a crisis for home sellers.

If you bought your house in the last year or two, still love it and don’t want to part with it, go ahead and wait another five years before revisiting the thought of selling. But if you’re weighing your options to sell, considering selling this year or maybe the year after, don’t play the waiting game. Here are four reasons to sell your house in 2019.

New buyers are still entering the market. As interest rates rise, some buyers will hesitate to make an offer on a home or apply for a mortgage, so be ready to see occasional drops in buyer activity. And if your house is at the higher end of the price range in your market, you should expect less buyer interest than before. Ron notes the combination of rising mortgage rates and home prices exceeding buyers’ budgets are what has caused the slowing of homebuyer activity in recent months.

But with available housing inventory remaining low, even with rising interest rates, buyers who are ready to make a purchase will still shop for homes. The biggest wave of new homebuyers will be among millennials, who are mostly first-time buyers. In a Harris Poll survey of 2,000 U.S. adults commissioned by real estate information company Trulia, more than one-fifth of Americans between ages 18 and 34 said they plan to buy a home within the next 12 months. Already, millennials make up the largest share of homebuyers at 36 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors, which released the number in March 2018.

The bottom line: While houses may sit on the market for a few more days on average compared with 2017 when the market was white-hot, buyers remain active and it’s still possible to profit from your home sale.

Interest rates are still low-ish. Mortgage interest rates are rising, reaching 4.87 percent in November for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, per data from Freddie Mac. While rates are at their highest level since February 2011, they remain much lower than the historic high of more than 18 percent in 1981.

It’s important to keep in mind that while mortgage rates tend to mirror the Fed’s interest rate activity, mortgage rates are based on the market in that moment, your financial status and the property you’re looking to purchase.

Just because the Fed raises rates at one meeting doesn’t mean mortgage rates will follow that exact pattern. “Not every Fed increase is passing on (to) a mortgage rate,” says John Pataky, executive vice president and chief consumer and commercial banking executive at TIAA Bank.

A sudden leap in mortgage interest rates is unlikely in 2019, though Pataky notes that you should be ready to see rates continue to climb. “We do expect over the next 12 months that mortgage rates will continue to drift higher,” he says.

If you’re looking to get the lowest interest rate possible on your next house, try to make a deal sooner rather than later.

View the full article here at U.S. News

Metro votes to expand growth boundary

Metro council voted 7-0, saying the expansion will help the housing crisis

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Metro Council voted ‘yes’ on expanding the urban growth boundary that will allow thousands of acres of land to be developed in Beaverton, Hillsboro, Wilsonville and King City.

All seven council members voted in favor of the proposal Thursday, saying more housing is needed to alleviate the housing crisis.

Those who oppose to the expansion are concerned about its impact on wildlife and family farms.

The vote makes expands the urban growth boundary by 2,200 acres — making room for more than 9,000 new homes in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties.

Beaverton has requested the largest swath of space at more than 1,200 acres in the Cooper Mountain urban reserve area for more than 3,700 new homes. King City made the second-largest request for more than 500 acres to expand the Beef Bend South area for 3,300 homes.

Cities have already submitted plans about how they would support the growth, including how they will guarantee a mix of housing.

Metro Council President Tom Hughes said before he voted, “It may be the boondocks now, but it won’t be the boondocks any longer.”

Some residents feel they had no say in the matter and that the vote is just paving the way for development.

“The material that I have doesn’t even use the word ‘wildlife,'” said concerned resident Barbara Wilson. “They don’t acknowledge there is any wildlife there.”

Critics are also worried about erosion, especially along Fischer Road. A representative for the Tualatin River Keepers said the area is already experiencing extreme erosion caused by runoff from another development.

View the full article here at Koin 6

What You Need to Know Before Building a Wine Cellar in Your Home

According to a 2016 study from the Wine Institute, the average American drinks nearly three gallons of wine each year, making the U.S. the largest wine-consuming nation per capita. With stats like these there’s a good chance you enjoy a glass at least on occasion, or if you’re a serious wine enthusiast maybe you’re even considering building your own in-home wine cellar.

If the latter sounds more like you, there are a number of important factors and best practices that you need to bear in mind when it comes to building a wine cellar in your house. Well done, it can contribute to an increase in your home’s value. A poorly done job, however, can possibly have the reverse effect, so plan carefully.

Before you start stacking wine racks and building cabinets, consider these details to make your wine cellar an asset to your home.

