Archive for the ‘Portland Landmarks’ Category

Portland Real Estate Fun Tips: The best views in Oregon

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Portland is surrounded by some of the most amazing natural resources in the Pacific Northwest – from the waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge to the majestic forests, pristine mountains, and fertile valleys. Combined with the urban metropolis of Portland, the opportunities for breathtaking views of both the cityscapes and natural environment are seemingly endless. The Auto club AAA’s bi-monthly magazine, VIA (a publication specializing in travel in the Western United States) featured readers’ favorite scenic vistas in their current issue. Many of those views and overlooks are right here in Oregon, so we thought we’d share them with you here on the McDonald Group Portland Real Estate Blog. Why not take a peak at these sweeping panoramas before choosing to buy a home in Portland – you might see the perfect for sale sign from these popular spots!

Buena Vista Overlook Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Princeton, Ore. “The scene here changes with the wetland vegetation and migrating waterfowl,” says Lucile Housley of Talent, Ore. “However, snowy Steens Mountain, rising to 9,733 feet on the horizon, is constant and tantalizing.” (541) 493-2612,

Hat Point Lookout Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, Imnaha, Ore. “Beautiful views of the Seven Devils Mountains, the Wallowa Mountains, and the Snake River Canyon,” says Steve Watkins of Nampa, Idaho. “You may even see a mountain goat.” (541) 426-5546,


Gladstone Real Estate Insider: Gladstone turns 100 in 2011

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

This week, the Oregon House approved House Resolution 1, honoring the city of Gladstone’s 100th year anniversary this year. Sponsored by state Rep. Dave Hunt (D-Gladstone) and state Sen. Alan Olsen (R-Oregon City), the resolution passed unanimously. “From this small community of settlers 100 years ago, Gladstone has grown and flourished into a bustling center with a population of approximately 12,000 people and with outstanding schools, infrastructure and a strong local business climate,” said Hunt. “The rich history of this region is reflected in the deep traditions and strong values of this community we are all proud to call home.”

Located at the scenic junction of the Clackamas River and the Willamette River, the historic city of Gladstone, Oregon is a cozy community just a stone’s throw away from Downtown Portland. The community of Gladstone is intimately linked to the rivers that surround it, as the town was layed out with access to the rivers in mind, and fishing and river recreation are still common activities. Gladstone is one of the oldest towns in the Willamette Valley, and neighbors feel a strong connection to their shared history, love of nature, and appreciation of the community around them. Featuring lush parks, historic homes, and cozy coffee shops, this small town features both rustic charm and easy access to the Portland metro area. Take a stroll along the river or through the beautiful Gladstone Gardens, and you’ll feel right at home.



Don’t Miss Buck’s Blowout Sale! May 6-8 … ANTIQUES! STOVES! THICK with finds & collectables!

Thursday, April 28th, 2011


Although most of the national media coverage of the Rose City focuses on innovation (like food carts, green energy, and high-tech public transportation) Portland is also full of quirky places with a lot of history. One of our favorite spots is Buck’s Stove Palace at 6803 SE Foster Road in the Foster Powell neighborhood. This neighborhood gem is a veritable museum of classic wood stoves, antique heaters, and cook-stoves, and has been a vital part of the community for decades.

We’re excited to share that Buck of Buck’s Stove Palace – a vital piece of Southeast Portland History – is blowing out his Personal Private Stash of Antique and Collectible wood stoves after 35 years. This is an unbeatable opportunity to to find great pieces you won’t find ANYWHERE else. Buck’s been gathering and restoring the finest classic wood stoves around since 1974, hand-picking unusual items with his extraordinary eye for quality, interest, and value.

Straight from the Buck’s mouth: “I realizes now this is the time to liquidate my collection before I go to stove heaven, as our multiple storage facilities are overflowing.” Experience THE EVENT that will celebrate Buck, Buck’s Stove Palace, and Historical Phoenix Pharmacy, where the sale will be taking place May 6-8, 9am-9pm. Come to big sale, and find once-in-a-lifetime deals from a once-in-a-lifetime character. Buck will be discounting everything, old and new, including stoves, Antiques, and Collectibles, Machinery, and more. You’ll even get 10% Off New Stoves during Buck’s Blowout Sale.


Portland Real Estate Insider: Downtown Portland Can Creations Help the Hungry

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

This weekend, trek over to Pioneer Place in Downtown Portland to check out Canstruction, the 15th annual benefit art installation for the Oregon Food Bank, sponsored by the Society for Design Administration. Canstruction is a nonprofit organization that holds annual design and build competitions to construct fantastic, giant structures made entirely out of canned food. In each city after the structures are built and the winners are declared, the creations go on view to the general public as giant art exhibits. At the close of the competitions all of the food used in the structures is donated to the local food banks for distribution to community emergency feeding programs. How cool is that?

In Portland, seven teams from 18 companies – including R&H Construction, NW Natural Gas and LSR Architects – painstakingly planned the can art designs and spent many days putting together the intricate pieces – like giant Peeps, Timbers’ soccer balls, and screws – all made only from cans! Canstruction raised over 2 million pounds of food in 2010 which was donated to local food banks, enough food to provide 1.5 million meals. Hurry out to the mall, the structures will only be up until Sunday!

