In November of last year, we brought to you the concept of re-purposing end of life shipping containers and converting them into residential housing. In this blog post we are following this up by taking a more detailed look at the advantages and disadvantages of using shipping containers to build residential homes.
Why Should I Consider Building My House Out Of Shipping Containers?
The idea of building your own home out of shipping containers might seem downright bizarre to some people. But places like container home plans know that shipping containers can be used to build some truly incredible homes. Here are just some of the reasons why shipping containers can be the perfect building material.
With the cost of homes in America rising again throughout 2014, it’s no surprise that people are seeking cheaper materials and methods to build a house suitable for their family. Perhaps one of the most famous examples of this is ‘Containers of Hope’; designed by Benjamin Garcia Saxe. The home was built for $40,000 USD for the Peralta family who live in San Jose, Costa Rica. We have also seen examples of affordable shipping containers homes in England, Australia and the U.S. Building a home out of shipping containers allows for many a style and standard of living which would be unattainable if the house was built using traditional building materials.
It’s no secret that more and more people are now starting to look for more environmentally friendly methods of home construction and this is where shipping containers can be so beneficial. Each time we upcycle one of these containers we are saving around 3,500kg of otherwise unused steel. In addition, we are also reducing the amount of traditional building material that is needed to construct our home, such as bricks and cement.
Another key benefit of building with shipping container homes is the ability to construct buildings extremely quickly. Todd Miller, who built the Graceville Container Home, was able to build each 2,000 square foot floor of his home in under a day…including having the containers delivered.
The great news for any budding shipping container homeowner is that currently the availability of these shipping containers is vast. What happens is manufacturers send their products across to the States and it’s too expensive to send the shipping containers back to their origin so they are simply left behind. This doesn’t just happen in the States, but also in Australia and Europe. This means you can get your hands on used shipping containers easily and for a good price.
It’s Not All Silver Linings
Although shipping containers do offer various great benefits when being re-purposed, we also need to consider that building with containers isn’t all sunshine and cookies. Some practical considerations need to be taken into account before you start building your own home out of shipping containers.
The two most common sizes of shipping containers are 20 foot or 40 foot in length (both containers are 8 foot wide and 8 foot 6 inches tall). This means that the dimensions of your home are typically dictated by the size of the shipping container you select. You do have the choice of cutting individual containers or extending them; however making major alterations to these containers reduces the speed and cost advantages of using them, so we’d advise to try and not make large alterations to them where possible.
Changing Your (and Their) Mindset
It’s a given that building with shipping containers can be challenging and chances are it’s the first time you’re doing this. In our experience you need to find a contractor who is willing to take this jump with you and one who is willing to build using new ideas and materials. Having a resistive contractor who isn’t keen on building with shipping containers is a surefire way for your project to fail.
Making it Habitable
The wooden floors that line the majority of these containers are normally treated with hazardous chemical pesticides to help keep the pests away. This is great when they are being used to move freight across the world, however it isn’t ideal when humans want to live in them. This can easily be fixed by removing the floor and replacing it with new un-treated flooring. Or if you’re purchasing your containers new you can request that the floor isn’t treated with such pesticides.
If you want to read more about this issue, Brian Pagnotta from Arch Daily, covered this is more detail here.
We’d like to think we’ve done more than enough to convince you that shipping containers are great resources to build homes from. If you are prepared to think outside the box and are looking for a great challenge which can be rewarding both environmentally and financially, perhaps shipping container homes could be the next move for you.
Posted on February 18, 2015 at 7:36 pm
On the Washington side of the gorge, much of the land between Coyote Wall and Major Creek is part of the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area. As trails are developed, most hiking above State Route 14 follows boot and bike tire tracks. You can hike for a week across this three-mile-wide landscape that is dotted with ponderosa pines, crowned with Oregon white oak and sprinkled with grassy wildflower meadows.
Begin at Catherine Creek, between Bingen and Lyle. Drive S.R. 14 to Old Highway 8 at milepost 70.9 (as measured from the Interstate Bridge in Vancouver). Turn left, then drive north and east around Rowland Lake for 1.4 miles to the Catherine Creek trailhead. Also check out Coyote Wall/Syncline on the west edge of the public land in the Catherine Creek area.
Catherine Creek also has an ADA-accessible lower path. Look at the scenic area's website for trail details.
The Dalles Mountain
This sprawling, mostly treeless hillside, part of Washington's Columbia Hills State Park, bursts into bloom during spring wildflower season. Drive S.R. 14 east of Vancouver to milepost 84.4, just past The Dalles Bridge. Turn left and drive 3.4 miles north and east to an old ranch house. Wander at will on the park's 3,338 acres, or drive/hike the gravel road 1.3 miles above the ranch house to a locked gate. Hike 1.7 miles on the road (closed to vehicles) through Columbia Hills Preserve to 3,220-foot Stacker Butte.
