Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Check out That Property Line - 4904 NE 34th Ave.


This cute little house (MLS # 8021247) was bought and "restored" this past year and is now back on the market.

You could have bought it last March for $361k, and got a cute albeit dated house and garage on a nice large 7500 square ft lot.

Now you can buy the "restored" version, sans garage and most of it's lot, for only $329k, just marked down from $349k.

And there is something fishy going on with the lot lines. I'm not sure why they laid out the lots like they did, but it must have been to make each lot 2500 square feet. - see Portland Map Link

What the photos don't show are the two new houses that loom just a few feet from this poor house. Oh, and it's listed as Beaumont/Wilshire, but it's actually in Concordia, which changes school districts.

I'm sure this will come up again, but this house leaves me conflicted. I'm a fan of infill and urban density, walk-ability, etc. But somehow executions like this just leave me cold.

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11 comments:

skeptictank said...

I'm sure this will come up again, but this house leaves me conflicted. I'm a fan of infill and urban density, walk-ability, etc. But somehow executions like this just leave me cold.

This is the problem with a lot of "infill" - most of the original lots weren't set up to be divided. They originally put the house in the middle of the lot (why not, who was thinking dividing back then?) which makes dividing the lot tough if you want to preserve the original house. That's why we're ending up with all sorts of abominations that look like two single-wide trailers stacked up - narrow houses designed to fit into the spaces between existing houses.

I'm thinking that in some of the more walkable neighborhoods perhaps the driveways for these infill houses should be forgotten. It makes things easier when you don't have to design around the automobile. If I don't need a car who cares if I have a driveway or a garage? Getting rid of driveways for some infill houses would save a lot of land and open up other possibilities... but does the city require a driveway?

Kimberhaha said...

One of the two new houses (the second link in the post--the four square) is already pending. I think that it was on the market about a week, maybe less. It's a cute house, but with no yard, I'd pass.

Glenn said...

here's a good picture of the work in progress on google maps:
4904 NE 34th Ave.

And they way they did that lot division, with one of the lots wrapping an arm around the original house...that is just wrong.

Anonymous said...

I used to think false infill of this sort was bad, now I only think poorly executed latecomer infill is bad.

The difference? I picked up a book of historical Portland photography and the streets look overly wide and empty. The early Portland settlers who built houses (which are now being sold as the classic Victorians, Craftsman, et al.) came from the Northeast, rather than from Europe. By the 1920s when a good many of these neighborhoods were being slowly built up, streetcars were well-established and the horseless carriage was enjoying increasing popularity. Transportation was easier and there was less absolute need for the walkability a good many urban dwellers now crave. No, this is by no means a sprawled city, but we could accomodate more close-in than we realize.

I'll have to disagree with skeptictank about the skinny houses. I like them - but nothing is as pretty as classic architecture.

Now, by contrast, the piles of townhouses and apartments being randomly thrown up in east Portland are an abomination as well as wrecking the neighborhoods. Lack of planning sucks.

PDXOutsider said...

glenn, that photo must be 6 months old. that house pictured is done, sold, and occupied! the house i linked to was the second house to be built, and it's done too.

although i disagree with the execution, i gotta give these guys credit for speed.

PDXOutsider said...

"Lack of planning sucks."

exactly. i'm actually a big fan of modern architecture, although i prefer the quality materials of older homes.

but as mush as i know portland has a better plan than 99% of cities in the US, this stuff still makes me cringe.

there are some nice townhome projects, one in piedmont i really like. but the scale of these just doesn't fit. there is another one down the street that looks better, i'll get a photo one of these days.

PDXOutsider said...

"but does the city require a driveway?"

nope. the original house has one, one new one has a garage, but the second new house has no parking.

i don't know the rules, maybe someone out there does?

skeptictank said...

I'll have to disagree with skeptictank about the skinny houses. I like them

heh... to each his own, I guess.

Now, by contrast, the piles of townhouses and apartments being randomly thrown up in east Portland are an abomination

As are the ones in Beaverton, Tigard, Aloha, Hillsboro, Tualatin, Forest Grove etc - it's not just the East side where this is happening.

Yeah, believe it or not, even Hillsboro had a kind of nice downtown neighborhood (near the courthouse) at one time... to some extent it's still there and it's reasonably close to the MAX line & some pretty good restaurants (believe it or not - lots of good authentic Mexican food, for example).

No, this is by no means a sprawled city, but we could accomodate more close-in than we realize.

Perhaps, but "close in" to what? Look at the list of 'burb towns I have up there a couple of paragraphs back. The other day I5 was a parking lot, so I had to take the back way from Wilsonville to Beaverton when I was heading back up from a trip to Salem - that was a revelation. Throw Sherwood into that mix too (and even Newberg - I know people commuting in from Newberg). No, we've got plenty of sprawl. Drive out to Forest Grove sometime on TV Hiway, then head down to Newberg and drive back in on 99 down through Tualatin and Tigard.

I suppose some people need to be "close in" to Nike. Others need to be "close in" to Intel or various other tech companies out on the West Side. "close in" is relative. I guess my point is that it's kind of too late to try to have a small compact European city even here in PDX - even here the car has already had way too much influence (and in spite of the UGB). How this will work out with Peak Oil is hard to guess. I don't see Intel moving downtown anytime soon. Nike either. Yet those are two of the largest employers in Oregon.

Anonymous said...

No, we've got plenty of sprawl. Drive out to Forest Grove..

Go to Vegas, Houston, the Inland Empire, etc. some time. There's sprawl and then there's sprawl.

skeptictank said...

Go to Vegas, Houston, the Inland Empire, etc. some time. There's sprawl and then there's sprawl.

Sure, we're not on par with the likes of those places, but we still have plenty of our own sprawl even here with our UGB.

kevbo said...

looks like the urban growth boundaries in action