Where: Pioneer Place (on the food court floor)
700 SW Fifth Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97204-2018
(503) 228-5800


Portland Real Estate Insider: Governors Choose New Columbia River Crossing Design

Monday, April 25th, 2011

The newest bridge planned to span the Columbia River between Portland and Vancouver, Washington will be a “deck truss” bridge – the cheapest and most utilitarian of the proposed bridge designs. Budget concerns were the primary force behind the design choice for the bridge that will replace the I-5 bridge. Governor John Kitzhaber of Oregon and Governor Christine Gregoire of Washington voted to approve the new design, despite opposition from Portland mayor Sam Adams. Construction is set to begin in 2013 and could cost as much as $3 billion.

“Our decision today is a strategic commitment to make transportation investments that reflect the realities of the future, not the past,” Kitzhaber said at the announcement this morning.  “Moving this project to completion in the most cost effective way possible is critical to providing a safer, less congested transportation system.”

The finished bridge will no doubt improve Portland area commutes and accessibility to more great Portland Real Estate. Residents of Vancouver, West Linn, Lake Oswego, Milwaukie, Clackamas, and other Portland area suburbs will greatly benefit from upcoming new construction in Portland-area transportation, so stay tuned to the McDonald Group Realtor blog for more updates! (more…)

Portland Real Estate Fun Tips: Find Your Inner Cinephile at the Northwest Film Center

Monday, April 4th, 2011

The city of Portland is a hub of arts and culture, drawing thousands of talented artists, musicians, photographers, and more to the banks of the Willamette River to get a taste of the good life and great community. Portland’s film scene is also thriving, as evidenced by the many successful film festivals happening throughout the year and the large number of independent movies shown at theaters throughout town. One of the central gathering spots for Portland movie lovers is the Northwest Film Center, adjacent to the Portland Art Museum – in Downtown Portland’s Cultural District, home to a fantastic array of urban condos for sale.

The Film Center screens the most current and significant independent cinema around, and you can catch showings of classic films you won’t see on the big screen anywhere else. They provide an active year-round exhibition program of foreign, classic, experimental, and independent works which showcase a wide array of regional, national, and international cinema and video art. Annual festivals at the Film Center include the Portland International Film Festival, the Northwest Film & Video Festival, the Jewish Film Festival, Reel Music, and the Young People’s Film Festival, each catering to the unique viewpoint of the Pacific Northwest. The Film Center also features a school of film, one of the largest community-based film arts programs in the country. This summer, the Film Center is offering the School of Film Summer Camp for Kids and Teens, grades 2 through 12.

If you’re interested in checking out some of Portland’s major attractions like the Northwest Film Center, consider the Portland Attractions Pass which gives you discounted access to top spots like the Lan Su Chinese Garden, the Oregon History Museum, the Oregon Zoo, Pittock Mansion, the Portland Art Museum, the Portland Children’s Museum, the Portland Japanese Garden, and the World Forestry Center. It’s a really amazing deal, and you’ll know you’re not missing a thing!


Downtown Portland Real Estate: New McMenamins Hotel transforms 100-year-old Building

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

The three-story, 100-year-old building at SW 12th and Stark in Downtown Portland sits in a strange spot along the bustling Burnside thoroughfare. Separated from the rest of the commercial buildings in the area on a triangular block, the building is getting a new life as the Crystal Hotel, a boutique 51-room lodge with a restaurant on the first floor and a below-ground bar. The nearby Crystal Ballroom draws crowds from Portland and the surrounding areas for popular concerts and events, and the Crystal Hotel will provide a new place for music lovers and Portland visitors to spend the night in style.

The purchase, $4 million remodeling, and 1997 re-opening of the Crystal Ballroom as a dance hall/music venue got McMenamins into the staging of national music acts, and the Crystal remains one of the most successful music venues in Portland – just a block west of the new hotel. The McMenamin brothers bought the hotel for $3 million in 2008, and have invested a lot of money, time, and energy into the renovation of the historic building – down to music-inspired decor in every room and a salt water soaking pool. The downstairs bar will feature acoustic shows from artists playing at the Ballroom, and is sure to be a hit among the late-night Downtown Portland crowd.

The hotel will open in May, and will feature one perk that’s sure to attract music lovers from far and wide – hotel guests who want to go to a Crystal Ballroom show will be able to buy tickets even if the show is sold out!


Portland Real Estate: PGE Park becomes Jeld-Wen Field in time for the 2011 Portland TImber’s MLS debut

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Here on the McDonald Group real estate blog we often talk about great restaurants, family-friendly music and art events, and news in the Portland Real Estate and development worlds, but today we’re going to look at a major change in the Portland Sports world.

Attention Portland soccer fans: PGE Park is now… Jeld-Wen Field!