The scenery: Beacon Rock State Park, 4,650 acres, is named after the famous riverside monolith noted as the head of tidewater by the Lewis and Clark expedition. At 2,438-feet high, the park's Hamilton Mountain is one of the dominant peaks in the central gorge, with a view of Bonneville Dam. Washington has fewer waterfalls than the Oregon side, but this trail passes the spectacular Pool of the Winds.
The drive: Take State Route 14 east of Vancouver to milepost 34.9. Turn left into the park and drive 0.3 mile north to the trailhead. Parked vehicles must display a Washington Discovery Pass.
The trail: The trail to the summit is well marked, but to make a loop you will need to hike north from the summit for 0.9 mile to an old road. Follow the road left and down for a mile to join a marked trail. Take this trail 1.1 mile to rejoin the main trail near Rodney Falls.
The work: 7.5-mile loop; 2,000 foot gain.
The scenery: Although the upper mountain is known for spectacular wildflower blooms in mid to late May, the trail is a good hike anytime because of the commanding view it offers in the central part of the gorge. The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic area charges a $5 day use fee per vehicloe (payable on site in a drop box, or buy your annual Northwest Forest Pass in advance or a day pass online).
The drive: Take State Route 14 east of Vancouver to the large parking area on the north side of the highway at milepost 53.6.
The trail: There's no way to sugarcoat this muscle burner, especially for out-of-shape spring hikers. At two junctions on the way up, stay right first, then left to follow the main trail to the 2,920-foot summit. A loop is possible on the way down, with a right turn 0.1 mile from the summit, then a left after 1.1 miles to return via the Auspurger Trail to the highway. This is about as far west as poison oak and rattlesnakes inhabit the gorge, so beware ( but there is no guarantee you won't encounter them elsewhere).
The work: Seven-mile loop; 2,800-foot gain.
The scenery: For more than a decade the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area has been acquiring land in the Catherine Creek area, an open landscape of grassy slopes punctuated by oak forests. Naturally, hikers and bikers have been creating informal trails. Among them is one through the Labyrinth, an area of rugged basalt formations transected by a boot-created path.
The drive: Take State Route 14 east of Vancouver to Old Highway 8 at milepost 70.9. Turn left, then drive north and east around Rowland Lake for 1.4 miles to Catherine Creek trailhead.
The trail: Walk the paved road back to State Route 14, then go west on the abandoned road above the highway. Pass a small waterfall after a couple hundred yards, then watch for an obvious boot track leading up the slope. Follow the path 2,000 feet up to the tree line, passing through the Labyrinth formations. Just below the trees, follow an old road east, eventually meeting another road that leads south and down to where you parked.
The work: Seven-mile loop; 2,000-foot gain.
The scenery: The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area has created a short trail through an old homestead overlooking the Columbia and Klickitat rivers just west of Lyle, Wash. The trail is ideal for a short hike, or for those with mobility issues. Another similar paved trail is at Catherine Creek (see driving directions for the Labyrinth).
The drive: Take State Route 14 east of Vancouver to the turn for Appleton at milepost 75.9. Turn left and go north 0.2 mile to the trailhead.
The trail: From the parking lot, take either the high or low paved paths. They eventually join and loop to an oak-shaded picnic spot over the Klickitat River. (For a longer walking option, check out the Klickitat River Trail on the opposite bank of the river; you'll need to cross the State Route 14 bridge. It runs 30 miles north and east, though is again having contentious right-of-way issues following a recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings on rail-trails. State parks says the trail is open for public use.)
The work: One-mile loop; 100-foot gain.
Lyle Cherry Orchard
This hillside is gorgeous in spring. It's just east of Lyle, Wash., and, is part of the Friends of the Columbia Gorge land trust. To reach the parking area, head east from Lyle on S.R. 14 for one mile and park at a wide spot on the north side of the highway, just beyond the second of two tunnels. Watch for poison oak along the lower part of the trail. What's left of the pioneer cherry orchard is at the east end of the upper trail, a popular lunch spot with a distant view of The Dalles.
Tom McCall Point
The trail goes south from Oregon's Rowena Crest viewpoint on Nature Conservancy Land to the lower tree line, where famous views await. Drive east of Mosier seven miles on the Historic Columbia River Highway to the trailhead. Hikers who know the area find additional bliss nearby on Rowena Plateau, Sevenmile Hill and Memaloose Hills.
This Oregon state park has a network of trails upriver from the campground, just off Intersate 84 on the east side of the river in Sherman County. Head east past The Dalles on I-84, take the Celilo exit (No. 97), then go east three miles on the frontage road to the park entry.
Whether you're spending it with your best friend, husband/wife, family, Netflix, or with your cat/dog, there's plenty to do around Portland if you're looking to make it special.
Here's our ever-growing list of dinners, places to get desserts and ways to treat yo self and/or your loved one(s) this year:
Chef/owner Adam Higgs will be serving a five-course, prix-fixe, candle-lit dinner on Feb 14. The menu includes foie gras and gingercake terrine (for two), New York strip with Oregon black truffle butter and Acadia's banana split for two. Dinner is $80/person.
