Serving Through Dignity Those Who Do Not Own a Safe Living Space

Serving with Dignity those do not own a safe living space.

 Sisters of the Road Café- Portland Oregon   sisters frontAt long last i  had the chance to fill a two hr work shift at Sisters last week. The shift was preceded by a 2hr Intro session the week before listening in with a diverse 6th grade class of  12 yr olds.  Lindsey the able volunteer coordinator shared  the rich history and vision that Sisters creates their unique community, nourishing and  serving their stakeholders, the volunteers and the staff.

Since 1979, Sisters has operated in the Old Town/Chinatown neighborhood. At that time,  the Cafe was anonymously christened when a circle containing three Xs – the hobo symbol for good food and hospitality – was chalked on the pavement outside the restaurant door. This symbol became Sisters’ logo.sisters xxx

Sisters’ customers, volunteers and staff have been creating community for more than three decades by building long term, stable and mutually supportive relationships. Creating a safe, hospitable space which offers delicious, nourishing food are our priorities in the Cafe. From the Sisters website. Go to

sisters food For many years I have been truly blessed to serve on a number of non-profit boards serving less fortunate  sisters and brothers around the world.  Working intimately on boards with lovely folks is truly a transformational experience by discovering our own God given natural talents and abilities.  Yet the 18 yrs working on organizational process left a silent yearning within me to  rub shoulders with the stakeholders I have served long distance.   For this spoiled privileged American Suburbanite there was some fear of facing myself in the mirror of the eyes of the not so invisible less fortunate  in our city.

sisters dinersMy life experience has never reached the true bottomless depths of not knowing where you are going to sleep, eat or have the hope of human touch and belonging.   So my first job I was assigned to at the Café was perfect.

Create Your Own Automatic Private Home Search

Opening Doorways into Oregon’s  Castles . CapeCods.  2nd Homes. Investment  Props

 Part two to follow


Community Gathering Places Dwelling in SE Portland

Community  Gathering Places Dwelling  In SE Portland

The Press Club  2621 SE Clinton Division

From a print shop,, auto mechanics and origins as a meat packing plant , the Press club perfectly embodies the all and everything  energy of  SE Portland’s Oregon’s culture. the press club gathering place in se portland oregon

Diffused light coming down from bank of interior ceiling windows above the wrap  around bar Illuminates a mix of family style and intimate tables.

A wall of encyclopedic of domestic and international magazines, announcement boards about the next local bands appearing,  movie nites  and local art is scattered around the industrial style space.

Social statements spice up the crepe and sandwich centered menu.  Cuisine named after famous authors  chosen to resonate with values we embrace for the day.  Jonathan Safran Foers entry immediately jumped out at me , as I have been slowly working through ‘Moonwalking with Einstein’ .  Jonathan is an American author best known for his novels Everything Is Illuminated (2002) and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005), I hadn’t realized Foer wrote Illuminated, one of my very favorite movies ?   Foers menu item matches appropriately matches his novel  ‘Eating Animals’.

I am sure to stop by and discover a revolving treasury of great authors and  cuisine. And join the  friendly  banter and intellectual free spirited connections making  this unique  local neighborhood a special gathering place.

Discover your neighbor who might just  be your next favorite writer , musician or artisan- Sherman Alexi, Tom Spanbauer,  John Fante. Community Gathering Places Dwelling in SE Portland

Lovely Vintage Homes and Condo’s with high walk/bike ratings in the Clinton and Abernathy Hosford neighborhood.

Great Gathering Places dwelling in SE Portland Ladds Addition

On a recent rainy day strolling around the idyllic gardens and streets of vintage homes of Ladds Addition, I wandered  I was magically  drawn into Palio Espresso and Desert House.  The large multi roomed establishment had the feel of a personal refuge of many generations where you could perfectly lose yourself inside your ipad,  a great book or quiet conversation on a wingback chairs, couches or spread out seated at a vintage table beside a large window.

Located on a spoke of the inner of the five circle patterned layout  many 2nd and 3rd generation families still frequent the muted quiet golden atmosphere .  

Once the original Safeway location in Portland and another incarnation as a Gallery this 2nd generation

Gathering place  offers a wide variety of hot and cold drinks , provincial deserts, warm soups and sandwiches.

Great Gathering Places Dwelling in SE Portland Ladds Addition

Discover Ladd’s Addition Arts and Crafts and Bungalo’s 

Hiking Lake Oswego Twelve Neighborhoods on Foot

 The Lake Oswego Loop (7 miles)  A circular route around and about Oswego Lake
Hiking Lake Oswego Twelve Neighborhoods on Foot

Having been a long distance walker for years I had to someday complete our local  (7) mile  Oswego Lake Loop.  I chose the only sunny Saturday in March 2011 starting near the top of Cook Butte.