The park, located in Southwest Portland, was previously home to our former minor league baseball team, the Beavers, and is now a Major League Soccer destination, home to our very own Portland Timbers. Jen-Weld is a manufacturer of doors and windows based in Klamath Falls, Oregon. The home-state company is a major sponsor of several major league sports and professional golf. Ron Wendt, president of Jeld-Wen, said today at the unveiling of the new name, “We like the demographics of soccer, the momentum that it has as a professional sport in the United States and around the world. It just seem to all come together as a nice marriage and good fit.”


Portland Historic Real Estate: NE Portland Tudor Revival Mansion Sells for $2 Million

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

One of our favorite historic Portland estates, the Autzen Mansion in NE Portland’s Alameda neighborhood, recently sold for $2 million after sitting on the market for nearly eight years. The historic Tudor Revival home, topping over 10,000 square feet and occupying an entire city block, was built in 1927 by Kirtland K. Cutter for plywood-industry millionaire Thomas J. Autzen and was once home to Portland Trail Blazer Steve Johnson. The Autzen family remains a legacy in the Portland area, and not just in the luxury real estate market – the Portland-based Autzen Foundation supports education and the arts, and the stadium at the University of Oregon bears the Autzen name.

Interested in the real estate details? The home features five bedrooms, five full and three half bathrooms, formal gardens, full ballroom, Italian tile murals, and most of the original ironwork and hand-hewn beams. The mansion’s previous owners lovingly spent more than $500,000 restoring the place, including repairs on the chimneys, the oak woodwork in the dining room, and all the leaded-glass windows. The Autzen Mansion is the biggest house in Alameda, a neighborhood in Northeast Portland, but the area has many other amazing historic homes that won’t cost you a fortune but will give the same sense of Portland’s rich early history.

If you’re interested in Tudor homes for sale in Portland and Portland-area suburbs, contact the McDonald Group Portland real estate experts today. Portland Tudor Revival Homes are common in older neighborhoods, including Eastmoreland, Ladd’s Addition, Laurelhurst, Alameda, and Irvington. Many Tudor Revival homes in Portland also incorporate Craftsman- and Colonial-style exterior and interior design features, such as built-in buffets and bookshelves.  While many Tudor Revival homes in Portland were built in the early 20th century, modern architects and neighborhood developers have borrowed elements of the Tudor style and incorporated them into new construction homes with modern amenities and less traditional features.  These “Modern Tudors” are often found in planned developments in Portland Suburbs like West Linn and Lake Oswego, while the traditional Tudor Revival homes are found in close-in, older Portland neighborhoods. We can help you pinpoint the style, size, and location of your dream home in Portland – whether it’s a mansion or a country cottage, you’ll find it in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.


Portland Realtor Fun Tips: National Media Can’t Get Enough of VooDoo Doughnuts

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Chances are, if you’ve seen a national television show or read a newspaper article about Portland, you’ve noticed one business that gets A LOT of attention. Voodoo Doughnuts has only been around since 2003, but from the way the national media talks about it, you’d think it was here when Lewis and Clark showed up. An article in the Los Angeles Times today proves the point yet again: there’s something about Voodoo Doughnuts that sums up Portland to the rest of the country. Sure, there’s something wacky and cool about a doughnut shop that offers marriage certificates and serves up a maple bacon doughnut, but we have to laugh every time we read an article that “discovers” the Portland gem all over again. In 2008, the Portland City Council declared the Voodoo’s Portland Crème the city’s official doughnut, and the flagship store has recently expanded to an eastside Portland location and another in Eugene, Oregon, so the media praise of the Portland darling isn’t going to fade any time soon.

The funny thing is, while the treats are sweet and we’re always happy with good food open late, Voodoo Doughnuts aren’t necessarily the best in town. When locals get tired of the tourist crowds and silly flavor combinations, they turn to other less-infamous favorites, like Annie’s Donuts, 3449 NE 72nd and Sesame Donuts, 6990 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy. Annie’s has the small-town ambiance with a fine selection of donuts – the glazed is our favorite, and they’re under a buck each. Sesame Donuts is famous for the sesame-covered donut – trust us, it’s delicious. Heavenly Donuts at 1915 North Lombard Street is another local favorite, but the real foodies in the know head to Delicious Doughnuts, just south of E Burnside at 12 SE Grand Ave. Trust us, they’ll make you forget all about Voodoo, even if the national media wont!



Portland Real Estate Guide: Updated Parkrose Neighborhood Guide at Your Road Map to Home

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Check out the newly updated Parkrose real estate neighborhood guide detailing the independent and affordable neighborhood of Parkrose in Northeast Portland, filled with quirky culture, classic Old Portland homes, and easy access to the airport, the Columbia River Gorge, and the rest of Portland. The Parkrose neighborhood is diverse and proud, and provides easy commuting access via the Banfield Freeway, I-205, and the Portland International Airport. Combining the best of urban accessibility and comfortable, small-neighborhood atmosphere, Parkrose is quintessential Portland.