Couldn't get Valentine's reservations? Acadia will kick off the Carnival season a few early with Carnival Mystique on Feb. 15. Guests will enjoy a traditional Cajun menu, "intoxicating black magic elixirs" from Bar Acadia and a strolling illusionist for tableside tricks. Dinner is $45/person.
Owners Doris Rodriguez de Platt and John Platt have chosen some of their favorite dishes for a three-course, prix-fixe dinner for Valentine's Day. Guests can choose from a variety of piqueos (Peruvian tapas), platos de fondo (traditional and Novoandean entrees) and postres (desserts), including the Suspiro de Amor (the "sigh of love"), a cherry Manjar Blanco with champagne-infused meringue, served with a chocolate cayenne ganache-filled macaron. Dinner is $75/person. Wine, cocktail and oysters are available a la carte.
Aviary will be serving a four-course dinner on Feb. 14, with options including leek soup with crispy shallots and American caviar, Bigeye tuna tartare and miso-braised beef short rib. Dinner is $65/person, with an optional $35/person wine pairing.
Executive Chef, Kyo Koo, brings his knowledge from around the globe for a Valentine's Day prix-fixe menu from $75/person. Courses include canapés for the table, Weathervane scallop crudo, hand-cut egg noodles with curried pork belly ragu and smoked duck breast.
Bollywood Theater will be offering a special Dungeness crab dish and blood orange cocktail at each location. The dish includes half of a cracked crab with butter, garlic, chilis and tamarind, served alongside mixed vegetable uttapam (Southern Indian flat bread) with coconut chutney and sambar.
The Café is inviting diners to choose between a customizable $30 or $40 menu for Valentine's Day based on personal diets. Dishes include charred beets with tahini, a vegetarian stuffed pasta, lamb meatball with braised cabbage, whole grilled trout and more. A la carte ordering is available, as well.
Warm up with a flight of Chapter 24 Vineyards 2012 Pinot Noir before a salsa lesson lead by Salsa Con Coco. Reservations are at 2 p.m. for wine and dancing, $25/person.
Or, sip on a tasting flight before salsa lessons followed by a three-course, Spanish-inspired dinner from Portland's Crown Paella. Reservations are at 4 p.m. The lesson, dinner, pairing and gratuity is $100/person. Seating is limited. Call or email for more details and reservations.
Cocotte chef/owner Kat LeSueur will serve a five-course, candlelit dinner on Feb. 14. Courses include scallop tartare, steamed mussels with fennel and duck breast. Dinner is $70/person, gratuity not included. Additional wine pairings are available for $35/person. Some dishes will also be available on Feb. 15, in addition to the regular dinner menu. Reservations can be made by calling 503.227.2669.
The Country Cat will be offering dinner specials, including oysters on the half shell with apple brandy mignonette, grilled rib eye "steak and fries" with Oregon white truffles and chocolate silk pie, for Valentine's Day. Reservations are available for parties of all sizes.
Cyril's will be hosting a "for or against Valentine's Day dinner" on Feb. 14. They will serve a three-course menu, with dishes including cauliflower steak, mixed chicories and "the heartbreakers package for two," which includes a chocolate heart and mallet. Dinner is $30/person, gratuity not included, with an optional wine pairing for $15/person. Reservations strongly encouraged.
On Feb. 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m., din din will be hosting its sixth annual sexy Valentine's eight-course dinner. This year, the menu and staff will be both naughty and nice, and includes an octopus, saffron & leek terrine, chestnut madeira soup with crab fennel salad and rack of venison with sauce Chartreuse, late Treviso custard & persillade potatoes. Dinner is $100/person, plus gratuity. Price includes wine pairings. Reservations can be made by calling or emailing.
If Valentine's Day isn't really your thing, Glyph, a café and art space in the Northwest Park blocks, will be hosting a gothic Anti-Valentine's event. A theremin and guitar duo will perform a back-and-forth improvisational dialog with a reading of Edward Gorey's work. During the performance, the audience will enjoy a three colors-themed dinner, in black, red and white, inspired by Edward Gorey drawings. The event begins at 6:30 on Feb. 14. Dinner is $65/person with an optional $25 wine pairing. Reservations can be made online.
Imperial will be offering a menu of specialties from their wood fired grill on Valentine's Day. Options include a spit-roasted porchetta for two with winter vegetables cooked in "drippings" and citrus salad and seared scallops with blood orange jam and marinated foie gras. The evening's menu will be à la carte.
Chef Erik Van Kley has created two prix-fixe menus for Valentine's Day dinner at Little Bird. The $55 three-course menu offers a choice of appetizer, entree, and dessert. The $95 five-course chef's menu is a set menu beginning with foie gras torchon, gnocchi Parisienne, cassoulet, aged gouda with pretzel fondue and whiskey caramel, and cinnamon muscovado bread pudding with Calvados cream.
North Light on Mississippi Avenue will be preparing a special Valentine's Day menu for two. Dishes include a 16 oz prime rib for two, creamed Brussels sprouts and cauliflower gratin. The regular dinner menu will be available, as well.
