Riders pass a baton during a Pony Express relay race in Okmulgee, Okla.
Riders pass a baton during a Pony Express relay race in Okmulgee, Okla.

Ivan McClellan

As a child growing up in Kansas City, Ivan McClellan would sing the national anthem at the American Royal rodeo with a youth choir. Those performances are some of his fondest memories, but they’re also bittersweet.

That’s because just about everybody else around him was white.

“It wasn’t a place that we felt like we belonged,” McClellan told “Morning Edition host A Martínez.

Learning about Black rodeos as an adult came as a revelation to him. McClellan spent nearly a decade documenting this unique culture all across the United States.

Rodney & RJ, McCalla, Ala.
Rodney & RJ, McCalla, Ala.

Ivan McClellan

His forthcoming photobook, “Eight Seconds: Black Rodeo Culture,” out April 30 from publisher Damiani Books, features highlights from that journey. The title refers to the minimum amount of time a rider has to stay on a horse or other livestock in order to register a score during a competition.

“All of this beauty and energy and environment just stuck to me,” McClellan said about his first encounter with a Black rodeo. “I saw thousands of Black cowboys and they were doing the Cupid Shuffle in the desert and they were cooking turkey legs. And there were Black folks dressed like traditional cowboys. There were also black folks riding their horses in Jordans and women riding with their braids blowing behind them and their hands with long acrylic nails clutching the reins.”

Keary Hines, Prairie View, Texas.
Keary Hines, Prairie View, Texas.

Ivan McClellan

That event, the Roy Leblanc Invitational Rodeo in Oklahoma, is one McClellan has come to dub “the Super Bowl of Black rodeos.” It is the oldest of its kind in the country.

He began posting his photographs of the event online. As his social media audience grew, McClellan was soon traveling the country in search of similar happenings.

“There are Black cowboys pretty much everywhere. I mean, there are Black cowboys here in Portland, Oregon, where I live, which I think is the last place that I would have expected to find them,” said McClellan, who now runs his own rodeo.

“I went all the way to Oklahoma to realize that there were cowboys up the road from me who have been there for four generations … You’d be hard pressed to find a part of America where there wasn’t at least some some portion of this culture.”

Jadayia Kursh, Okmulgee, Okla.
Jadayia Kursh, Okmulgee, Okla.

Ivan McClellan

It’s a narrative largely shunned by Hollywood and the broader mass culture, where the cowboy is consistently portrayed as a white male, be it John Wayne, Val Kilmer or on TV series like Bonanza (1959-73) and Gunsmoke (1955-75).

Up until a few years ago, “I really thought that term [cowboy] was a joke when applied to a Black person,” McClellan said.

In fact, the term was once a pejorative for African Americans working on ranches and farms, while white cowboys were known as “cowhands.”

Patrick Liddell, Las Vegas, Nev.
Patrick Liddell, Las Vegas, Nev.

Ivan McClellan

But ultimately, cowboy became “a shorthand for our noblest ideals,” McClellan said. “A lot of these things our popular culture is hesitant to attribute to a Black person. So I think to have a cowboy rushing in, saving the day with a black face just didn’t jibe with the stories that Hollywood was trying to tell. I think it’s erasure. I think it’s at best, laziness, at worst, very intentional and malicious. But I’m excited to see that transforming before my eyes.”

Beyoncé’s recent country-influenced album Cowboy Carter is the latest iteration of that push for change in popular culture. Lil Nas X challenged the country genre in 2018 with his song “Old Town Road.” It became a viral hit after sparking widespread conversations about genre gatekeeping and Black musicians’ place within country culture.

Bull Riders, Rosenberg, Texas.
Bull Riders, Rosenberg, Texas.

Ivan McClellan

“It was a perfect alley-oop. And Beyoncé is hanging on the rim right now,” said McClellan. “Beyoncé is not only revealing Black cowboy culture, but she’s transforming country music forever and tearing down genres in a way that that I don’t think has ever been done.”

For McClellan, there’s now one place where he keeps returning over and over.

“As far as cultural impact, there’s nothing like the Roy LeBlanc Invitational Rodeo,” he said. “On the second weekend in August at about 8 p.m. when the sun is going down, everything is gold and all the athletes are filing into the arena for the grand entry. And that is where I like to take photos more than anywhere else on the entire planet.”

Rodeo Queen, Okmulgee, Okla.
Rodeo Queen, Okmulgee, Okla.

Ivan McClellan

 

For this and similar articles, please visit OBP.com

Nearly half of all window strikes happen at residential houses, which is why it’s so important for renters and homeowners to take steps to make their homes bird safe. See below for tips that fit every budget, from DIY solutions for your yard and windows to installing professional screens and films.