If you’re looking for homes, condos, or other real estate in Parkrose or other Portland neighborhoods, check out our Parkrose real estate neighborhood guide filled with the best restaurants in Parkrose, local schools,  and neighborhood resources. Relocating to a new area can be hard, but it’s a lot easier when you’ve got the best real estate agents in Portland on your side.

Contact the McDonald Group realtors to find out about homes for sale in Parkrose!


Portland Homes and Activities: Website Can Help Find Portland Walking Trails and Outdoor Fun

Monday, February 21st, 2011

If you haven’t heard of, be prepared to see your city in a whole new way. You probably know that there are miles of nature trails and parks hikes within the city of Portland, but you might not realize how close many trails are to your home or favorite part of town! The site has a search – to find the trails near a specific address or intersection – and an entire page devoted to Portland area trails. You’ll find a map related to all of your favorite outdoor activities, like walking, hiking, mountain biking, trail running, canoeing, camping, even bird watching! Because Portland is such an urban metropolis with amazing shopping, dining, and entertainment opportunities, you can sometimes forget that the city lies in a nature-lover’s paradise.

We’ve selected a few great map lists to check out in the Portland area, tailored to your activity level, amount of time, and the kind of activity you love most:


Portland Realtor Guide: Updated Irvington Neighborhood Profile at Your Road Map to Home

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Check out the newly updated Irvington real estate neighborhood guide detailing the gorgeous and historical neighborhood of Irvington in Northeast Portland, filled with quirky culture, classic Old Portland homes, and some of the best dining and shopping in town. The Irvington neighborhood is classic and proud, and provides easy commuting access to all of Portland via the Banfield Freeway. Combining the best of urban accessibility and comfortable, small-neighborhood atmosphere, Irvington is quintessential Portland.

If you’re looking for homes, condos, or other real estate in Irvington or other Portland neighborhoods, check out our Irvington real estate neighborhood guide filled with the best restaurants in Irvington, local schools,  and neighborhood resources. Relocating to a new area can be hard, but it’s a lot easier when you’ve got the best real estate agents in Portland on your side.

Contact the McDonald Group realtors to find out about homes for sale in Irvington!


Washington County Real Estate: New Gaston Real Estate Guide at Your Road Map to Home

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Check out the new Gaston real estate neighborhood profile detailing the community of Gaston, the wine-lover’s haven located just west of Portland. Combining the best of urban accessibility, natural recreation, and rural comfort, Gaston is the best of all worlds. If you’re looking for homes, apartments, or other real estate in Gaston or other Portland Suburbs, check out the McDonald Group Gaston real estate neighborhood profile filled with the best restaurants in Gaston, school information, and neighborhood resources. Relocating to a new area can be hard, but it’s a lot easier when you’ve got the best real estate agents in Portland on your side.

Contact the McDonald Group realtors today to find out about homes for sale in Gaston. If you’re interested in Gaston Real Estate, land and homes for sale in Gaston, or have any questions about relocating to Portland and Portland area suburbs, don’t hesitate to contact the McDonald Group Realtors, your guide to Washington County Real Estate.



Portland Real Estate Guide: The City of Portland May Be Increasing Tree Protection

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

The Portland Real Estate market is known for it’s tree-lined streets and green neighborhoods, but what many people do not know is that those trees have little official protection. The City of Portland is working on a proposal for new tree protection standards, and the plan is getting near unanimous support from homebuilders, environmentalists, residents, and city officials. The Portland City Council plan, known as the Citywide Tree Project, would protect and increase the number of trees in Portland, which has a great effect on the safety, health, and beauty of the city. For many homeowners, the biggest and most notable change is this: removing a tree greater than 20 inches in diameter from private property would require a permit, followed by a tree replanting or payment to the city toward replanting efforts.

The city is aware of the challenges for new construction and development, and has provided exceptions for certain kinds of projects, but is overall convinced that new construction in Portland does not have to come at the expense of our valuable natural resources. Many other towns in the Portland area have similar tree protection standards. The city of Lake Oswego requires permits to cut down most trees 5 inches in diameter or larger, and Happy Valley requires a permit to trim trees, even on private property.

Officials have been working on the Portland Citywide Tree Project since 2007, and if the plan is approved in March, implementation is expected to begin in 2013. The city hopes the new code will help Portland add 100 acres per year to its existing tree canopy of about 23,600 acres, and the long-term goal is to increase the tree canopy by nearly 6,500 acres — an area larger than Forest Park!


Portland Real Estate Insider: New Sellwood Bridge Approved by Multnomah County

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Here in Portland, we’re so well known for the many bridges crossing the Willamette and Columbia Rivers that our unofficial nickname is Bridgetown, and one bridge in particular remains infamous. The Sellwood Bridge, connecting the southernmost regions of east Portland with the southern West Hills and Lake Oswego, has been derided as one of the worst bridges in America. Though it’s location is important, conveniently connecting areas like the South Waterfront real estate and OHSU homes and commutes, many people take the long way around, using the Marquam Bridge or Ross Island Bridge to avoid the Sellwood Bridge altogether. Luckily, committees have been working diligently to come up with a viable replacement bridge, and the final design has been selected and property acquisition has begun for the project. The Multnomah County Commission unanimously approved the deck arch design for the new Sellwood Bridge this morning.