Enjoy a prix-fixe menu at both Olympic Provisions restaurants for $55/person and $30 /person for sommelier wine tasting. At the Southeast location, courses include oysters on the half shell with Champagne mignonette, house charcuterie board and seared black cod with smoked salmon chowder. The Northwest location will offer specials – including braised pork belly with seared boat scallops and Wagyu top sirloin with pomme frites — along with the regular menu.
Southeast Portland's Oso Market + Bar will be hosting a five-course "sweetheart" dinner with Ransom Winery and Spirits on Valentine's Day. Vegetarian options are available. Dishes include crab salad crostini, oysters on the half shell and Painted Hills beef tenderloin. Dinner with pairings is $89/person, gratuity included. Tickets and more information can be found online.
Raven & Rose has created a special Saint Valentine's dinner menu including oysters, duck three ways, hamachi two ways, and a dessert from pastry chef Jessica Howard. Dinner is $80/person, wine pairings and special cocktails are available. Vegetarian options with advanced request are available, as well. Reservations required.
Guests can also find a prix-fixe dinner menu in the Rookery.
Choose from Josh Wiesenfeld's top picks for Valentine's Day, including a 2008 Agusti Torelló Mata Cava from Spain and a 2011 Domaine des Chers St. Amour from Beaujolais, France. Remedy Wine Bar will also offer a three-course meal, including Dungeness crab salad and braised Tails and Trotters pork shoulder.
RingSide Fish House will offer a special menu highlighting some of their best menu items on Valentine's Day. Dishes include Hama Hama oysters with Steelhead caviar and cucumber mignonette and lobster Thermidor for two.
RingSide Steakhouse will be serving a special Valentine's Day menu, including a charcuterie board, an all-Northwest surf & turf with Pacific Rogue Wagyu beef and razor clams and tiramisu for two. Reservations can be made online or by calling.
Southeast Wine Collective, founded and owned by husband-and-wife duo Kate and Tom Monroe, will be celebrating Valentine's Day with a special "Love is Love" wine pack and fundraiser for the Animal Rescue & Care Fund (ARCF). For the wine pack, customers can select two bottles for $50 from 2013, including Cremant de Portland, Division Winemaking's Pinot Noir "UN" and Tripod Project's "Deep Probe" Riesling.
Also on Feb. 14 from 5 – 8 p.m., SEWC will be hosting Whiskers, Wags and Wine in support of the ARCF. Local wines, small bites and chocolates will be served while showing your love for animals in need. Admission is free and proceeds from the sale of wines donated by local Oregon producers, raffle tickets and chocolate truffles will benefit ARCF.
Northwest Portland's Trader Vic's will be offering two dinner options (for two) on Valentine's Day. The Tonga menu includes a full, herb-crusted crown of lamb with lemongrass and chive mashed potatoes and chocolate creme brulee for $90 and the Luau menu includes a green goddess wedge salad and filet mignon and Togarashi flash-fried lobster tail for $80. Call or visit their website for reservations.
Celebrate Valentine's Day at a chocolate factory with the LETumEAT team. They'll be serving a five-course menu centered around different single origin chocolates with pairings from Soter Vineyards, Brooks Wines, Ransom Spirits and more. Courses include cocoa bean-cured fish, chocolate-fed pork (pigs' feed included cocoa husks) and chocolate polenta agnolotti. Dinner is $115/person, all-inclusive. Tickets for the dinner can be purchased online.
This Valentine's Day, Morgan St. Theater will be curating "An Evening in Spain" ice cream menu paired with Spanish sherries and wine with a live flamenco performance from Seattle's Cuerdas y Clavus. The menu includes fresh sheep's milk cheese ice cream with boozy fig jus and cajeta drizzle and harissa ice cream with carrot dust and lemon zest. Doors open at 8 p.m. Dessert will be served from 8:30 – 10 p.m. behind Old Salt Marketplace at 5027 N.E. 42nd Ave. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased online.
Visit Nuvrei's Mac Bar to pick up a special eight-piece Valentine's Day box of Parisian macarons ($25). The box includes white chocolate, milk chocolate, grand cru, salted caramel, raspberry, lychee rose, champagne & strawberry and orange blossom macarons. They will also be selling their line of packaged flourless cookie mixes in double chocolate brownie or chewy chocolate walnut ($12/each).
Saint Cupcake will be offering a "Love Box" for your Valentine's Day celebrations: six full size ($21) or 12 mini "dot" cupcakes ($18) in an assortment of flavors, adorned with confection hearts and sprinkles. Flavors include red velvet, vanilla with cream cheese, Big Top, Salty Captain, coconut and chocolate with hot fudge. Head baker Brandi Schimmel-Bristow can spell out whatever your heart desires on full-sized cupcakes.
They will also be offering cherry ice cream cups ($3), triple chocolate cherry ice cream sandwiches ($5), ice cream cupcakes and mixed berry pies with heart cut-outs. Personal size 4-inch pies are $5, 9-inch pies are $26.