Purpose of Your Wine Cellar

Before you charge into action with building an in-home wine cellar, you need to decide how you plan on using it. For example, will the primary purpose of your wine cellar be strictly for storage, to showcase your amazing collection or both? Do you want the cellar to also double as a space for entertaining guests? Answering these questions will help you make the more specific and tactical decisions to bring your dream wine cellar to life.

Location of Your Wine Cellar

The term cellar indicates it will be built in your basement. This makes sense as the climate and other environmental qualities of a basement make it a common and strategic location for your wine cellar. But in the grand scheme of things, you can pretty much put a wine cellar anywhere, so focus on your needs and what space can be made available in your residence, respectively.

Some wine enthusiasts choose to convert a closet or a space under the stairs into a wine cellar. When considering the location, bear in mind that the optimal temperature for a wine cellar is 55 degrees Fahrenheit, with an associated 60 percent relative humidity. Although these are the preferred temperature and humidity conditions, it’s not a total deal breaker if the space varies a little from these ideal settings.

Size of Your Wine Cellar

Four primary factors come into consideration in determining the size of your wine cellar. These are:

  • Available space in your home
  • Amount of wine you want to store
  • Other activities that will occur in space
  • Budget

Assuming this is your first time building out a room, be mindful not to go overboard. Consider piloting the intended space as a makeshift cellar with a small number of bottles and simulating your intended use of the space for a couple weeks.

Proper Cooling System

As mentioned previously, the ideal climate for a wine cellar is a temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of about 60 percent. If you’re planning for your wine cellar to be located where similar conditions already exist, you’ll have an easier task of making the adustments to reach these ideal conditions. If the space is not as accommodating by default, then a proper cooling system will be critical in creating the environment optimal for storing wine.

The size and type of cooling system will largely depend on the intended size of your wine cellar. For more elaborate and larger spaces, consider talking to a professional heating and cooling expert with experience in wine cellars for recommendations on HVAC models that work best for the space. Remember that the cooling system is the heart of your wine cellar, ensuring that your wine is properly cooled, matures gracefully and retains quality and value.

Vapor Barrier

You may need to consider the necessity of what is known as a vapor barrier. When properly installed, a vapor barrier prevents unnecessary and potentially damaging moisture from forming inside the walls of your wine cellar. The type of vapor barrier will depend on the insulation used within the wine cellar. If you’re using common fiberglass or rigid foam insulation, you will need to wrap the walls and ceiling with a poly vapor barrier. This will ensure that the wine cellar is completely sealed. If you’re using a basement location, consider special flooring options that prevent mold growth and contribute toward the ideal cool and humid environment.

Wine Cellar Door

The type of door you install is another important consideration. You absolutely must have a door that seals completely in order to effectively contain and control the climate inside the cellar.

If you intend for your wine cellar to be more than just a place for storage, you’ll want to contemplate more stylized options that enhance the appearance of the space itself. If you’re planning to make the wine cellar a showcase space or a place to entertain, consider wrought iron and glass doors, as they not only facilitate proper sealing of the space, but they also add a sense of elegance and style. Prefabricated wrought iron and glass doors are available and can also be custom ordered to fit your exact dimensions and desired style.

Wine Racks

There are generally two options available when it comes to wine racks for your cellar – prefabricated wine racks or custom-made wine racks. Determining whether to purchase wine racks and cabinets “off the rack” versus having them custom made is primarily a cost consideration. If money and time are of no issue, you may as well opt for splurging on a custom wine rack kit made of your ideal materials and finishes. Otherwise, there are plenty of premade styles and price points, and you should be able to find one that works.

Professional Assistance

If this is your first time building a wine room, professional assistance is strongly recommended, especially if you plan on making structural changes and installing cooling components. There are professionals with experience in all aspects of constructing and outfitting a residential wine cellar and it may be cheaper to hire their services than dealing with repairs and renovations from a bad do-it-yourself job.

professional contractor with experience in wine cellars can help develop a blueprint for your room, or take your vision and turn it into a reality all while being mindful of factors that go beyond just look and feel. If you live in a relatively major city, wine cellar construction and installation specialists should be a simple Google search away.

Decorating Your Wine Cellar

Although your wine cellar should be professionally constructed, furnishing and decorating is something that most people can and do undertake as a DIY project. As is the case with most interior design projects, you can truly imprint your own sense of style to the room. Some choose a more classic look, decorating the wine cellar to replicate styles from centuries ago. At the opposite end of the spectrum, others select a design that exudes a more sleek and modern feel.

When decorating your wine cellar, keep the focus on the wine itself. The decorations should be selected in a manner that visually celebrates the wine and doesn’t make it a secondary element of the space.