The Multnomah County Commission approval included money-saving measures that will save $41 million by moving the bridge closer to the river near Oregon Route 43. The next round of decisions will focus on smaller details, including the design of railings and the placement of signs. Construction can begin after the Federal Highway Administration issues a Record of Decision, right-of-way is purchased, and design work is complete.

The Sellwood Bridge is very important the Portland metro region, as the bridge provides the only crossing for a 12-mile stretch of the Willamette River between Oregon City and Portland, and it connects major highways, including Oregon Highways 99E, 43, and 224. It is the busiest two-lane bridge in Oregon, with an average daily traffic count of 30,000 vehicles. It is also located in a heavily populated area that is experiencing high density development. The bridge is a primary connection to west Portland for residents and businesses in Sellwood, Westmoreland, and areas beyond. Many of the bridge users are commuters who live in Clackamas County.


Portland Real Estate Guide: Winter Travel Deals to Portland

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Admit it, you’re interested in Portland. There’s something about these streets, the creative energy, the great food (Portland was just named “America’s new food Eden” by TIME magazine), that is drawing people in by the thousands to see what the buzz is about. It won’t be a secret much longer, but the Portland real estate market is ripe for a renaissance – so why not jump on the bandwagon before prices start climbing again? If you’re interested in visiting Portland to check out the amazing homes for sale in Oregon, this winter could be the ideal time. Travel Portland and Expedia have teamed up to offer some ridiculously good deals for travel to Portland this winter. Check out these great travel deals, then contact the McDonald Group real estate experts to set up a tour of homes for sale in Portland during your exploration of the great Northwest.

For a limited time, you can get up to 30% off Portland Hotels in many different parts of town, including the posh Hotel Fifty, Hotel Modera, and The Nines, the outdoorsy luxury of The Resort at The Mountain on Mt. Hood (perfect for checking out those great winter cabins for sale in the snow), the classic tradition of The Benson Hotel and The Heathman Hotel in downtown Portland, the affordable comfort of the centrally-located La Quinta Inn at the Portland Convention Center, the amazing views of the Columbia at the Red Lion Hotel on the River, or the best or the best of Portland’s upscale suburbs at the Hilton Garden Inn Lake Oswego. In addition to great hotel deals that will set you up in the perfect spot to explore the best of the Portland metro real estate market, you’ll also get $20 off dinner at some of Portland’s best restaurants when you book your stay at one of the many participating hotels.

Winter is a great time to visit Portland, as the cooler months are filled with celebrations throughout town. From January 20-30 you can catch local theater, dance, comedy, visual art, and film at the Fertile Ground festival. Unlike a typical fringe festival, Fertile Ground features the finest new work of only the best new local Portland artists, performers and resident theater companies, ensuring that the artistic and financial benefits of the festival stay in Portland. From Portland’s oldest and largest producing institutions to its newest, smallest or self-produced companies, the Fertile Ground Festival offers the breadth of Portland’s burgeoning arts scene. Also coming up is the Annual Portland Jazz Festival (February 18-27), featuring more than 100 separate events. Check out the amazing performances by international luminaries such as Esperanza Spalding, Maceo Parker, Don Byron, the 3 Cohens, and Regina Carter. Don’t miss your chance to see the premiere of SF JAZZ Collective’s tribute to Stevie Wonder, check out midnight jam sessions, and soak up all the wonderful free performances.


Portland Real Estate Fun Tips: The McMenamins Brew-Pub Empire

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

The variety of clubs, bars and microbreweries in the Portland area is as diverse as the people who call Portland home. Dubbed “Beervana” and “Beertown,” Portland is known to be the micro-brewing capital of America, with the most microbreweries in one city this side of the Atlantic. Area micro-brew moguls, the McMenamins Brothers, own over sixty quality establishments throughout Oregon and Washington, and played a large role in establishing Portland as the beer town it is today. If you’ve ever spent time the Portland area, you’ll no doubt recognize the name McMenamins. From the popular Bagdad Theater on SE Hawthorne to the huge McMenamins Edgefield compound in Troutdale, this family of restaurants, breweries, theaters, hotels, music venues and more combine to make up one of the largest entertainment empires in the Northwest. McMenamins currently has 15 breweries in Oregon, each year collectively producing more than 200 different recipes. Since their first brew at Portlands Hillsdale Brewery & Public House in 1985, McMenamins has handcrafted more than 20,000 different batches of beer. In one year, the McMenamins family will brew over 41,000 kegs of beer- an astounding 5.1 million pints of Terminator, Sunflower IPA, Ruby Ale, Hammerhead and more. According to the Brewers Association, McMenamins is one of the top 50 largest craft breweries in the United States – but the McManamins empire is about much more than great beer. Unlike other chains, each outpost of McMenamins has its own identity and history, though you can always count on great quality and atmosphere.

