Friday, June 1, 2007

A Little Gem of a Village in the Middle of a City

That's right--Multnomah Village! Our history here started way back in 1990, when we housesat for my cousin's widow, who had a house in Multnomah. We fell in love with the historic buildings, shops, and restaurants in the village, in addition to one of the best bookstores in Portland: Annie Bloom's.

When we first got married, we had an apartment off of Beaverton Hillsdale Highway, where we lived for the first 3 years of our marriage. In 1993, we entered the real estate market by purchasing a 1910 bungalow in inner southeast Portland, on 31st Street between Division and Clinton. Nature's had just opened up its Division store, and it was a great time to move into that neighborhood. My parents (who live in Beaverton) were nervous about us living on the east side at first, but at the time we couldn't afford anything on the west side, and we loved old houses. I loved our first house--it had hardwoods, built-ins, box beam ceilings in the dining room, and a lovely front porch. But alas, very little yard and no driveway or garage. This was what drew us to the house in the beginning, since we are very lazy gardeners. But once our oldest son arrived and then became a toddler, we decided that we needed more of a yard.

So in 1999, we contacted our wonderful realtor (who had by now also become a good friend), Judith Rolfe. We will always be grateful to Judith, because even though we didn't have a lot of money when we bought our first house, she always treated us as if we were her only clients. We'd never work with anyone else!

We really wanted to stay on the east side, but by 1999, the real estate market in Portland was booming, and we couldn't afford what we wanted on the east side! We looked, but were having troubles finding the size and accessibility to downtown we were looking for. In the meantime, my parents were determined to get us closer to them. We were not interested in Beaverton--we really wanted to live in the city, plus the traffic in Beaverton is so much worse now than when I was growing up--but my dad knew we loved Multnomah. He found an older home for us--a 1938 Cape Cod--which had just had its price dropped again. Judith and Mike went to look at the house, and immediately called me at work to tell me about it. Judith wanted us to move near her in Irvington, but she agreed that this deal was too good to pass up.

Our house needed--and continues to need!--lots of work. We don't share the previous owners' color preferences. We've been very slow and relaxed about home improvements. It has a third of an acre lot, so we have a large backyard that has turned out to be great for 3 boys. We are STILL lazy gardeners, but every year we manage to have a weedy vegetable patch with a reasonable amount of produce.

The best part about our house is that it's 1/2 mile from our beloved Multnomah Village, which has improved since 1990. Annie Bloom's and Marco's (great coffee, food, and service) are still there...but now we also have new haunts to explore. These are my favorite parts of the village (in addition to Annie's [FREE GIFT WRAP!] and Marco's, of course):

  • Topanien (interesting, artsy, ethnic finds--FREE GIFT WRAP!)
  • Birdie's (fantastic card and gift selection)
  • Katelyn's Closet (my favorite local kids' and womens' consignment shop)
  • The Lucky Lab Brew Pub (love the pear cider!!)
  • The Multnomah Arts Center (Chris takes drumming there, both older boys have taken art classes, and I once took a great mosaic class)
  • Baby Oh Baby! (brand new pricey, but great, baby boutique)
  • Thai Herbs (our family's favorite Thai restaurant)
  • Acupulco's Gold (family-friendly Mexican)
  • Village Beads (great bead store)
  • Thinker Toys (one of the best toy stores in town--FREE GIFT WRAP!)
  • Fibers in Motion (where I will shop heavily someday when I become a quilter and sewer!)
As you can tell, I love to shop in the village for gifts because of the FREE GIFT WRAP!

Here is an interesting village blog you might enjoy.

The other thing I love about living near the village is that it's virtually guaranteed that we will run into someone we know every time we visit. I love the small town feel of it all.

Here are some more photos of the village:

Multnomah Village Photo Gallery

Portland Neighborhoods Guide

Moving to Portland

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