For those who live in the greater Portland Metro area, we also encourage you to sign up for our Backyard Habitat Certification Program to receive expert advice on landscaping with native plants and recommendations for minimizing bird strikes. You can also sign up to Take the Pledge to go Lights Out to help reduce the impacts of light pollution on nesting and migrating birds, other wildlife, and on human health.

What Happens When a Bird Hits a Window?

Western Tanager receives exam at Bird Alliance of Oregon’s Wildlife Care Center after hitting a window.

Naturescaping Approaches

  • Move bird feeders & baths far away from (>30 feet) or close to (<3 feet) windows
  • Move large houseplants away from windows where strikes are common
  • Visit the Backyard Habitat Certification Program for more information on naturescaping

Decals and Window Film

Cords, Netting and Screens

DIY Solutions

Lighting Solutions

  • Take the pledge to go Lights Out
  • Turn off unnecessary lights overnight every night, or during migration seasons: mid-March through early June and late August through mid-November
  • Ensure that all exterior lighting is properly shielded and aimed down
  • If you’re converting exterior lamps to LED, choose a warm light LED (under 3,000 Kelvins)
  • Make sure you’re not over-lighting: carefully choose the wattage of your exterior lamps
  • Switch to motion sensor lighting
  • Check out this wildlife friendly lighting that meets the International Dark-sky Association’s Fixture Seal of Approval

For more detailed BirdSafe resources and those geared specifically toward professionals, check out our Toolkit.

What to Do if a Bird Hits Your Window

If a bird hits your window, observe it before handling. Some strike victims recover after initially being stunned. If a stunned bird is in imminent danger (i.e., a lurking cat), place it in a box and set it in a safe and quiet place. Check the bird in one hour. If it is alert, active and able to fly, release it immediately. If the bird is still having trouble, bring it to the Wildlife Care Center, 5151 NW Cornell Road (open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. every day, 503-292-0304).

 

For this and similar information, please visit the Bird Alliance of Oregon

A Centuries-Old Design Movement Is the Season’s Most Exciting Trend

While the Internet was busy talking about the emergence of red as the latest “it” color and bookshelf wealth, a centuries-old design movement has been quietly making its way back into the conversation. Maybe you’ve noticed, maybe you haven’t, but there’s no denying it: Blue-and-white porcelain, ceramics, and tilework are quietly everywhere.

The trend first started popping up last year—in kitchens, bathrooms and fireplaces with Delft-style tiles. Originally invented by the Dutch in the 1600s, these charming, humble tiles often depict small hand-painted portraits of people, farm animals, florals or bucolic and nautical scenes in a signature blue-and-white color palette. In recent months, I’ve also noticed an uptick in Chinoiserie-style ginger jars and wallpaperblue-and-white Portuguese porcelain, and Spanish tile. They’re popping up in interior design projects and on the retail market, but no one is really talking about it…yet.

I love this trend both for its warm, welcoming qualities (it reminds me of my childhood and the dinner plates my grandmother owned) and also for the unexpected visual weight it carries. A little goes a long way, but because of the simple duo of colors, a lot goes a long way too. Try it in small doses with a pretty vase or salt-and-pepper shaker, or fully embrace it in a kitchen backsplash. Ahead, three ways to add this look to your home, whether you have $20 or $2,000 to spend.

delft chinoiserie decor
delft chinoiserie decor

If you’re looking to mix things up—just a little: Add blue-and-white decor or tableware.

Maybe you’re reading this and thinking this whole trend is a bit too “granny” for you. Perhaps you prefer newer, more modern design details? Here’s a quick decorator trick for you: If you feel like everything around you feels too new, sprinkle in a few storied pieces to nail that cool, collected contemporary-with-a-twist European vibe. An easy and affordable place to start is with some blue-and-white vasesfloral plates, or a set of coasters.

Buy them: 

Modern Delft Blue Vase With Fun Bicycle Design, $55 at Etsy

Montrose Terracotta Vase Collection, from $50 at Pottery Barn

Two’s Company Chinoiserie Mini Ginger Jar Salt and Pepper Shaker Set, $22 at Amazon

Italian Blue Floral Pasta Bowl, $15 at Sur La Table

Delft Blue Canal Houses Marble Coaster Set, from $38 at Etsy

chinoiserie peel-and-stick wallpaper
chinoiserie peel-and-stick wallpaper

If you have a tendency to change your mind: Try peel-and-stick wallpaper or decals.

I get it: Trends come and trends go, and then you have to decide if you still love them enough to turn them into personal classics. While blue-and-white decor, tile, and tableware will never really stale, there’s always the chance you’ll grow tired of them. In that case, skip anything too permanent and keep to temporary solutions like peel-and-stick wallpaper and tile decals.

Buy them: 

Porto Tile Decals, $50 for 2’ x 4’ at Chasing Paper

1680 Antique Minimalist Blue French Tiles Peel & Stick Wallpaper, from $40 at Etsy

Chinoiserie “Whimsy” Blue and White Large Scale Pattern Wallpaper by Pattern Garden, from $39 at Spoonflower

delft backsplash tiles
delft backsplash tiles

If you’re remodeling: Opt for a blue-and-white tile fireplace surround or backsplash.