The McMenamins “Empire” was founded by Mike and Brian McMenamin, two brothers who grew up in Northeast Portland. The official beginning of the McMenamins history is traced to the 1974 opening of Produce Row Café in Southeast Portland. Though their desire to be successful restaurateurs didn’t fare so well in the beginning, with early financial problems and a failed wine-distribution company, the brothers found success when they created the first post-Prohibition brewpub in Oregon — the Hillsdale Brewery & Public House in southwest Portland — in 1985. That same year McMenamins became the first brewery in the USA to legally use fruit in the brewing of ales (the Ruby Ale is brewed with Oregon raspberries!). The first McMenamins theater pub was the Mission Theatre & Pub, opened in 1987. The company then entered the broader hospitality business starting in 1990, when they converted a 74-acre site (that at one time served as the Multnomah County Poor Farm) into Edgefield, a true Portland landmark. By 1997, food accounted for over half of McMenamins’ total sales. The purchase, $4 million remodeling, and 1997 re-opening of the Crystal Ballroom as a dance hall/music venue got McMenamins into the staging of national music acts, and the Crystal remains one of the most successful music venues in Portland. The McMenamins empire is still growing, as a new hotel next to the Crystal Ballroom on W Burnside is in the works for 2011 – complete with a new restaurant.

When you’re touring Portland and Oregon looking for the best homes for sale in the Pacific Northwest, you’ll no doubt see the classic McMenamins sign above many pubs and restaurants, and you’ll know you’re getting amazing service, food, and a bit of Oregon history. Here are some of our favorite McMenamins spots, perfect for meeting up with friends, grabbing a pint and a movie, and saluting one of Portland’s homegrown empires.


Portland Real Estate Insider: MAX Lightrail Ridership Up in 2010

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

One of the most talked about features of the Portland Real Estate market is how close most homes for sale in Portland are to public transportation. Here at the McDonald Group Portland Real Estate blog, we’re often getting inquiries about the future of Portland and Oregon’s transportation system, and we’ve been tracking the growth of ridership and new construction of transit lines, including developments in Portland-area suburban commuter support. In a report out this week, Portland public transit agency TriMet showed increased ridership for 2010 – up more than six percent from 2009. Public transportation in the Portland metropolitan area has grown to over 1.74 million total trips per week. The contributing factors to this growth in rider numbers are varied, including the convenience of Portland’s transit system, desire to decrease carbon footprints, reduce time spent in rush-hour traffic, and save money by cutting down on personal car use.

The numbers are expected to grow even more in the coming years, as construction on the Milwaukie light rail project is slated to start this summer. The upcoming MAX project includes a proposed transit bridge crossing the Willamette river that would carry MAX light rail trains, buses and the future eastside loop of the Portland streetcar, as well as two 14-foot bike and pedestrian paths. The 7.3-mile Portland-Milwaukie light rail project, the region’s sixth MAX line, will go from Portland State University through the south waterfront, into Southeast Portland, to Milwaukie and north Clackamas County. If you’re interested in homes for sale in Milwaukie near present and future public transportation like the MAX light-rail system, contact the McDonald Group Realtors to find out how you can cut down on your commute and get connected to the amazing dining, shopping, and entertainment opportunities via the MAX light-rail and streetcar systems. Portland is the perfect place to live a car-free lifestyle, with many amenities, incentives, and resources for cutting down on car-time and gaining an appreciation of the city of Portland!



Portland Real Estate: Updated Ladd’s Addition Neighborhood Guide

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Check out the updated Ladd’s Addition neighborhood profile detailing the historic neighborhood of Ladd’s Addition in Southeast Portland, filled with quirky culture, classic Old Portland homes, and some of the best trees in town . The Ladd’s Addition neighborhood is progressive and proud, and provides easy commuting access downtown via the Hawthorne and Ross Island bridges. Ladd’s Addition is near two of the most popular retail districts in town, Hawthorne and Division Streets, complete with vintage stores, great brunch spots, and lush, open parks.  Combining the best of urban accessibility and comfortable, small-neighborhood atmosphere, Ladd’s Addition is quintessential Portland.

If you’re looking for homes in Ladd’s Addition or other Portland neighborhoods, check out the Ladd’s Addition neighborhood profile filled with the best restaurants nearby Ladd’s Addition, top hikes and green spaces, and neighborhood resources. Relocating to a new area can be hard, but it’s a lot easier when you’ve got the best real estate agents in Portland on your side.

Contact the McDonald Group realtors to find out about homes for sale in Ladd’s Addition!


Portland Real Estate Insider: New Foot Bridge Planned between South Waterfront and Lair Hill

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Portland’s South Waterfront Neighborhood is about to get a bit more pedestrian and bike friendly.Work has started on a new bridge over Interstate 5 that will connect South Portland’s Lair Hill neighborhood to the up-and-coming South Waterfront district. The pedestrian bridge, called the “Gibbs Street Bridge” will run under the popular OHSU Aerial Tram, from the intersection of Southwest Gibbs St. and Kelly Ave. on the east side to the intersection of Southwest Gibbs St. and Moody Ave. on the west. Portland Real Estate is increasingly bike friendly, with many homes for sale in Portland within easy walking or biking distance to neighborhood resources like restaurants, grocery stores, and public services like libraries.