Salt & Straw collaborated with artisanal chocolatiers Cocanu Chocolate, Xocolatl de David, Missionary Chocolates, Alma Chocolate and Woodblock Chocolate for their Valentine's Day series. The flavors show off each artisanal Chocolatiers unique chocolate-making styles, techniques and ingredients through scoops of ice cream. Valentine's flavors are available at Portland area scoop shops from Jan. 30 – Feb. 26 and gift packs will be available for nationwide shipping from the website. Flavors include Xocolatl de David's brown butter chocolate, Alma's Thai peanut butter cup, Missionary's ginger & tamarind chocolate sorbet, Cocanu's coffee & craque and Woodblock's hand-roasted chocolate & toasted sesame.
Farm To Fit will be offering their 4th Annual Valentine's Day Dinner Delivered to Your Door, forgoing portion control and calorie counting to prepare a romantic four-course dinner for two. Courses include Dungeness crab strudel, Painted Hills beef filet mignon and chocolate salted caramel tartlet. Dinner is $90, plus delivery, and can be ordered online or by calling 503-688-9248. The "Dinner for Two" can also be picked up at the N.E. Sandy Blvd location at no charge.
Fogo de Chão
Guests who dine in from Feb. 13 – 15 will receive a Valentine's Card, good for a complimentary lunch or dinner for their next visit.
Sentinel is inviting couples to join QUIN Candy founder Jami Curl at Jackknife on Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. for a side-by-side candy tasting with QUIN candies and their old-school counterparts. The tasting is $100/couple and includes candy and bubbly for two and a $20 gift card to the QUIN Candy shop. Reservations can be made online.
On Valentine's evening, Jackknife will also be celebrating with a "Love to Hate You" dance party with DJ Lamar with free photo booth photos from 8 p.m. – 2 a.m.
On Valentine's Day, Lynn and Ron Penner-Ash invite you to "wine your valentine" with a visit to their tasting room in the Willamette Valley. Enjoy complimentary confections from Saint Cupcake while sitting fireside with a flight of five Penner-Ash wines ($15 per person). Reservations can also be made for a more intimate tasting for two on the fermentation deck inside the winery ($50 per person).
AND… If you are feeling especially craftry and would rather create your own bouqet than opt for a store-bought arrangement watch the video below. Its is a step-by-step guide to making your own personalized bouquest, demonstrated by a volunteer for The Bloom Project. The Oregon nonprofit uses unsold flowers from local grocery stores to create new arrangements for hospice patients. Read more about the project here.
A good neighbor might be characterized as someone who’ll look after your home when you’re out of town by picking up your mail and watering your plants. You’d most likely reciprocate for anyone who’d be so generous toward you.
In some cases, you might only be able to name one or two of your neighbors who would step up to that level of service. Wouldn’t it be nice if more people on your street would be happy to make that offer?
The solution may just start with being a better neighbor first. The following suggestions go a long way to improving your neighborhood and making new friends at the same time.
Meet your neighbors and exchange phone numbers and email addresses. Agree with each other that you’ll let them know if you see something strange going on at their home.
Slow down when driving through the neighborhood; it will make it safer and everyone will appreciate it.
Control your dog: keep it on a leash; pick up after it; don’t let it bark too much.
Don’t park in front of your neighbor’s home.
Notify your immediate neighbors when you’re having remodeling done and ask them to let you know if any of the contractors cause damage to their property.
Let your neighbors know when you’re having a party and that there will be more cars on the street than usual.
Maintain your home and yard so that it adds to the beauty of the neighborhood.
Put your garbage out for collection on the correct day and bring the containers back in promptly.
In reality, it is fairly obvious; you just have to think of the things that you’d want from your neighbors. Be friendly; don’t be noisy; offer a helping hand when available and respect each other’s boundaries. Having a sense of community and that you all share the neighborhood can be underlying principles that will guide your behavior.
A good neighbor would be aware of suspicious activity and would call their neighbors and the police if warranted. This might be something you can discuss with your neighbors. Click here for a template to record your immediate neighbor’s contact information and keep readily available if needed.
Even if you’re having a professional help you with your income tax return, you need to provide them with information on the money you spent that might be deductible. Look at the following list to see if any of these things need a little more investigation to determine if they apply to your situation.
If you refinanced your home for the second or subsequent time in 2014, there may be points that can be taken as an interest charge.
Compare mortgage interest, property taxes and other eligible itemized deductions to your standard deduction to see which will give you a larger deduction.
If you’re paying mortgage insurance premiums with your payment, you may be eligible to deduct them.
If you purchased a home in 2014, there may be some deductions found on the HUD-1 form you received at closing.
If you purchased a home in 2014 and the seller paid points on your behalf in order to get a mortgage, you may be able to deduct them.
Gresham is the fourth largest city in Oregon and the second largest in the Portland metropolitan area. Gresham has a diverse population of more than 105,000 that is made up of young professionals, growing families, new immigrant communities and long-time residents.
Gresham has experienced rapid growth from a rural, farming community to an urban area that provides a high quality of life for its residents and business community. Gresham boasts an enviable array of amenities, including parks, libraries and schools, with unparalleled natural beauty and a temperate year-round climate.