Authentic blue-and-white tiles, particularly anything from the original delft manufacturer Royal Delft in Amsterdam, come with a majorly hefty price tag. A single tile can set you back several hundred dollars, and an antique set of fewer than a dozen can ring in at more than 10 times that amount. But just because you don’t have thousands earmarked for your project’s tile doesn’t mean you can’t add the classic, historical touch to your home. Even just a few tiles intermixed with simple white square tile can go a long way, especially in a fireplace surround or in the backsplash area above your cooktop.

Buy them: 

Kitchen Backsplash Delft Style, $278 for 22 tiles at Etsy

M051 Herendira Blue Hand Made Wall Tiles, $1 per tile at Milagros

17th Century: Maiolica De Delft – Piccola (Varied Styles), from $45 per tile at Clé Tile

Portuguese Hand Painted Decorative Replica Tile, $404 for 20 tiles at Etsy

Blueware Tile Golf Player, $22 at Royal Delft

 

For this and similar articles, please visit Realtor.com

The up and down roller coaster ride of the real estate market and continued fluctations in interest rates can leave sellers scratching their heads, wondering how to price their homes correctly.

To begin with, you should hire a fantastic listing real estate agent. These professionals will have the tools and background needed to help you sell your home in today’s market. But there are specific questions to ask so that you can pinpoint the right professional for you.

It’s smart to be picky! A great real estate agent can help find buyers to sell your home fast, and for the most money. Make the wrong choice, and your listing might languish. Then, the lowballing bargain hunters come circling—it’s not pretty.

Not sure where to get started? You can search for real estate agents in your area with online tools that offer you the chance to read real estate agent reviews from previous clients. From there, you’ll want to call or meet with a few you like and probe further.

Selling your home?

Questions to ask a real estate agent when selling a home

Here are some important questions to ask your agent when selling your home, from sales plans to listing costs.

1. What are your credentials?

As you start out to sell your home, at the very least hire an agent who has a state license and belongs to the local real estate trade association. This means that they will have access to the multiple listing service, or MLS, and can list your property far and wide to attract buyers.

2. How many sales did you close last year?

A real estate agent’s past performance doesn’t guarantee a quick sale. Their track record of success with buyers and sellers, though, is some assurance that they are professionals who will know what they’re doing in selling your home.

Ask potential agents about how many clients they’ve worked with in the past and about the price range of the homes they have sold. You ideally want someone who knows just which real estate features will be valued by buyers in the appropriate income bracket. You may also want to ask for recommendations from previous clients.

3. Do you specialize in this neighborhood?

Having a local expert can be a huge advantage for sellers. Local agents will be aware of any upcoming developments in the area, plus plans for stores or other amenities that might affect the value of your property, how quickly it will sell, and the price you’re likely to get. They’ll also know what local buyers are looking for in real estate.

“You want to know that your agent understands the market for your neighborhood right now,” says Ashlie Roberson, a New York City–based agent at Triplemint. She also advises sellers to inquire about the agent’s favorite places in the area.

After all, your agent needs to be able to not only sell your home, but your neighborhood.

4. How do you arrive at the listing price?

Few things are as important to a seller as the discussion of how to price your home, and your real estate agent’s ability to land on a listing price that is pitched at just the right level for the local market.

A property that is priced too high will languish, eventually turning off potential buyers; but a home priced too low might leave money on the table.

Make sure your agent is knowledgeable about the local market and what similar homes have recently sold for. This will help you arrive at the right price. Be sure to get answers to any of your questions about the process of pricing your home.

5. Whom will I be working with?

You want to find out if you will be working with one specific real estate agent or a member of the agent’s team. Each scenario has pros and cons for sellers, so ask lots of questions. Different agents work with clients in different ways.

“Having a team of agents makes accommodating showings easier, but specific requests made by the seller can get lost among a big team,” says JoAnn Schwimmer, associate broker and certified relocation professional with DJK Residential in New York City.

6. How much will selling my home cost?

Ask several questions about the costs that you, as the seller, will be paying in the real estate transaction, such as broker’s commissionclosing fees, and anything else, so you can plan accordingly—and compare from one agent to the next. This should all be covered in the listing agreement with the real estate agent.

7. What is your sales plan?

A good agent should have a written plan for selling your home that identifies the marketing plan for your property to attract buyers, from listing services to open houses to social media. A comprehensive plan helps ensure you’ll capture buyer interest.

“Don’t let them just rely on mailers,” says Roberson. She advises using an agent who has the capability to provide professional photography, a custom website, and even video, if appropriate. This will make the best impression on buyers.