Lair Hill and the surrounding neighborhoods in South Portland were among the first areas to start the “neighborhood revolution” in the 1960′s. Community members in the neighborhood banded together to prevent destruction of historical buildings, trees, and landmarks under the Portland urban renewal project, and this spirit is alive in the development of the new bridge. The fight against neighborhood destruction resulted in the creation of the first protected historical district in Portland and one of the first neighborhood coalitions, followed by the development of many neighborhood home owner groups and the official designation of the neighborhood government system in the City of Portland. The bridge project is the fulfillment of an agreement with the Lair Hill neighborhood association – when the tram was put in, the neighborhood was ensured foot access to the burgeoning waterfront. The bridge should be completed in January 2012, and was designed with an access area on that side with a long, winding stairway and an elevator that is big enough to hold bicycles with kids’ trailers attached.

About the South Waterfront: Oregon’s first fully-green neighborhood, Portland’s South Waterfront, is also the largest green development in the country. Innovative energy saving and water conservation techniques like LEED certified buildings and the bios wale filtration support the entire neighborhood and minimizes its impact on the environment. Buildings are made from sustainable materials, use solar panels, and have been designed with a “permeability” concept. In order not to block any of the wonderful views downtown Portland has to offer, buildings are designed to be thinner and to not occupy an entire block, while still building with the same amount of square footage. The South Waterfront neighborhood is accessible by the Portland Streetcar that runs from Northwest Portland and the Pearl District through Downtown and Portland State University, an aerial tram, Tri-met bus routes, and a possible Max route in the future.


Portland Real Estate Fun Tips: The Best Sports Bars in Rip City*

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Even if you’ve got the top-of-the-line flat screen at home with the best stereo system around, you know there’s nothing like a local sports bar filled with fans on big game days. This week, the University of Oregon played Auburn in the BCS National Championship game, and all of Portland’s best sports bars were decked out in Green and Yellow to support the ducks. We may have lost the game, but everyone will agree that the night was a successful one for Portland’s bar scene. Every sports bar in town was full to capacity, broadcasting the big game on huge screens and offering up Oregon themed drink and food specials. Here on the McDonald Group real estate blog we often talk about great restaurants, family-friendly music and art events, and news in the Portland Real Estate and development worlds, but today we’re going to look at the sports bars that celebrate the city’s passion for home town, national, and international sports. There’s something for every kind of sports fan, from those basketball fans with Blazer Mania, to the old-school European Soccer die-hards that get up early on weekends for a full English breakfast and their favorite team down at the pub.

Spirit of ’77 – 500 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd – Portland’s most popular sports bar is also one of its newest. Spirit of ’77 (named after the year of the Trailblazers’ NBA championship win) may have just opened in late 2010, but it’s already the most celebrated sports bar in town, even getting national recognition from Bon Appetit’s Restaurant Editor Andrew Knowlton. The Portland Trail Blazers, known as the Blazers to locals, are probably our most well-known team, and Spirit of ’77 is decked out to support the history and passion of Portland Basketball. Restauratuer Nate Tilden — the man behind Portland restaurant favorites Olympic Provisions and Clyde Common — has reinvented the sports bar with Spirit, combining sports bar staples (giant flat-screen TVs and projection screens), carnival games (pop-a-shot b-ball!), an indoor bike parking area, retro touches (menus designed like trading cards; a “sports history” collage that Photoshops Spirit of ’77) gear on classic sports figures), and an amazing menu that leans toward upscale bar food with options like cocktail ribs, house-made pickles, and hushpuppies with jalepeno jam.

Claudia’s - 3006 Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard – If Spirit of ’77 reinvented the sports bar, then Claudia’s is the best of the old guard spots that need no reinvention.Dark, noisy, and full of regulars and friendly competition, Claudia’s is a sports fan’s dream. Located on Hawthorne and SE 30th, this hangout is a favorite for weekly NFL fans, playoff games, and local sports. Though not gourmet, they have a stellar and varied bar food menu and a great selection of imported, micro, and domestic beers.  Claudia’s feautures high definition big screen, a number of high definition LCD screens, ten satellite receivers, as well as numerous monitors. They play every Blazers’ game, every Bowl game, and offer free pool on Tuesdays.


Happy Valley Real Estate Insider: Support the Future Sunnyside/Happy Valley Library in Clackamas County

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Happy Valley LibraryHappy Valley is one of our favorite areas in the Portland region, and the area is growing fast! One neighborhood resource on its way is the Sunnyside Library, part of the Clackamas County Library system. Planning for the new Sunnyside Library in Happy Valley continues to move forward, and the library is still on schedule for completion in the Fall of 2011, but it still needs support. If you’re thinking of relocating to Portland and the Happy Valley area, or if you’re a local with a love of books and libraries like us, think about supporting the new library and help Happy Valley grow! The Friends of the Library is seeking new members to help support the new library. Membership dues are $10.00. Larger donations are welcome! Remember… dues and any donations are tax deductible. Meetings are on the first Thursday of the month at 1:00 pm at the Oak Lodge Library, and are open to all who are interested in attending. The Friends of the Library provide needed support to the Library through special events and programs, the Children’s Summer Reading program, the purchase of needed equipment and more.

