Category: New Residence

Another Duplicate House

The new three-level house, located at 285 SE 90th Ave, is an exact duplicate of one at 1430 NE 72nd Ave. That house is also under construction with a similar completion date. Scot Harger owns both Properties, and Thogerson Designs created the blueprints for the homes.

These twin homes are the second set currently under construction in Montavilla. Many home buyers expect originality in architecture found in Portland’s older neighborhoods. However, reused blueprints are not uncommon in the region. This practice started over a hundred years ago with house kits from Sears Modern Homes. These identical structures are just the modern version of a long-standing tradition, saving costs by reusing construction documents. With these houses spread across the neighborhood, it will be difficult for anyone to notice the replication.

The driveway to this new home slopes down to a tuck-under garage. Inside the garage, to the left, is a hallway leading to the stairway up to the main floor. Off the hallway is a door to the lower level living area. Rooms on this floor have labels such as a recreation room, wet bar, and bedroom five. However, this area is essentially a separate one-bedroom apartment, with a private full bathroom, washer/dryer, and exterior entrance.

The main floor is several feet above the street-level, requiring a flight of stairs to get up to the covered front porch. The porch extends two-thirds the width of the house, stopping at the garage door. Inside the front door, there is an L-shaped stairway leading upstairs. To the right is the Great Room with a fireplace on the south wall. In the back right corner of the room is a Dining area. Although it is not walled off, the Dining area has 6-inch by 6-inch posts defining the room’s corners. A box beam ceiling further defines the space. A substantial 10-foot wide sliding glass door opens from the Dining area onto a fourteen by ten foot raised back deck.

To the left of the Dining area is the Kitchen, arranged in an L shape. Creating the boundary to the Kitchen is a large island with bar seating. The half bathroom sits in the back right corner of the main floor. Enclosed by double glass doors, bedroom four is on the front left side of the main floor. It is ideal for a home office instead of a bedroom, but has a closet and counts towards bedrooms.

The top floor has two standard sized bedrooms on the left side. They share a full bathroom located at the top of the stairs. A laundry room is off to the right of the stairway. The master suite occupies the right half of the top floor. The bedroom portion is fourteen feet square and topped by a tray ceiling. Beyond the bedroom is a double vanity on one side and soaking tub on the other. The ensuite area extends back further to include a toilet room, shower, and a large walk-in closet.

Unlike its duplicate, this home fronts on an unimproved road. It will be interesting to see if the builder creates sidewalks and a partial road around this corner lot. If not, it will be a useful experiment seeing if the difference between paved and unpaved roads will affect the home’s price.

Duplicate Infill Houses

Under construction at 8014 SE Madison Street, the new three-bedroom house shares the exact layout as another recently completed house in Montavilla. 1328 NE 76th Ave by Wilde Properties completed construction at the beginning of the year. Both houses use the same plan set provided by Thogerson Designs.

The listing for 1328 NE 76th Ave contains some interior images. However, it is likely that Capital Builders LLC, the developer of 8014 SE Madison Street, will use different finishes in this project. Exterior cladding may also utilize other materials and colors.

As with the other house, a single car garage occupies eleven feet of the fifteen-foot wide home. Set back eight feet from the front of the house is the entryway. This setback has the advantage of reducing hallway length from the front door to the rest of the house and provides a covered porch. Inside the front door, a four-foot-wide hallway leads back to the center of the house. Just before reaching the great room is a small 1/2 bath, tucked under the U-shaped stairs. The bathroom is small enough you could wash your hands while seated but has adequate headroom. The Great Room with a gas fireplace is beyond the U-shaped stairs. Above the fireplace are hookups for a wall-mounted TV. The kitchen and dining area occupy the back of the first floor. A sliding glass door leads out to the back yard.

The master bedroom fills the front of the second floor. The ensuite contains a double vanity, separate shower, and soaking tub. Across from the ensuite is a double-wide closet. The ensuite wall and the closet doors form a ten-foot long hallway to the master bedroom door. Having the hallway in the room gives the bedroom an extra level of privacy, even if the door is open.