“Marketing is the key to a successful sale,” adds Roberson.

8. What should I do to get my house ready?

See what the agents’ advice is for necessary repairs or upgrades or what hacks they might suggest for budget-friendly but impactful improvements that would attract buyers. Find out if they suggest staging services or just a good cleaning and decluttering.

Also, ask questions about whether the agents are willing to accommodate your schedule and what days and times they prefer to show houses.

9. How will we communicate?

If you’re a texter and your real estate agent prefers lengthy phone calls, that could present a problem. Likewise, you might prefer the personal touch of a call over an email. Knowing the method and frequency of communication can be important in selling your home. Your agent should also be available to answer any questions that you have along the way.

10. How long will the process take?

While no agents can guarantee how fast the sale and full real estate transaction will go, they should be able to give a ballpark range on how long it will take to sell your house. The national average is about a month, but it does depend heavily on your local market.

You can find more sales statistics about your neighborhood by entering your ZIP Code into realtor.com/local.

 

For this and related article, please visit Realtor.com

two movers inside a home loading packed boxes onto a cart
Adobe – Royalty Free

Moving company scams are on the rise. In 2023, customers filed 12% more complaints about moving scams than in the previous year, according to Better Business Bureau and HireAHelper data. While hiring a top-rated moving company can help ensure you won’t fall prey to a scam, raising awareness about moving scams is important for consumer protection. We’ll identify some of the most common moving company scams and give you some tips on how to avoid them.


Key Findings

In 2023, the average victim reported losing $836 to a moving scam.
The mover “no-show” scam accounts for 26% of common moving scams.
Moving scams are most common in Wyoming (1 in every 4,426 moves) and least common in Texas (1 in every 41,410 moves).

Common Moving Scams

Minor property damage or losses don’t necessarily constitute moving fraud. It’s a scam if the moving company is deceptive or makes false promises. Common scams include movers ghosting customers or charging fees that aren’t disclosed in advance. Before booking a mover, prepare yourself by reviewing the most common moving scams below.

No-Show Movers

No-show movers will provide an estimate and ask customers to pay a deposit, but on moving day, they’re nowhere to be seen. Before booking a move, verify that your movers have a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) number through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) portal.

Bait and Switch

A bait-and-switch move happens when the moving company gives you an estimate, but after loading all your belongings on their vehicle, they increase the price. They may argue that your possessions weigh more than originally estimated or that additional services are required.

Some moving companies only provide non-binding estimates, which means the price can change based on the weight of your belongings on moving day. Understand the type of moving estimate provided by your moving company and whether it’s binding or non-binding. If available, ask moving companies for a binding written estimate for services.

Hostage Goods

In a hostage goods scam, moving companies refuse to unload your possessions from their vehicle and claim you owe them more money than you originally agreed upon. Reputable companies will provide a written contract containing all agreed-upon fees. Make sure you understand the fine print.

Hidden Fees

Some companies may tack hidden fees onto a move, including fees for extra packing materials, additional insurance, or special handling for certain items. Ask for a list of all possible charges in writing before moving day.

Phantom Weight

Reputable interstate moving companies charge based on the total weight of your possessions. In a phantom weight scam, a moving company claims that your shipment weighs more than it does and charges you higher fees based on this inflated weight. By federal law, you have the right to watch the moving truck being weighed, although you may have to arrange with the company ahead of time to be there for the weighing process.


11 Red Flags To Look For in a Moving Company

The following red flags may indicate a moving company is not above board.

  1. The mover gives an estimate without having seen your goods.
  2. The mover refuses to give you a binding estimate or tells you they can’t determine the final cost until your goods are loaded. Note that some companies only offer non-binding estimates, and this doesn’t indicate a scam in isolation.
  3. The company insists you pay cash or put down a sizable deposit upfront.
  4. You can’t find a legitimate physical business address for the moving company. For example, its address is listed as a P.O. box or residence.
  5. When you call, employees answer the phone without mentioning the company by name.
  6. The company has numerous complaints on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, on online review sites, and in the FMCSA database.
  7. The moving company doesn’t give you its U.S. Department of Transportation number, which may mean it isn’t registered. You can check a company’s licensing status here.
  8. The company cannot provide proof of insurance, including liability and workers’ compensation coverage.
  9. Before a move, the company doesn’t give you a bill of lading, the legally-required contract that serves as your receipt guaranteeing the terms and conditions of your move.
  10. The company fails to give you the legally-required documents Your Rights And Responsibilities When You Move and FMCSA’s Ready to Move brochure.
  11. There’s no way to get updates from the driver during your move with any questions or to stay informed about when your shipment will arrive.

How To Protect Yourself From a Moving Company Scam

There are several important actions you can take before and during a move to protect yourself against scams.

Research the Company

Research local and long-distance moving companies by reading reviews on reputable third-party sites such as BBB and Trustpilot.