If done right, this wine cellar can become the part of your home that evokes a true sense of pride as well as contribute to the property value. Follow these best practices and you should end up with a space that is much more than just a spot to store wine.

View the full article here at U.S. News

Madras Youth Leaves Behind A Gift For Family: A New Home

Building a house can teach you a lot.

Abby Hartung picked up power tool skills and CPR training, She learned to measure, lay down vinyl flooring, install a closet, seal windows, assemble cabinets. She got the hang of it as she went, while professional contractors showed her and 73 other young people how to build houses. 

“From the ground up,” 21-year-old Hartung said. “From the dirt to the concrete, to the framing, to the floor, to the walls. Everything. It’s been really really cool.”

She’s part of Heart of Oregon YouthBuild. The program gives job training and a small stipend to people between 16 and 24. In exchange, they work to build new, rent-to-own houses for people with agricultural jobs. The youth crew just finished the last of six homes in the Casa Soñada subdivision, a cul-de-sac in Madras.

Hartung said besides learning the tools of the construction trade, the program helped her nail down the last credits she needed for a high school diploma.

She talked about her plans for the future on the ribbon-cutting day for the final Casa Soñada house. She took off her shoes before she went in and looked proudly around the master bedroom, admiring its clean bright lines one last time.

Jose Arzate looked around the same room and felt his son’s hands.

His son Angel was part of the YouthBuild crew. He represented it on a trip to Washington, D.C., before, at 18, he was killed in a car wreck. Angel liked to run, play the guitar, bang on the drums, and according to his dad, he loved construction.

“And that’s one of the reasons he came to YouthBuild, because he really thought he could make it, that he could learn a lot of things. And you know, he did,” Jose Arzate said.

A year after Angel’s death, his family moved into a Casa Soñada house. 

“It’s one of the houses we always wanted. Because my son. He put his hands in these houses,” Jose Arzate explained, his voice breaking.

“So, that’s one of the reasons we want to stay in the house as long as we can — All my life if I can.”

Arzate works on a Central Oregon hay farm. Rent for the house is about $600 per month, made possible by two Central Oregon nonprofits — Housing Works and NeighborImpact — managing the property.  After 10 years, the family gets the option to buy the house for the cost of construction, which Jose Arzate said he “absolutely,” plans to do.

Living there helps him remember the son he lost, but it’s also where he’ll welcome another son home. A baby boy named Alex Arzate was born this week.


View the full article here at OPB

The 10 Most Expensive Cities in the World Are Even Pricier Than SF and NYC

The last time you got a raise, did you potentially daydream of moving to some far-off amazing place? Well, your options may be limited, because that amazing locale might come with a super high price tag—especially if you want to live abroad. The Economist recently updated their list of most expensive cities in the world, and surprisingly, pricey American cities didn’t even crack the list this year.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) puts out an annual cost of living survey which compares more than 400 individual prices across over 150 products and services. It also ranks major cities by most to least expensive.

For the fifth consecutive year, Singapore retains its title as the world’s most expensive city in a list split between Asia and Europe. While New York City made the list last year (tied with Copenhagen, Denmark), no American cities were on the list this year.

Check out the full list below:

Most Expensive Cities in the World

1. Singapore
2. Paris
3. Zurich
4. Hong Kong
5. Oslo
6. Geneva
7. Seoul
8. Copenhagen
9. Tel Aviv
10. Sydney

What does life look like in each of these cities in terms of day-to-day purchases? Pretty pricey—and climbing. As shown throughout the chart below, prices have continued to increase in each of these cities year by year, with the EIU including prices from 2008 for comparison. (We’ll take a bottle of wine in Geneva, please!)

And while Singapore may be super expensive, it still offers some value to its residents. While it may be the most expensive place in the world to buy a car and the third most expensive location to buy clothing, it does offer fairly reasonable pricing on personal care, household goods, and domestic help.

But all pricey cities are not created equal: Of the top 10 list, the European cities–Paris, Zurich, Oslo, Geneva, and Copenhagen – are more costly in terms of household, personal care, recreation, and entertainment, with Zurich and Geneva being the most expensive. The cities in Asia–Singapore, Hong Kong, and Seoul–tend to be pricier for general grocery shopping.

Surprised that San Francisco and New York City aren’t on the list? Politics and economics—like tariffs, a strong economy, and the weakening value of the dollar—have changed the dynamics for how popular U.S. cities rank on the list this year. For example, New York City fell four spots to a 13th ranking.

View the full article here at Apartment Therapy