If you would like to become a Friend of the Library, or make a donation, send it to:
Clackamas County Friends of the Library Clackamas County Library 16201 S.E. McLoughlin Blvd. Oak Grove, OR. 97267

The McDonald Group realtors have sold a lot of homes in Happy Valley, and we think it’s a fantastic place in which to invest right now. Homebuyers can buy an amazing, grand home with a view, a large level lot near great schools in a great neighborhood all within in a few minute’s drive to the freeway.  We’ve watched Happy Valley’s housing market go through several changes, including short sales and bank owned sales, but what we are seeing as the current and growing trend is new construction homes for sale and they are selling fast.  New construction homes are competitively priced, as smart builders are picking up lots at great prices and passing the savings on to the home buyer. Not only does the home buyer get a new home, they get to chose finishes, make changes to the plans or even design their own dream home. When going with a newly constructed home in Happy Valley you can move into the home you envisioned and not spend an abundance of time waiting for the right one to hit the market. Happy Valley is hot right now, and Happy Valley new construction is even hotter. If you’re looking for homes, condos, or other real estate in Happy Valley or other Portland real estate suburbs, check out our Happy Valley Real Estate neighborhood profile filled with the best restaurants ear Happy Valley, the top parks, and neighborhood resources. Contact the McDonald Group realtors to find out about homes for sale in Happy Valley!


Portland Real Estate: Portland Farmers Market Sets Record-Breaking Attendance and Profit Numbers for 2010

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

The Portland Farmers’ Market reported record attendance this year, showing once again that Portland residents take pride in the local economy and environment. Over 700,000 people spent their mornings and afternoons among the best of the Portland area fruits, vegetables, and artisan foods. These new numbers are up more than 13% from last year’s record attendance of 620,000, spending more than 16% more than last year’s record sales. The market’s executive director, Ann Forsthoefel, said of the record-breaking year: “We are excited to have had such a banner year and to provide markets that allow our local farmers, food producers and artisans to prosper during such challenging times.”

Portland Farmers’ Market is a non-profit organization that oversees a growing number of markets throughout the city, and 2010 was the first year of the Northwest 23rd market and Pioneer Courthouse Square Farmers’ Market, which filled the popular gathering spot charmingly called “Portland’s Living Room” with fresh fruits, vegetables, and artisan foods. For most of the year, Portlanders can shop for local, fresh, and organic foods five days a week at six different locations throughout the city, from Southeast off of 20th and Hawthorne, to NW 23rd, to NE at King Elementary (for a list of all locations, times, vendors, and more, check out the PFM website). That means that wherever you’re planning on buying a home in Portland, you have easy access to the best food in the Northwest. Every quadrant has an opportunity to experience the “best of the country in the heart of the city.”Portland’s farmers markets stand for the best of the city’s values, ingenuity, and community. If you’re thinking of relocating to Portland, ask Kristie to take you to one of the amazing farmers markets on your tour of homes for sale in Portland. Grab a cup of coffee as you browse the stalls, listen to local musicians, taste the best of Oregon produce, and support our local community and economy. It’s just one more reason why Portland is the best city in America, and a really good reason to call this city home.



Portland Real Estate Guide: The Best Views in Portland

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Portland is surrounded by some of the most amazing natural resources in the Pacific Northwest – from the waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge to the majestic forests, pristine mountains, and fertile valleys. Combined with the urban metropolis of Portland, the opportunities for breathtaking views of both the cityscapes and natural environment are seemingly endless. Here are some of the McDonald Group Portland Real Estate experts’ favorite spots to catch a glimpse of the best views in the city. Why not take a peak at these sweeping panoramas before choosing to buy a home in Portland – you might see the perfect for sale sign from these popular spots!

Mocks Crest Property - 2206 N Skidmore St. – Also known as the Skidmore Bluffs, this grassy knoll at the west end of Skidmore sits on Mocks Crest, the bluff overlooking the Willamette River below. While not an official park or playground, Mocks Crest offers some of the best views in Portland, including downtown Portland and Forest Park on the opposite bank, and the industrial riverside areas and Union Pacific’s Albina rail yard directly below. It’s a great spot to watch the sun set over the West Hills.

Portland 4T Trail – This 8.5 mile loop takes you from downtown Portland to Council Crest (Portland’s highest point at 1,073 feet) and back to the river, winding through forested parks, past the best restaurants in the country, classic examples of historical Northwest architecture, examples of our scientific, artistic, and environmental ingenuity, and unsurpassed views of the colorful city skyline, sparkling river, and the snow-capped peaks of Mounts Hood, St. Helens, Adams, Jefferson, and Rainier. More info about the 4T Trail here.