At the top of the stairs is a shallow linen closet. The hallway stretches down the right side of the building, ending in a full bathroom, taking up the second floor’s right back corner. The left side, of the rear portion of the level, is split between two bedrooms and a laundry room. The Laundry room is between two standard bedrooms and backed against the closets for each bedroom.

Reusing blueprints is not uncommon in this type of construction. Considering that there are few successful designs for a narrow lot, there are bound to be replication and reuse. Having two different builders construct a house from the same plans will be interesting to observe. Each one should put a unique spin on design, highlighting how substantially finishes can change a home’s appearance.

Spacious House Construction on 72nd

A new three-level house, located at 1430 NE 72nd Ave, is under construction. In what will likely become the largest house on the block, this five-bedroom house will have around 2,500 square feet of living space.

The driveway to this new home slopes down to a tuck-under garage. Inside, to the left of the garage is a hallway leading to the stairway up to the main floor. Off the hallway is a door to the lower level living area. Rooms on this floor have labels such as a recreation room, wet bar, and bedroom five. However, this area is essentially a separate one-bedroom apartment, with a private full bathroom, washer/dryer, and exterior entrance.

The main floor is several feet above the street-level, requiring a flight of stairs to get up to the covered front porch. The porch extends two-thirds the width of the house, stopping at the garage door. Inside the front door, there is an L shaped stairway leading upstairs. To the right is the Great Room with a fireplace on the south wall. In the back right corner of the room is a Dining area. Although it is not walled off, the Dining area has 6-inch by 6-inch posts defining the room’s corners. A box beam ceiling further defines the space. A substantial 10-foot wide sliding glass door opens from the Dining area onto a fourteen by ten foot raised back deck.

To the left of the Dining area is the Kitchen, arranged in an L shape. Creating the boundary to the Kitchen is a large island with bar seating. The half bathroom sits in the back right corner of the main floor. Enclosed by double glass doors, bedroom four is on the front left side of the main floor. It is ideal for a home office instead of a bedroom, but has a closet and counts towards bedrooms.

The top floor has two standard sized bedrooms on the left side. They share a full bathroom located at the top of the stairs. A laundry room is off to the right of the stairway. The master suite occupies the right half of the top floor. The bedroom portion is fourteen feet square and is topped by a tray ceiling. Beyond the bedroom is a double vanity on one side and soaking tub on the other. The ensuite area extends back further to include a toilet room, shower, and a large walk-in closet.

In some ways, this large modern craftsman home attempts to blend into the neighborhood through architecture. It features a hip-roof, decorative dormer window, and other attributes to match the neighborhood’s aesthetic. However, its size will make it a unique fixture on the street. It looks to be an impressive house with a high-end home buyer in mind.

Mt Tabor Villas Opens to Residents

The twelve unit apartment building at 475 NE 74th Ave has completed construction and is now ready to rent. Named Mt Tabor Villas, this near Glisan Street building sits behind the Candle Light Restaurant. It features many high-end finishes that should attract renters to the area.

Project owner, John Olson, took over this development from another group that had started work on it a few years previous. Progress on the project stalled after the building permits were approved and eventually they sold to Olson. Taking on a project at this phase restricted the ability to alter the project significantly. However, he made his mark on the building by installing quality materials and fixtures. Throughout the apartment, wide door molding and base trim outline the rooms. Bathroom vanities are wall-hung, with linear tile mosaic backsplashes. Kitchens feature stainless steel appliances and subway tile extending from countertop to cabinetry. 

There is no carpet installed anywhere in the building. Instead, Olson selected woodgrain composite planks. Not only are they ecstatically pleasing and durable, but it also allows for most tenants to avoid charges after moving out. The material used for this project holds up well to daily use and requires minimal cleaning between renters. “Everyone wants their deposit back, so our job is to help make that happen.” Said Kaslynn Brewer, Property Manager with Edge Management, who represents this building.