If you’re considering a moving company that isn’t well known, take the following steps before entrusting the mover with your belongings:

  • Ensure the company has a physical address (not a P.O. box) and a website.
  • Check its online reputation. Although a company can pad its online presence by soliciting fake reviews, reading reviews across multiple review sites such as Yelp and Google can give you a more reliable view of customer experience.
  • Check licensing. Ask for the company’s USDOT number and ensure it’s officially listed with the FMCSA here.
  • Check for red flags in the company’s complaint and safety history. The BBB is a good place to start. Search the FMCSA database to view the company’s complaint history. Detailed safety records are also available in the FMCSA’s Safety and Fitness Electronic Records (SAFER) system.
  • Ask to see proof of insurance. Ensure the company has liability and workers’ compensation coverage.

Review Payment Terms

Reputable moving companies don’t require cash payment or a large deposit upfront. Here are a few things to consider before making your first payment:

  • Understand the payment terms: A moving contract could involve a set fee or an hourly or fixed rate. Once you sign the contract, you are legally obligated to pay the amount listed.
  • Read the contract closely: Ensure that additional charges, such as fees for long carries, stairs, or packing materials, are outlined in your moving contract.
  • Review cancellation fees: Understand the company’s cancellation policy and any fees that may apply if your plans change.
  • Avoid cash-only payments: Companies that insist on cash payments could be evading taxes or trying not to leave a paper trail. Consider paying via credit card so that you have the protection of your credit card company in the event of a scam.

According to our February 2024 survey of 1,000 homeowners, 40.3% prioritized affordability when looking for a moving company. However, remember that although budget is important, it should not be the sole deciding factor. If you pick the cheapest option just because it is the cheapest, you may get what you pay for.

Schedule an On-Site Inspection

We recommend working with a moving company that will schedule a pre-move inspection so there are no surprises on moving day.

Your movers will assess your house to identify any obstacles or hazards, such as a broken stair, that may arise during a move—or for any property damage that existed before their arrival. They will examine your possessions to determine if there’s anything that needs to be handled with extra care, such as valuable art or a piano.

A pre-move inspection ensures that the moving company knows how many items you plan to move so they can give you an accurate estimate of how much your move will cost.

Get Everything in Writing

Request the following documents and keep records in the event you need to file a complaint.

Request a written estimate from each moving company you consider that specifies whether it is binding or non-binding. Binding moving estimates guarantee the total cost of your move. Non-binding estimates may change based on the final weight of your belongings or additional services rendered.

What To Do If You Fall Victim to a Moving Company Scam

If you find yourself the victim of a moving scam, act quickly to protect your belongings and seek recourse. Taking prompt action maximizes your chances of a favorable outcome.

  • Gather documentation: Document every aspect of the issue, including any correspondence, receipts, or paperwork you have with the moving company. Save emails and write down the time and date of all phone conversations, including the name of the person you spoke to. This information will support your case if you need to file a complaint.
  • Contact the moving company: Give the moving company the opportunity to rectify the situation. Calmly discuss what went wrong and how you have documented it. Let them know that if the situation isn’t resolved, you’ll file a complaint with the FMCSA and the BBB.
  • File a complaint: If the company is unresponsive or uncooperative, escalate the matter by filing a complaint with the FMCSA and the BBB. The USDOT also has a fraud hotline you can call to report the company. The American Trucking Association (ATA)’s Moving and Storage Conference is another organization that takes complaints. State agencies also take complaints.
  • Involve law enforcement: If your belongings are being held hostage, you may need to involve law enforcement to resolve the issue. Contact your local police department and provide them with the necessary documentation to support your claim.
  • Find an attorney: Legal action may be required to recover your possessions or seek compensation for damages. Consult an attorney specializing in consumer protection or moving industry disputes to explore your legal options.

Our Conclusion

Moving scams are on the rise, but knowing how to identify them can help consumers avoid getting scammed. We recommend requesting multiple estimates, thoroughly researching moving companies, and understanding exactly what’s in your contract to avoid unwelcome surprises on moving day.

 

For this and related articles, please visit This Old House

43-year-old North Portland resident Perrin Smith has done something extraordinary. In a quest that was part of his life for nearly three years, he walked every single street and alleyway in the City of Portland. That’s about 2,100 miles of pavement, gravel, grass, mud, and sidewalks.

Born and raised in rural New Jersey, he “escaped” the East Coast and came to Portland in 2006 after graduating from Northern Arizona University. A veteran of competitive running, Smith was geared up for a big season in 2020 when Covid hit and everything changed.

“I was bummed and really needed something to do,” he told me in an interview Monday for the BikePortland Podcast. “I started following people on Instagram who were running every single street and it looked like fun. And I thought, ‘Sure. Why not? I’ll do it’.” (Smith was inspired by Rickey Gates, an author and notable endurance runner who popularized the “Every Single Street” movement.)