Gresham is the fourth largest city in Oregon and the second largest in the Portland metropolitan area. Gresham has a diverse population made up of longtime residents, young professionals, families, and new immigrant communities. Over the last 20 years, Gresham has experienced rapid growth from a rural, farming community to a burgeoning urban area that provides a high quality of life for its residents and business community.
(per the Portland State University Population Research Center)
Gresham residents enjoy a superb quality of life, with abundant opportunities for community involvement, culturally diverse community events and readily available urban amenities and recreational opportunities.
Bicycling and Walking
Gresham is well connected to an extensive network of bike- and pedestrian-friendly routes, including:
The Gresham area benefits from an extensive network of regional public transportation. TriMet’s award-winning regional public transit system offers multiple transportation options for Gresham residents and visitors.
Ride Connection is a non-profit organization that provides transportation services for the elderly and people with disabilities. Ride Connection partners with regional transportation providers to link people with accessible transportation for medical, shopping, nutritive, recreational, supportive services, volunteer and work activities.
Not far from Gresham's city limits is the Mt. Hood recreation area, with limitless opportunities for year-round fun in the snow. When winter weather hits Gresham, you may want to explore one of our many city trails.
Points of Interest
The Gresham area offers a wide variety of tourist activities and shopping opportunities for residents and visitors.
For many, home affordability stalls at Step One: Making a down payment.
But thousands of programs around the country are intended to help homebuyers finance their down payments, which often range up to 20 percent of the purchase price. A new analysis from RealtyTrac and Down Payment Resource reports that 86-90 percent of the properties in Clackamas, Washington and Multnomah Counties are eligible for some kind of assistance.
The study found that every U.S. county has at least one down payment program, and roughly two-thirds of all counties have 10 or more. These include: Community Seconds, a second mortgage issued by housing agencies or nonprofits; 100 percent mortgage loans, mortgage credit certificates and Neighborhood Stabilization Program grants and loans.
RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist said such loan and grant programs can lower the barrier to homebuying even further than public policy shifts that have reduced some down payment schems as low as 3 percent.
There are 7 Wonders of the World, and not a single one of them is here in Oregon. All we can figure is whoever came up with the list must have never set foot here. They must have nevere seen Mt. Hood or the grandeur of the Columbia River Gorge. They certainly didn’t explore the Oregon Coast. The exposed earth of the Painted Hills, Smith Rock’s towers of volcanic ash and the alpine peaks of the Wallowas were overlooked as well. Even Crater Lake was left off their list, which is a shame, becuase standing high atop the rim of the deepest lake in America you can see what a wonder out early really is.
So we see your Wonders, world. And raise you 7 of our own. And we invite you to visit them. Not just to see them. Our Wonders aren’t just for taking pictures of. To truly say you’ve seen our Wonders, you have to get out of the car, hike down from the scenic vista and feel them beneath your feet.
Just remember: This is Oregon. So how you go about doing that is entirely up to you.
Mt. Hood’s perpetually snowy peak — crowned by eleven glaciers, one for every thousand feet it rises above sea level — can be seen from miles and miles away. It’s home to a total of six ski areas, making it a great base camp for skiers.
Historic Timberline Lodge, a WPA project built between 1936 and 1938, hosts some of the only year-round skiing anywhere on earth. The lodge’s design mirrors the lines of the mountain, and was constructed out of stone and wood from the surrounding forest. It’s also a great place to sit by the fire, have a glass of wine and marvel at the massive peak outside.
Beautiful alpine lakes with names like Lost, Trillium and Mirror dot Mt. Hood’s flanks, each offering its own unique view of the mountain.
Forests and valleys fill with lavender and wildflowers in the spring, and apples and pears and berries in the summer and fall — so much so that the epic drive between the mountain and the town of Hood River is called the Fruit Loop.
There are plenty of reasons why Mt. Hood is one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon. Go see them for yourself.
All 363 miles of the Oregon Coast are free and open to all of us. Which means how you choose to explore it is entirely up to you.
You can sandboard or dune buggy the sand dunes down south, or hit your way out of a sand trap inside the best public golf resort in America.
You can investigate its tide pools, hike up its cliffs or down through ancient old-growth forests to discover its hidden surf spots.
You can hunt for agates, or beach-comb, or build forts from washed-up driftwood.
You can watch waves crash at Devil’s Churn or Devil’s Punch Bowl, or find the surprise waterfall at Hug Point.
You can look for whales, or say hello to the seals, or crab from a boat or a dock or on the beach itself, at night, illuminated by the lamp of a lighthouse.
Just a short drive from Portland, you’ll find the amazing view from Crown Point, where you can see the mighty Columbia nestled in the Gorge unfurl before your very eyes.
Multnomah Falls and dozens of other falls like Horsetail, Ponytail and Bridal Veil line the way along the Historic Columbia River Highway. You have to go over a log mountain and wading through water to get to Lower Oneonta Falls – but once you get there, you’ll see why it was worth the trip.