Walking through 11 of the 22 LO Neighborhood Associations I began half way up  Palisades  through a really diverse swath of the Hallinan,  Old Town,  Lakewood, Foothills, Evergreen, 1st Addition,  Northshore, Summit,  Lake Grove, Bryant, and Blue Heron neighborhoods.

I walk on average 5.5 k an hour so the 11.6 k walk would take a mere 2 hours.  Walking is always the best way to get a feel of the land and its history. I was accompanied along the way by various landmarks

Traffic blitzing by as I traversed down the Hallinan / McVey hills to Oswego’s original water feature at the Lake Corp and the intersection of Sucker Creek. A large mill stood in 1860 where the intriguing dam with metal plate walls and an old wooden tubing stands and a surprisingly beautiful and gentle series of waterfalls. The commerce from that mill was turned into Clipper freight ships docked down below George Rogers.

Turning the northeast corner of the loop onto State Street and George Rodgers park and Old Town  people were streaming by walking,  biking into the downtown core at  Richard Sundleafs  1920′  Commercial masterpiece and the new Sundeleaf Plaza.  It is reminiscent of the ancient square in north Mexico Arts mecca San Miguel with its  manicured hedge rows  minus the mariachi bands.  I took a shortcut past the  fountains and plaza sculptures lakeside up the new impressive pathway winding up beside the massive stone wall  ( like of so many ancient pathways winding up to old European hilltop towns in France and Spain) up into Millenium Plaza.  The perfect spot to discover an old friend and sample Honores Boulangerie pastries with some hot chocolate.  My 5.5 pace was suddenly altered.

After a lovely croissant and conversation I headed through the Lake Oswego Evergreen district toward to check out any changes to my favorite Lake Oswego Buddhist sanctuary at the back corner of The Catholic Church and Evergreen.  Back up ‘A’ street imagining  smoldering fires creating coal on the north side of A st and huge steel carts  barreling downhill on  A st  full of iron ore headed to the riverside foundry.  I was tempted to pop into the Historical Society Building, but whisked  down into Forest Hills past the lovely Vintage Homes cutting across the flanks of Iron Mtn through the deep primal Doug Firs with Village on the Lake to my left on toward the Hunt Club.  A sign warning of deer kept my eyes peeled for brown four legged bodies standing still deep into the forest.  The winter forest permitted a view almost all the way to the top of the crest of Iron Mtn where the  narrow gage railroad used to run.

The best blackberry patches in LO reside on the right side or Iron Mtn just before you reach the Iconic Domed Hunt Club structure.  I swung through the Campbell Gardens park across the train tracks onto Lakeview. Below to the left is Springbrook creek corridor that opens up to a once upon a time Native American village at the edge of the Lake.

I was curious if any of the Lakeside masterpieces had pending signs.  Lake Grove swim Easement was empty of the summer throngs and at the corner of Lakeview and Southshore I Rounded the southwest corner of the loop and the final sprint up past the four canals, past Blue Heron easement and completing the 7 mile loop in 3.5 hours.

Where are Those Affordable Lake Oswego View Homes?


Living in Community Simplify Your Life in a One Level Home

Living in Community Simplify Your Life in a One Level Home

Are you searching for and curious about  ONE LEVEL HOMES/ Great Spaces – New,  Updated or Under Construction in The Portland Oregon Region


Rare custom single level by popular builder pick your colors and finishes. Vaulted,  hand scraped flooring   1 block to bus walk bike to New Seasons or  Lake Grove Village  1475 sqft    

Open great room design, gourmet kitchen master suite, outdoor living space flat level lot walk to river and West Linn shopping . 2750 sqft

One level custom masterpiece with Oswego lake views. Private lovely  neighborhood. Ready fall 2012  2330 sqft

Better than new. One of kind Forest Hills one level with great room styling and high end finishes. 2600 sqft

Explore these One Level Properties and be in the loop with new ONE LEVEL HOMES being planning in our Urban and Suburban Villages throughout the city.


Living in Community Simplify Your Life in a One Level Home

Homes and Townhouses in Idyllic in the Alberta Arts District

It might seem like a stretch to compare Alberta Arts today to living to NE Portland lifestyles during the Leave It it to Beaver 50′s. Yet Young parents and little children wearing bike helmets and ice cream smiles seems to cover the sidewalks on recent laid back sunny winter Alberta day . 

New Seasons on 33rd a couple of block up from Alberta could almost qualify as our 2nd residence. Carts with floating gardens of kale, carrots, apples headed to parking in front of the cute small bungaloe homes. 

