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|Articles - July 2011|
|Wednesday, June 22, 2011|
Since the mid 1990s, thousands of Oregonians — families, retirees, young adults — have forsaken the suburbs in favor of inner-city living. Now a new group, suburban homebuilders, are also jumping on the urban housing bandwagon. “People are moving here from Boston and New York and they don’t want to move to the suburbs, they want Portland,” says Randy Sebastian, president of Renaissance Homes, a Lake Oswego-based developer. “We were completely missing that market.”
Last fall, Sebastian moved out of his comfort zones in Wilsonville and Lake Oswego and built the first of what are now 30 “Vintage Collection” homes scattered around Portland neighborhoods. About 10 have sold for $350,000-$600,000.
Renaissance was badly bruised by the recession. In 2008, Sebastian was left holding 2,000 lots, plus 94 homes that eventually sold at auction for about $200,000 less than the original price. And Portland’s urban growth boundary restricts the amount of suburban land available for development, says Sebastian. “The best way for my business to survive is to look to the city.”
National homebuilder D.R. Horton appears to share that opinion. In May, the company broke ground on one of its first inner-city projects in the country: a “microhomes” development in Portland’s SE Division neighborhood. The 29 units range from a 364-square-foot studio to 687-square-foot detached home and will sell from the low to high $100,000s. The company has yet to release homes for sale.
The suburban housing migration mirrors efforts on the part of retailers such as WalMart and Home Depot to reconfigure their stores for the urban market, says Gerard Mildner, a professor of real estate at Portland State University. So how do homegrown Portland developers feel about the big-box competition? Their presence does re-enact a bit of the “local coffee shop vs. national coffee shop” dynamic, says Eli Spevak, a builder who specializes in the kind of small-scale community housing projects D.R. Horton is now pursuing.
But as a proponent of high-density, low-impact living, Spevak is not about to complain. “I wish there were more,” he says.
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Child care in Oregon is expensive and hard to find. We delved into the numbers and talked to a few executives and managers about day care costs, accessibility and work-life balance.
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BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis released a report on the vitality of rural Oregon this week. Media reports focused on the number of Californians moving to the "Timber Belt," but the document contained other interesting insights regarding regional challenges and successes.
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PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
Images from the big 2015 celebration of worker-friendly organizations that make a difference.
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BY GARY FISH
Over the years, many mentors have taught me lessons that have helped shape the way I view the world of work and our business.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
How do you put a baby on the cover of a business magazine without it looking too cutesy?
Thursday, August 20, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT
We get the education we deserve.
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