In the town of Hood River, you’ll find hand-scooped ice cream, hand-crafted beer, windsurfing, kiteboarding and parasailing.
There’s the view from Rowena Crest, the loop up and around Dog Mountain and browsing the shelves of the oldest bookstore in all of Oregon in The Dalles.
Thanks to its unique geography, the Gorge boasts a world of wine in just a 40-mile stretch. You’ll find pinot noir and chardonnay in the cool hills at the west end, while tempranillo and syrah thrive in the drier, sunnier east.
US Congress recognized the unique splendor of the Gorge and designated it a National Scenic Area, the largest in America. And when you see it for yourself, you’ll understand why it’s one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon.
When you travel to the Painted Hills, you can see millions of years of history revealed in the layers of mountains of earth, one color at a time. The hills get their name from the delicately colored stratifications in the soil and the yellows, golds, blacks, and reds of the Painted Hills are best seen in the late afternoon. Tones and hue may appear to change from one visit to another, as the claystones differ with ever-changing light and moisture levels. Once you see them for yourself, it’s pretty easy to understand why the Painted Hills are one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon.
The Painted Hills are one of the three units that comprise the John Day Fossil Beds. Take time to also visit The Clarno Unit, with Mars-like pillars formed by waterfalls and volcanic sludge, and the Sheep Rock Unit, where fossils of plants and animals like saber-toothed cats are on display at the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center. Scientists study 50 million years of plant and animal evolution and a collection of 40,000 fossils here, and you can learn how early cousins of elephants and rhinos roamed the earth you’re standing on. To get there, take the Journey Through Time Scenic Byway through the ghost town of Shaniko, then on to the town of Fossil (named after the mammoth bone found there), where you can dig for your own fossilized souvenir. Plan to stop at the Kam Wah Chung and Co. Museum, a perfectly preserved drugstore from a century ago.
At Smith Rock, towers of volcanic ash rise like the spires of a cathedral out of the sage and dust of the high desert at the birthplace of American sport climbing. Whether you come for the climb or come to unwind, you’ll see why Smith Rock is one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon.
Thousands of routes attract climbers from every part of the globe, including more than a thousand bolted routes. Cliffs of tuff and basalt are ideal for rock climbing of all difficulty levels. There is sport climbing, traditional climbing and bouldering. Hiking and mountain biking and opportunities to spot golden eagles, prairie falcons, river otter and beaver in the park attract even those who don’t come for the climb.
Situated in Central Oregon, home to 300 days of sun a year, Smith Rock is located in an outdoor adventurer’s playground. Golfing, caving, paddle boarding on the Deschutes and skiing Mt. Bachelor are all close by. Mountain bikers can hit Phil’s Trail, while cyclists can take their pick of five scenic bikeways with names like Madras Mountain Views and Sisters to Smith Rock. Hikers will want to explore the obsidian lava flows at Newberry Crater National Volcanic Monument, where astronauts trained to walk on the moon. And craft beer fans, you have your pick of 24 breweries and counting in Central Oregon – 17 in Bend alone.
In the Wallowas, you can look down from an alpine summit and see the high desert of Indian country roll out in front of you in one direction, and then turn around and see past Hells Canyon into the next state, and some say all the way past it to the next one after that.
You can hike or ride a horse to the summit, but the fastest way to the top is the gondola that rises 3,700 feet from Wallowa Lake Village to the peak of Mt. Howard.
You can and should bring the whole family. Cabins and camping and mini-golf abound around Wallowa Lake. Towns like Joseph and Enterprise offer art galleries, shopping and food and drink, including handcrafted beer, craft distilleries and chocolatiers.
And then there’s the land, carved by the Oregon Trail and hardly changed since pioneers crossed by wagon. It’s bordered by the Snake River, working ranches, the remote Eagle Cap Wilderness and the wide open spaces that Eastern Oregon is known for.
There are fields of fauna, as well as clearings, some of which became towns, a few of which are now inhabited only by ghosts.
Once you see them for yourself, it’s pretty easy to see why the Wallowas are one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon.
From high atop the rim of Crater Lake, you can see what a wonder the world really is. A hike down to the water reveals new wonders. The water is so blue, so deep, it’s no surprise it’s the deepest lake in America, and one of the deepest on earth. That’s why it’s one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon.
Surrounded by cliffs almost 2,000 feet high and boasting a picturesque island a violent volcanic past, Crater Lake is also home to hikes in old-growth forest and cross-country ski trips in the winter months. Many of the roads and facilities close during the winter, but the park is open and accessible all year long.
Crater Lake is located in Southern Oregon, which is also home to the world-renowed Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the stunning Rogue River, the Oregon Caves and vineyards, chocolatiers and cheesemakers galore.
CLIMATE: Most visitors come to Crater Lake National Park during the months of July through mid-September, when the weather is generally mild with little precipitation. Due to the elevation of the park (6,500 ft. at Park Headquarters and 7,100 ft. at Rim Village), weather conditions may change quickly and a warm jacket and wool sweater are always recommended items to carry. During the winter months, from October through June, weather conditions make preparing for extreme winter conditions necessary. Blizzards, high winds, extreme cold and low visibility dominate the weather patterns. Visitors should come with cold weather gear.