The brilliant metal sculpture Alberta Arts sign a vision of a fluttering flock of black metal crows settling down on the east side of the street inviting future crowds to the series of last  last thursdays and the Alberta st fair on 8.11 in 12.

Too easy to be lured into Café Vita’s vegetarian and vegan fare by the affordable prices.  The Alberta Rose Theatre once known in many different incarnations as the Alameda Theater, Macedonia Church of God and Victory Outreach Church and the 1st black owned theatre in Portland.

My favorite local nonprofit MESO is housed in the Black United Fund building offering much needed Professional microcredit capacity building for a diverse array of small fledgling local entrepreneurs.

New Ultra modern townhouse units have recently flown off the market. Traditional and Contemporary Skinnies are found on many of the side streets.


The eclectic combination of colorful restored streetcar buildings, Scattered Quansit huts office buildings, new ultra modern mixed buildings seems to invite a frenzy of funk, color and poster totem Poles.

The Siam Society seems to have a bit of magic about the old power station building. Its doesn’t ever seem to open when I am in the neighborhood.

An adorable little boy sitting on his mom’s lap lapping Salt and Straw ice cream watching Bikes streaming on the cross streets of Alberta heading home to Community Recycling. I tasted Salt and Straws spectrum of other worldly flavors, brown ale bacon, pear blue cheese and olive oil my fave.

The La Petite Provence Boulangerie Alberta hot spot is soon to open a branch in Lake Grove.

A wide mix of home styles stretch south and north of Alberta from 15th to 33rd up to Fernwood Park And Concordia College. Expect Infill to pick up this year. Inventory for New and Restored homes in the area in neighborhood is low . Affordable fixers are even more difficult to find.

Harvesting Our Urban Generosity sharing the wealth of our homes and land

This last year my wife and I became avid juicers after watching a great movie called ‘Fat Sick and nearly Dead’.  I must admit this past fall I was very much aware of so many lovely fruit trees lying wasted in backyards of Real Estate  for sale I was showing and empty Commercial Building  lots . I was able to harvest months of free delicious unused apples from a 39 acre retreat listing I have in Willamina.

I  recently discovered  in the Richmond neighborhood newsletter, a wonderful  story about  the Portland Fruit Tree project , a grass-roots non-profit organization harvesting  and teaching care of Urban fruits trees providing fresh fruit to folks who don’t always have full access to fresh alive  foods.

PFTP organizes neighborhood volunteer efforts to harvest found in The Sabin Community Orchards, neighbors with unused fruit growing in their trees in Abernathy- Hosford Abernathy, Richmond,  Buckman, Sunnyside,

Laurelhurst , Tabor  and growing network of urban neighborhoods.

Portland Urban Harvest

PTFC’s harvest and food distribution partners include the Oregon Food Bank, Sisters of the Road Café and dozen location nonprofits and churches.

There are many ways to Volunteer -  attend a harvest event, encourage  registering trees for harvest or donate.  503-284-6106


Great Possibilities for the Human Experiment

Once upon a time,  I shared a great fondness with millions of North Americans toward an ideal village community in a remote region of Alaska made up of quirky loveable  independent souls.  This town Of Cicely is exposed to the glorious Riviera of Alaska and is a very  long days drive from my home. 

During the depths of the dog days of summer a friend and I were feeling a profound sense of disconnect and loss in our community.  We hoped to fill that emptiness by visiting and reaching out to Cicely and her  friends .

Late afternoon, we rolled  onto  the  downtown business district.  One street, one hypnotic blinking red light , a  bar in a corner of a BRICK building that looks like an old bank, a raggedy  ann grocery store,  a radio station with a big bear sculpture outside, an old fashion storefront  doctors office and a collection of 40’s storefronts accessed by a rickety wooden boardwalk.

Finding a parking place in between rows of antique auto’s and hells angels bikes we headed directly to the Brick where our old friends from Northern Exposure would hang out. Looking good so far, expecting to sit at the bar and order a humongous Hollings hamburger.   Instead we walked into a pizza palace.  Not the Brick or anything like it.  Shock set in immediately exposing  our quirky community as a rude myth. We stumbled  out of there and headed down the street  ending up in front of the K- Bear radio station. Sure enough behind the reflections of the plate glass window was Chris’s empty dj chair where he offered his star struck discourses . Maurices Astronaut suit  looming standing up behind him .  We wandered down opposite end of the street past the  grocery store which is still an active store just  without Ruth Ann and Ed.  The legend finally shattered across the street at an eerily vacant Dr. Fleishmans office  with its still peeling wallpaper and no patients.   By then we were totally bummed out  from our long trip and our foolhardiness. Expecting to grasp something we so loved in Cicely/ Roselyn, Wa.

