The Starlight Parade Approaches!

The skies are overcast.  The precipitation is at record levels.  Hay Fever season is in high gear.  Why, it must be time to kick off THE ROSE FESTIVAL!  Portland’s favorite celebration kicks off this week with the zany Starlight Parade!

It’s a LONG tradition here in Portland.  The idea for the Rose Festival was presented to the public in a speech by Mayor Harry Lane at the end of the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in 1905. The first festival followed in 1907, and what a history it has made.

It’s 2013, and we’re gearing up to celebrate 106 years of festivities.  The lineup for the parade is everything from traditional marching bands and flood-lit floats, to glow-in-the-dark umbrellas and hand-built entries. You’ll see the best of Portland’s diverse community groups from the surrounding Northwest region. And some exciting news? (At least for me!) I’m marching and dancing in the first quarter of the nearly 100 illuminated groups! 

If you’re headed to the parade this weekend, you won’t be disappointed–but there are a few things to keep in mind. Here’s my “ inside tips” for the Starlight Parade! The parade starts at 9:00 pm.  This is no parade for whimps!  You have to stay up late and tough out the elements on the cold, wet, and dark streets of downtown Portland.  We’re expecting 250,000 to line the 2.25 miles, so make sure you get your spot scoped out early.  Also: Bring layers!  And don’t forget your costume…there will be some serious costuming that you don’t want to miss out on. The starlight parade is where FUN HAPPENS.

Francene has over 30 years in the home mortgage business, and she loves being part of the Portland community. Connect with her on Facebook for Portland-centric updates and news or subscribe to her newsletter to receive monthly resources and tips just for locals. If you’re interested in homeownership or refinancing, contact her today to schedule a consultation and find out more about Portland mortgage options.

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Exploring Homes in Portland

It’s been all about home architecture for me the last few weeks. As you know, a love of home styles has made me appreciate local organizations like the Architectural Heritage Center, and the Historic Preservation League, both of which provide resources and fun activities for the community related to valued Oregon Architecture. Thanks to these two organizations, kindred souls that appreciate both my former Faber designed home, as well as the “new and modern” design of just 50 years ago traipsed through the marvels of architect Saul Zaik on last week’s Midcentury Modern home tour. It was quite a fabulous experience; Zaik is a truly gifted man who still works today with a passion I envy.

Can you find me in this photo?

Can you find me in this photo?

Midcentury landscaping.

Midcentury landscaping.

Then this last weekend I was also able to take part in another home tour–this one in the old neighborhood. The Irvington Home Tour focuses not on midcentury modernism, but on what might be considered “classic” Portland architecture–those homes from the early 1900’s that are so iconically Portland and whose owners have put so much work into caring for and restoring. You know me–this is exactly the kind of thing I love. Both tours showcased a beautiful side of Portland architecture; in the Irvington Home Tour, some folks even had turn-of-the-century parties, costumes included! Check out the photo below for proof! And make sure you try these tours next time if you didn’t go. They’re not to be missed!

Connecting in Community through Dance

Finding community.  The need to belong.  The common/shared interest. I love finding ways to connect here in Portland, and my recent association with dancing has given me yet another sense of community.  Not only amongst dancers, but to the community at large.  Last Saturday my previous association with the sponsor, White Bird, and their Le Grand Continental (a wonderful gift to our community) was brought back to life for an ever so brief repeat at Union Station for National Train Day

Our last rehearsal before National Train Day

Our last rehearsal before National Train Day

To prepare for that performance, rehearsals have filled my days. It was well worth the effort, looking back, but though that performance is complete the rehearsals haven’t finished. Many of us from Le Grand Continental are continuing to dance – dedicated to rehearsals 3 times a week – to prepare ourselves for the launch of the Portland Rose Festival with the Starlight Parade on June 1.  Known for being a ‘zanier” parade, we’re practicing our hearts out to make sure we’re ready. Of the 100 or so that committed to this, there are about 70 who have stayed the course.  Yet another community, and for many of us this will be our third performance together.  We shivered through another chilly and wet evening last night as we ran through the paces.  We may never look like these two professional dancers but we’re ready to bring fun and frivolity to the people of Portland 15 days from now. Will you be there?

Francene has over 30 years in the home mortgage business, and she loves being part of the Portland community. Connect with her on Facebook for Portland-centric updates and news or subscribe to her newsletter to receive monthly resources and tips just for locals. If you’re interested in homeownership or refinancing, contact her today to schedule a consultation and find out more about Portland mortgage options.

Memories and Mosses: Finding New Things in Old Places

How often are you reminded: ‘You Can Never Go Home Again’? It’s one of those frequently repeated mantras that often plays out.  Class reunions, family holidays, hometown gatherings.  But is it really true?  And why is it so much embedded in our culture?

 You Can’t Go Home Again was a novel by Thomas Wolfe, in which the main character George Webber, a fledgling author, writes a book that makes frequent references to his home town of Libya Hill.The story explores the changing American society of the 1920s/30s, including the stock market crash, the illusion of prosperity, and the unfair passing of time which prevents Webber ever being able to return “home again.”

This week, after nearly 20 years, I returned to Opal Creek–a family vacation spot that has remained near and dear to my heart.  A place so special, so pristine, that I held it in my heart above all other places I’ve visited.  Would it be changed?  Would it live up to 20 years’ worth of lavish memories?

The last time I visited was an OMSI family weekend, and I’ve long since forgotten what the theme of that outing was. But this time I came to study mosses, lichen, and liverwort through the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Really! I know that’s pretty nerdy, but it was fantastic. And it was was thanks to this amazing exploration that I was able to see this place live up to and exceed all my expectations. Opal Creek, Ancient Forest Center, and Jaw Bone Flats was exactly as I remembered it. But this time, I got to see a lot more of the details. 

The Opal Creek Wilderness and the neighboring Bull of the Woods Wilderness is the largest contiguous area of low-elevation old growth left in Oregon.  The cool, cloudy, wet weather in western Washington and Oregon is ideal for these organisms.  There are approximately 12,000 species of moss classified in the Bryophyta. The division Bryophyta formerly included not only mosses, but also liverworts and hornworts. These other two groups of bryophytes are now placed in their own divisions. See what I mean about details? I definitely didn’t notice this stuff last time I was here.

After driving nearly an hour beyond Salem, the last 15 miles or so on rugged Forest Service roads, the lessons began as we hiked in the next 3 miles by foot.  Lucky for me, we were only going to focus on less than 300 species.  Standing there with my rain proof notebook, and rapidly taking notes with my water proof pen, I quickly abandoned any hope of keeping up with our instruction, and turned instead, to my camera.

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Beautiful, no?

Francene has over 30 years in the home mortgage business, and she loves being part of the Portland community. Connect with her on Facebook for Portland-centric updates and news or subscribe to her newsletter to receive monthly resources and tips just for locals. If you’re interested in homeownership or refinancing, contact her today to schedule a consultation and find out more about Portland mortgage options.