Portlands Urban & Suburban Villages- healthy personal and community spaces to invite the Sacred into

 Many of us have become fans of vintage homes. Their classic craftsman features  a symbol of home , hearth and belonging.  Artistic rhythm across gabled, steeply pitched roofs and rough textures of brick, stucco and clapboard. Dressed in decorative fascia and winged porches. Hiding secrets in their  alcoves, intimate nooks and crannies. Often the spaces within our classic homes offer limited openness and good light. 

My current mid-century home offers  warm interior lodge style spaces with thick massive cedar beams supporting vaulted wooden ceilings. Illuminated by floor to ceiling windows.  The 50’s moved us a giant step forward toward offering more functional livable interior spaces.   

Today’s newer architectural home styles often fuse a mix of  popular vintage exterior elements with contemporary multifunctional interior living spaces. Combining kitchens, eating areas, dining,  living  family rooms into open great room spaces. Our architects and builders have brilliantly extended these great rooms out into outdoor covered living spaces with dining and lounging areas warmed by gas fireplaces and outdoor heaters, soothed by water features, and the full compliment of technological comforts. Interior living spaces further extended into the life and beauty of the vista’s surrounding our dwellings.   

Each year my spiritual family meets in a sacred retreat in the Columbia River Gorge called Menucha -“ever-changing, renewing stillness .   The historic main lodge constructed in the  20’s embodies a superb example of a functional great/great room concept reminiscent of  Mt Hoods Timberline or  Ahwahnee at Yosemite.

Menucha captures an ambiance felt only in special dwellings. Upon entering the great hall one is embraced by a truly sacred feeling in the massive community space. Ballroom sized it offers a feeling of great intimacy and function with carved creatures staring from far overhead. A Massive wooden balcony balustrades frames a hall dominated by a grey cathedral sized walk in stone fireplace.  The 100’ veranda has been enclosed uniting the warm soothing interior spaces with the beauty of greenery, ancient trees and the inspiring vistas of the Columbia Gorge.     

 Classic or Modern, the dwellings we inhabit are like our personal roots , spaces filled with our adopted traditions and values that shape and flavor our lives.

Live Smaller and Slower with a Heathier Vision

Live Smaller and Slower with a  Healthier Vision

Urban Suburban Villages -Adu’s-Accessory Dwelling Units Portland Oregon

 Last Saturday I witnessed an amazing forum,  the Portland Urban Symposium  focusing on  ADU’s.  It was hosted by a local progressive construction company Hammer & Hand whose president  advertises his certifications as a saxophonist and general expert.  Actually the panel was  a  mix of true local experts  representing  the City of Portland Green Office, a long time City Building Inspector, Local Builders,  Architects, Realtors and cutting edge activists  representing latest community efforts in Portland to promote the benefits & values offered  by Accessory Dwellings.  

 The ADU name changed in 2007 from Accessory Rentals to Dwellings and many of the Common Benefits and Values far transcend  value derived  from income.

  • They work toward increasing density
  • Reducing our carbon footprint & emissions in major ways sustaining and anchoring our neighborhoods by  living longer in place
  • Offering Slower more present  richer lifestyles
  • Creating stronger more connected diverse extended family units,  aging in place
  • Affordability for new generations and the elderly
  • Planning for the longer term now – adding ADU’s to rent out now and meet future needs for more space
  • More capacity for independent living for the Elderly close proximity of family
  • Returning Adult Children
  • Adu’s actually pencil out
  • Greater Resale and Value
  • Supplemental  Income,  Age in place and Single Parents needing extra income

  Accessory Dwelling Units You can Create on your Single family lot

 Side or Backyard dwellings out of old garages

Developing Interior Dwelling spaces like basements, attics,  primary building spaces

Create New Dwellings

 Dwellings  for  Inlaws,  Elderly family members,  growing families, returning adult family members, downsizing in adu  offering primary residence as income, rental apartments, coops, livin work spaces.

 Fun Examples:

 Small dwellings like the Tiny Tumbleweed Cottages with 64 – 840 sqft , handcrafted construction using high quality reusable sustainable materials and passive energy.

  Separate dwelling unit 16×24 and two floors  768 total 384 sqft on each floor with a Kitchen, dining, great room and half bath on the main floor and  two  bedrooms with  a bath and laundry upstairs. Using creative features like black trusses,  19.2’ windows and doors, energy efficient using passive energy  super insulation with potential roof garden spaces to replace lost back yard garden open space

 Alley garden walkways opening to a 200′sqft mother in law dwelling offering a private living space that shares common eating area in main house

 Straw bale Dwelling with three people living in 700′ Co-housing.

 Some basic ADU Guidelines

 Exterior finish materials, roof pitch, trim, eaves, window orientation and dimension must be   same or         visually match the house

Must be built within an existing residential property

The Primary unit must be at least 1,400 sq ft finished living space

Inhabitants -one or more persons related by blood, marriage,  not more than 5 addition persons.

 Maximum size  no more than 75% of living areas or capped at 800 sq ft  whichever is less.

 Not exceeding 15% of the total site sq ft.

 Maximum height 18′

 Separate electrical circuits, heating, water service,

 Portlands Unique Collaboration of City ,Local Community Resources & Alliances & For Profit Corps

 Local Neighborhood alliances of builders, architects, realtors and homeowners working together to inform and guide the cities vision, plan and Development guidelines. A City bureau planning Green Building program has a  Green hotline with  a culture of supporting diversity, inclusivity and support of the local city communities..

 City promotes ADU’s by suspending SCS development  charges for ADU’s

 City of Portland  huge  re-envisioning – a new 40 year plan incorporating 17,000 citizens,  innumerable  non profits and citizens groups.

 Portlands audacious  2009 Carbon Footprint reducing emissions 80% from 1990′s by 2050. So far at 19%.

 Supporting Green Building, Sustainability, Diversity  – Oregon Trades Women & Portland Youth Alliance

 Portfolio lenders are starting to acquire a vision of the practical financial benefits Umpqua, Unitas, Credit Unions and Washington Federal. 

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