Smith fired up his Strava app and, since he was still in competitive-mode, started his challenge running all the miles. When an injury struck, he switched to walking and the real journey began. “I started to realize that I liked walking even more, because I was going slower. I was stopping to take photos, I was looking at graffiti, or someone’s weird artwork in their front yard. And I just I kind of slowed down life and I looked around more, which is not something that I ever did. I was always so focused on running, but it became more about exploring and learning.”

“And ever since then I have done everything that I was doing, slower.”

His day job as a pizza cook didn’t require him to explore Portland, so he found himself navigating new neighborhoods with fresh eyes. At the start, he’d drive across town to start a walk. But a harrowing car crash in August 2022 led him to stop driving. Then he decided to not renew his license, has been carfree for over a year now, and used his bike or public transit to get across town and fill in new parts of the map.

The scariest place he walked? Marine Drive or Airport Way were both “pretty terrifying” he shared. (Note: If there was an off-street bike path adjacent to a street, he would not take it. He felt walking on the street was a required part of the challenge.)

His favorite place to walk? Southwest hills: Hillsdale, Maplewood and Markham neighborhoods especially. “It’s so much quieter down there. It’s like a totally different town.”

In one neighborhood he found a bunch of houses that had strange, artistic mailboxes. One of them, jokingly marked “Air Mail” was on a pole, 20-feet off the ground. He also walked with a group of friendly peacocks in southeast near Johnson Creek. One time a guy chased him down and angrily demanded to know what he was doing. “I’m just walking on the street! What’s the problem?” Smith remembers thinking.

But it’s the rich memories of every nook and cranny of Portland and everything he learned along the way that he’ll remember most. “I miss it. I really miss it,” Smith said. “I’d do it again.”

 

For more of this amazing story, please visit BikePortland.org to hear all about it in their podcast.

When Emilia Callero and Jake Creviston first entered the Portland real estate market in 2016, they had certain expectations about how it was going to go. The city was in one of its hottest real estate bubbles in history, and properties were going in two days, with several offers. The couple had planned to search for a few months before landing the right place, but they ending up touring — and eventually buying — one house. It was a bank-owned, “marked” property in North Portland’s Arbor Lodge neighborhood where the owner, a vet, had died by suicide.

“Most people are really spooked by that,” says Callero, the lead for the interior design firm Emilia Decor. “We weren’t.”

Most historic homes need a lot of love — but Callero and Creviston might have been the best, most qualified people for the job. At the time, Callero was a budding interior designer eager for an all-consuming project she could use to build her portfolio. Her husband, Jake, is a psychiatric nurse practitioner who was working with veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. He also loves to build and was ready to take on major DIY house projects.

“The whole place felt like it needed an injection of something,” Callero says. “I wanted a place where I could really get my hands dirty and learn.”


The first room they tackled was the kitchen — which was really just a closed-in butler’s pantry about the size of a closet. It had no cabinetry, no room to move around, so they took it down to its studs, completely redid the floor plan and opened up the space. Today it’s a place of love and light perfect for a young family life (they are also parents to children Olive, 5, and Lucca, 2).

In the living room, they peeled off red-and-white circus tent wallpaper and added a large globe pendant light. Callero found workarounds for the Craftsman’s storage limitations by reupholstering an IKEA bench for the kids’ gloves and hats.

In the library, they added built-in bookshelves with their own lighting system designed by Creviston. He also styled their stairwell at the back of the home with cheeky black-and-white photography.

They set up the main living room to be a calm space where their daughter can play “office” and the whole family can have second breakfast on the weekends.

As they shape their spaces, the couple has been figuring out how to meld their very different styles and persuasions, much the way a couple might find balance in a marriage therapist’s office. Hers is a playful mix of modern, traditional, global and bohemian, and his is a little punk rock.

“He’s way more edgy than me,” Callero says. “He grew up in mosh pits, and I was that dreamy kid over there reading books in the sun.”



Callero might throw Grandma’s handmade lace on the dining room table, while Creviston paints all of the trim in the upstairs black. Callero will pick a muted graphic wallpaper inspired by her time living in Mexico, while Creviston hangs a skateboard on the wall. It all works — an eclectic mix that feels personal and soulful.

“I see this with every couple I work with,” Callero says. “Every single time, the couples learn about what they each like and how they each relate to things like color and pattern.”

Callero, who is self-taught, has seen her own style grow and change throughout the process. With kids in the home, she’s less in love with open shelving in the kitchen — “Never again, for me,” she says — and more confident and bold in how she sees and uses color in her designs. Her overall color palette has changed a bit, but not her intuition with color, something that attracts clients to her design work.

“I’m always drawn to color — across the spectrum of tones and hues,” Callero says.