Looming in front of us was a two story camel mural. Not a moose.   It is the side the Roselyn café which we entered to soothe our grief and fatigue. We sat at  a bright red checkered clothed table. We were  promptly served by a vivacious petite waitress with a matching red checkered apron.   Johanna smiled  at us and immediately asked what happened?  We shared our grief and basically said Cicely and Northern Exposure was a total myth.   Wait a second as she scurried out to the back of the restaurant.

A minute later she came back to our table and silently handed us a stack of black and white photographs.  Open mouthed we saw the beautiful face of Ed Chigliack in different poses, a troop of belly dancer and the faces of a myriad of portraits of people smiling quirky looking people .  Johanna  see this town took myself and my son in when I had nowhere to go in Minnesota.  They gave me a job and place in the community.  I joined the belly dancing community of which Roselyn is the center to the belly dancing world on the West Coast.  Darren/Ed is my boyfriend and he has supported me and encouraged me to pursue my photography.

Johanna’s  energy certainly quickly turned us around and rekindled our faith and hope in the sacred gifts that true living communities offer.  We spent the rest of the day walking the neighborhood chatting with all the friendly residents learning many of the stories in the TV series were adapted from the community.

We breathed in a feeling of great relief and gratitude on that autumn day there are great possibilities for this human experiment we are intricately a part of.

From the Pilot to the last episode at Tranquility Base – Thanks to Joshua Brand and John Farley and Our friends-  Adam Arkin , Darren Burrows (ed), John Corbett, Barry Corbin, John Cullum,Anthony Edwards, Cynthia Geary, Grant Goodeve, Graham Greene, Elaine Miles, Rob Morrow, Peg Phillips, Teri Polo, Janine Turner






Oregon Circles for Japan and Christchurch

I  had the opportunity to be immersed in two remarkable community circles the past two weeks.  A local group dedication by my spiritual association to the survivors in the Christchurch and Japan  and a Oregon Community Mercy Corp benefit for Japan.

 Within the safety of these two amazing circles, I  was acutely aware how  our culture often de-sensitizes us  by the brutality of our politics, the exhausting pace , responsibilities and impossible goals that our northern hemisphere culture sets for us.

 In times of  great personal tragedy  all of this is transcended by a sublime opportunity to  open our feelings, reclaim our  connections to our fellow human beings , as one human family .  A stage we don’t often perform on.  But where we have the chance to allow  our highest personal selves , the  very best in us to emerge and demonstrate what the human race is really capable of.

 It is clear and almost palatable from discussions with loved ones living through the destruction and loss in Christchurch and those representing the Japanese community in Portland a profound and overwhelming  gratitude  knowing they are loved,  cared for and  nurtured by the power of the human spirit. 

 $250,000 was raised during the past two weeks to continue the heroic work of Mercy Corp and their partner organization in Japan Peace Winds . Please go to and contribute.

Spicy Visioning for 16,000

After a wonderful intra-red sauna treatment Anisha Clinic on Hawthorne ,  I ventured over to an evening event at a Portland City Visioning outreach site at a school in N. Portland.  The City of Portland Vision projects objective is to create a 25 year plan. An enormous 6yr role out inviting  tens of thousands of  citizens, profits and nonprofits for input on nine areas concerning what they want for their city. The input is completed and the dilemma facing the facilitators of this marathon effort is how to bring it all together.

One essential question and modern dilemma facing  many organizations  and particularly for this city is,  how are you going to create partnership with absolutely huge swell of young people flooding  into this city? The ones who will truly going to inherit and be the lightning rods for this 25 year plan?

The cities interesting answers to this question are baby steps = the city and mayors office are inviting the youth to organize the community events.  Last nites was a marde gras style with a salsa band  and healthy food .  High school students translate the initiatives into the 40 or so languages being used in the schools systems here. And potentially they are considering adding young members to a citizens advisory commission to the planning commission that has an indirect voice to the city counselors.

After three years of these community events + partnership with a wide swath of  profit and non profit entities ,  the city has focused on four key areas;  Equity( equality of opportunity) Healthy Communities, Education and Employment and Job Opportunities.  These absolutely brilliant spotlight focus areas that hold intriguing relationships and an interesting blend  weaving an organic chemistry of common values between them  offering opportunity  reaching out to the millennial generation  in the Portland.

Most interestingly there is hope if this City who invites openness , transparency and unity can be successful engaging  the future making a huge space to incorporate the core values of this millennial generation that revolve around family, diversity and making a difference in this world.