RECREATION: A good place to begin your visit to Crater Lake is at one of the two visitor centers. The Steel Information Center lies south of Rim Drive next to park headquarters and is open year-round. In summer the Rim Village Visitor Center is open along Rim Drive on the southern side of the caldera. After gathering information on the park and its facilities visitors can make educated decisions about what recreation opportunities to pursue. Hiking, backpacking, camping, picnicking and sight seeing are popular pursuits within the park. Boating and scenic driving around Rim Drive can be enjoyed by visitors during the summer months. In winter snowshoeing and cross-country skiing provide solitude and a little-known view of the park.
It has green forests and bike friendly cities, an abundance of craft beer, and –despite the rain– it's where everyone wants to be.
Oregon was the top destination for people who moved out of state in 2014, according to a study from United Van Lines that tracked 128,000 moves. The moving company found that 66% of all interstate moves in Oregon were from people moving into the state, rather than leaving it.
It's the second year in a row that Oregon tops the list.
It's not for nothing that the Pacific Northwest state is popular. Word is spreading about it's thriving food, drink and culture scene and Oregonians' high quality of life.
It offers great accessibility to green space, outdoor recreation, arts and entertainment activities, said UCLA economist Michael Stoll.
CNN Money named the state's largest city, Portland, one of the most innovative cities in the U.S. for being ahead of the curve in terms of urban planning. It was one of the most innovative cities in the U.S. for being ahead of the curve in terms of urban planning. It was one of the first to build a light rail, instead of a highway, in 1986.
Other popular destination states were South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida and Vermont.
The Northeast, on the other hand, was a region to get out of. New Jersey and New York had the highest percentage of moves out of state. They were followed by Illinois, North Dakota and West Virginia.
This reflects a longer-term trend of migration to southern and western states where housing costs are lower, climates are more temperate, and job growth is at or above the national average, said Stoll.
Oregon, with it's mild temperatures, is certainly more affordable than nearby California. The median home value in Oregon is $239,000, according to Zillow. In California? Prepare to pay closer to $432,000.
“One of the reasons that I love local government,” says Mayor Shane Bemis of Gresham, Ore., “is that it doesn’t matter if you’re an ‘R[epublican]’ or a ‘D[emocrat]’, it matters on what’s best for this community.
That statement sums up Bemis’s governing style in Gresham, where his economically-focused initiatives have enabled the town of about 110,000 people to enjoy revitalized business corridors and a nearly energy-neutral wastewater treatment plant, as well the largest solar installation in the Pacific Northwest.
Bemis was born in Billings, Mont., and moved to Gresham with his family when he was 15 years old — just one day before starting high school. Introduced to politics by his mother (who was very involved in the Montana political scene), Bemis, as he put it, “caught the bug” while working at a family-owned department store, which happened to be a popular spot with local government officials, during his high school years.
In his late 20s, Bemis opened a Bellagio’s Pizzeria franchise in Gresham, which soon led to his belief that the town would benefit being governed by someone with more of a “business sense.” In 2002, he was elected to the city council, and in 2006, voted into the mayor’s office. When he assumed office in 2007, Bemis was just 34 years old — making him the youngest person to hold the position in Gresham’s history.
Although the city’s population has ballooned by more than 75,000 people since 1980, city government positions — including the office of mayor — remain unpaid. Bemis still works as a restaurateur in Gresham, now owning an independent Italian restaurant called Boccelli’s. He splits his time between managing his business, conducting his responsibilities as mayor and spending time with his wife and their three sons.
In response to the many shuttered storefronts in the city’s commercial areas, Bemis (along with the city council) created one of his signature initiatives: the “Garage to Storefront” program, which waived all start-up fees and charges for any business that opened in a space of 5,000 square feet or less and provided assistance from city advisors. Lasting for three years (after which time it was no longer needed), 144 new businesses opened under the program — occupying 200,000 square feet of retail space.
Bemis also quickly recognized the economic potential of going green. Shortly after taking office, he signed the Mayor’s Climate Protection Act and went to work looking for places where environmental responsibility could make economic sense. Gresham changed all of its streetlights to energy-efficient LEDs, repurposed its wastewater treatment plant to produce energy via the recycling of cooking oil and other environmental technologies. Bemis understands Gresham is a conservative city, saying that he never talks about climate in regards to green initiatives, preferring instead to focus on the economic benefits of environmentally-friendly measures. This practical approach has reaped large benefits, something Bemis attributes to the non-partisan nature of local governance.
Bemis hasn’t ruled out the idea of someday seeking higher office, but for the time being he doesn’t seem to be too interested. “Right now, there’s not a lot of glory in being an ‘R’ or a ‘D’ and being in gridlock,” says Bemis, “either at the state level or the federal level. Here we can get things done and it’s a whole heck of a lot of fun.”