And living with someone who has his own aesthetic drives and desires — and who works as a therapist — has given them both a great understanding about the ever-changing conversation that needs to happen about how to occupy a home in a partnership. Callero has built those discussions into her design process, always starting with those crucial conversations necessary to really get to know her clients.

“Design is kind of like marriage,” Callero says. “We are never like: Oh, we got it, we figured out your style and my style and how to blend it. It’s been great to just realize that we’re always going to be tweaking things, in every house we live in, forever.”


 

For this and similar articles, please visit Oregon Home

In this Oct. 21, 2015, file photo, cage-free chickens walk in a fenced pasture at an organic farm near Waukon, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)AP

Nearly all commercial egg farms in Oregon and Washington must now keep their hens cage free, under laws that went into effect Jan. 1.

The nearly identical laws in both states were passed in 2019 but neither took effect immediately in order to give egg producers time to change their practices.

The laws mandate that commercial farms with 3,000 or more chickens give their birds room to move around and that any egg producers looking to sell within the states also have cage-free birds. Oregon Senate Bill 1019 outlines minimum space for chickens, and requires that they be allowed to “roam unrestricted, other than by external walls” and are “provided with enrichments that allow the hens to exhibit natural behavior, including, at a minimum, scratch areas, perches, nest boxes and dust bathing areas.”

Oregon and Washington join a handful of other states that have passed similar laws. California and Massachusetts already have cage-free laws in place, and more states – Utah, Colorado, Rhode Island, Nevada, Arizona and Michigan – have passed laws that will go into effect in the coming years.

2022 Associated Press report said that the percentage of U.S. hens in cage-free housing rose from 4% in 2010 to 28% in 2020, and “that figure is expected to more than double to about 70% in the next four years.”

When Oregon’s law was passed in 2019, the Humane Society said the move would improve the well-being of some 4 million hens in the state.

“Most hens used in egg production are confined in barren wire cages, and each bird has less space than a single sheet of paper, preventing her from even extending her wings,” the Humane Society wrote. “Chickens are inquisitive, active animals and life inside a cage is one of frustration and deprivation.”

Small farms with fewer than 3,000 hens are exempted from the requirement, and there are other exceptions for things like county fairs, 4-H exhibitions, veterinary care needs and transportation of animals.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture says that to date, no farms have been found out of compliance. Violators could receive penalties of up to $2,500.

Eggs prices, meanwhile, reached a historic high in 2023 for a variety of reasons, including higher costs for feed and fuel and outbreaks of avian flu, but economics say more ethical eggs can mean higher prices.

Shoppers might see both cage-free or free-range labels on their eggs at the grocery store. The difference? Cage-free hens may live entirely indoors while free-range hens have outdoor access.

 

For this and similar articles, please visit OregonLive

BE A SOUP-ER HERO!
We want to invite you to embrace your inner “Soup-er Hero” and bring warmth to your community today! Portland’s Alternative Realtors is thrilled to partner with Lift UP, a local nonprofit we’ve worked with for years that’s dedicated to enhancing food security for our neighbors in Downtown and Northwest Portland.

From February 12th to March 5th, we’re stirring up community support to collect 250 cans of soup for our neighbors.
You can drop off your cans of soup in our
collection bin at our beautiful office at 3144 SE Belmont St. We’re open and ready to receive from 9-5, Monday through Friday!

For those who prefer to contribute from the comfort of their homes, we’ve got you covered! You can donate cans through our online giving page. Every $10 you contribute provides 5 cans of soup, each a comforting meal for a neighbor in need.
Click here to donate virtually!

Here’s what we’re looking for:
Canned Soups: Any variety, packed with nutrients.
Boxed Soups: Easy to store, easy to share.
Low-Sodium Soups: Healthy options for everyone.
Ramen Cups: Quick, convenient, and comforting.

Why focus on soup, you might ask? Soup is more than just a meal; it’s a bowl of hope and nourishment. It tops Lift UP’s most-wanted list for its variety, ease of storage, and nutritional value. Plus, it’s a versatile option for everyone, regardless of dietary preferences or needs.

JOIN US FOR A SOUP SOIREE!
3-6 PM on Tuesday, March 5th @ our office:
3144 SE Belmont St

-You can donate virtually or in person at our office Feb 12-Mar 5
-Or you can bring your donation to our office during the party

Join us for snacks and a glass of wine!

By helping us meet our goal, you’re not just donating food; you’re ensuring that everyone has access to the comforting embrace of a warm meal. Together, we can nurture a community where no one questions their right to essential nourishment. We’re so excited to support our community! Let’s get ‘souping’!

Deciding which mortgage loan option would be best for you is a complex process. If you’re looking to choose between a 15-year fixed rate mortgage and a 30-year fixed rate mortgage you must evaluate all the different factors to ensure that you’re making a home loan decision that you’re comfortable with. Find out the differences of a 15-year fixed mortgage vs. a 30-year fixed mortgage, compare pros and cons, and decide which one would be better for you.

What’s a 30-Year Fixed Mortgage

With a 30-year mortgage, you’re paying principal and interest every month over the span of 30 years. As a result, mortgage payments will be smaller. With a 30-year fixed mortgage, it’ll take longer to pay off. This is because you’re borrowing the same amount of money but paying it back over a longer period of time compared to a 15-year fixed mortgage. Another essential point to note is that 30-year fixed mortgages have higher interest rates since they’re spread out over a longer period and have more time to accrue.

What’s a 15-Year Fixed Mortgage

A 15-year fixed mortgage is when you pay both principal and interest over a period of 15 years. The monthly payments are higher compared to the 30-year mortgage. But you’ll pay off the balance faster since it’s a 15-year term. Interest payments are lower on a 15-year fixed mortgage since the interest has less time to accumulate. Interest rates are also historically lower on a 15-year mortgage vs. 30-year.

Differences Between a 15-Year vs. 30-Year Mortgage

Is the only difference between the two types of mortgages the length of time you have to pay it off? Well, not exactly.

Depending whether you choose a 15-year mortgage or a 30-year mortgage, there will be a domino effect on other aspects, such as the interest over the life of the loan, the total monthly payment, and the total number of mortgage payments. This chart shows you a side-by-side comparison with the differences between a 15-year and 30-year fixed mortgage:

15-Year Fixed Mortgage 30-Year Fixed Mortgage
Loan paid off in 15 years Loan paid off in 30 years
Lower interest rate Higher interest rate
Higher monthly payment Lower monthly payment
Builds home equity faster Builds home equity slower

Some of the key differences to note between a 15-year vs. 30-year mortgage include:

Length of the Mortgage Loan

People discussing 15-year vs. 30-year fixed mortgage options with loan officer

The first difference, of course, is the amount of time you have to pay off the loan. There are pros and cons of choosing a 15-year vs. 30-year mortgage based on the monthly payments you’re responsible for. If you choose the 30-year term, your monthly mortgage payment will be considerably lower.

A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage could be a suitable option if you’re looking for more flexibility with payments or just want some breathing room depending on personal finances.

But compared to the 15-year fixed mortgage, you’ll be making monthly payments for a far longer time than a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage. While the monthly payments for the 15-year term are higher, you’re paying off the loan considerably faster and that much closer to owning your home.

Interest Rate

Interest rates should always be a consideration when thinking about monthly mortgage payments and whether a 15-year vs. 30-year mortgage is right for you. With a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, you have smaller monthly payments overall.

However, the interest rate is higher. That means you’re paying more on interest over the life of the loan rather than the principal amount, even if the monthly payment itself is a smaller amount.

You could potentially offset this by making extra payments where possible to reduce the total amount you have to pay, but that’s not always an option for everyone.

When it comes to evaluating the principal and the interest for the two types of mortgages, the interest rate is lower when buying a home with a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage. So while the monthly payments are higher, you pay less interest over time.

Since the interest rate is lower for a 15-year vs. 30-year mortgage, that’s often the deciding factor for which option to go. For a 15-year fixed-term mortgage, the interest has less time to accrue, and it saves homeowners more money in the long term.

Monthly Payments

Another key difference is the monthly mortgage payment itself. The trade-off between 15 years and 30 years is how you balance short-term and long-term financial goals based on your current circumstances.

For example, if you opt for the 30-year fixed mortgage, you’ll have smaller monthly payments, but you’re making payments for a longer time and paying more interest. However, because it’s distributed over 30 years, it may not feel like that much of a difference in the end. But with the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, you’re paying a lot more in the short-term, but then you’re saving on interest over the life of the loan in the long term.

Ultimately, choosing what kind of monthly payment to go for when deciding on mortgages is very much a personal decision based on personal finances. Consider other payments such as property taxes and closing costs that must be made during the time of purchase.

Additionally, you’ll need to consider other monthly payments you may have, such as credit cards, cars, and insurance, that may impact how much you’re willing to pay on your home loan and what you can reasonably afford monthly. Calculate that against interest payments and interest rates that you’re currently finding on 15-year vs. 30-year mortgage options to identify what would be best for your specific circumstances.

Should you do a 15-year or a 30-year mortgage?

Running the numbers can help you identify what you’re most comfortable with paying in the short-term or long-term when buying a home and enable you to feel more confident during the homebuying process.

Using a mortgage calculator and running different scenarios between the two types of mortgage terms can help with deciding how much of a down payment to put down and what estimated monthly mortgage payments you can expect. CrossCountry Mortgage has a variety of resources to help you become a homeowner, including a mortgage calculator to compare two mortgage loans and identify what’s best for you.

If you have more questions, contact one of our loan officers.

 

A realtor posting a video of her new house listings for clients

For this and related articles, please visit CrossCountry Mortgage