The apartment building does not offer onsite parking and 74th Ave has limited parking on one side of the street. However, the building is well situated for bus and bike commuters. The TriMet 19 bus line runs along Glisan with stops nearby. A secure bike room on the first floor has direct outside access to the side yard, where bike commuters can safely enter the building away from the street. A second door from the bike room leads into the interior hallway.

Side yard provides bike room access from the street.

These apartments are different than most found in Montavilla. Apartments in the area are older and don’t offer secure building entry and convenient bike storage. Mt Tabor Villas is the first in what may soon become a wave of modern apartment buildings coming to the neighborhood. Future developments will likely continue on NE Glisan with Metro’s redevelopment of the TBN site

Move-in dates for Mt Tabor Villas start in October. Expect to see the building full of people in the coming months, making Glisan a bit more lively.



The front stairwell is full of natural light and offers nice views.


UPDATEAn earlier version of this article mistakenly stated that 74th Ave had parking on both sides of the street. Parking is prohibited on the east side of 74th Ave.

12 Unit Apartment on SE 90th

The southeast corner of Montavilla will gain an impressive 12 unit apartment building offering a wide range of different sized residences, with some onsite parking. Located at 2444 SE 90th Ave, the project has affordability and housing diversity at its core. This development aims to bridge the gap between the working class homes around it and the urbanized nature of nearby SE Division.

The development will transform an overgrown patch of land, positioned one parcel back from SE Division Street. The lot has remained empty after the 2009 demolition of both a single-family residence and a detached garage. This portion of SE 90th is an older paved road without sidewalks. Most of the surrounding properties are single-family residences “built during 1925-1971. The architecture of each building is compact and affordable.” Said Kym Nguyen of Concept Design & Associates, the project’s Design Manager.

Nguyen worked to incorporate the functional design of the surrounding buildings into this new three-story apartment building. Many of the design elements chosen will complement the other buildings on the street while incorporating contemporary style. Each apartment offers an open floor-plan desired by modern-day residents. Traditional siding is used in vertical bands to break up the massing on the building’s streetside. The build uses a conventional roofline featuring modest eaves, similar to neighboring properties. 

The project’s owner instructed Nguyen to create a complex that attracted the most comprehensive range of renters. Including older adults, families, single people, and couples. Mixing the unit types between studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom options will help attract a diverse renter. However, greater diversity comes through offering units on the ground floor, making space available to residents needing special mobility consideration. Support for a variety of transportation needs further increases renter diversity. 

The building will offer six garages for residents needing secure parking. PBOT required 17 feet of dedication along SE 90th Ave to accommodate new sidewalks and street parking, adding more parking options for residents. The location is also near both a MAX station and bus lines, providing fast transit downtown. The onsite parking makes a peace offering to the surrounding homeowners who may fear parking congestion. However, this project will encourage mass transit for a portion of residents and help meet the cities environmental goals.

Nguyen explained all phases of the property include resident income considerations. “Affordability is the key for this project, so people are able to afford to buy [them] when these units [convert] to Condos from apartments.” The owner of this property plans to use the rental income from this building for his retirement. However, Nguyen designed them to convert into condominium units eventually. This affordability lifecycle will start with renters and then grow into ownership, perhaps with some of the same residents making the transition with the building.

This project could signal a subtle change in how density housing comes to market. Opening as an inclusive apartment building and then transforming into a condominium may become a successful Portland development path. It can retain the nearby community’s tradition of attainable ownership while first alleviating a housing shortage. Buildings that include some parking are better able to transition from apartment to condominium as many realtors struggle to list properties without a garage.

This is a project to pay attention to over the coming years. Its success could become a model to emulate. They have made many choices through parking, design, and floor plan variety that should meet their longterm goals. Regardless of this project’s future successes as a condominium, it will offer ample housing options now, when Portland needs it most.

2444 SE 90th Ave

Rendering provided by Concept Design & Associates

Single-Family House with Large ADU

UPDATE – Permit 20-140370 is approved. Original story from August 31st, 2020.

The single-family house with ADU project at 342 NE 78th Ave has started site grading ahead of construction. Unlike the conventional implementation of an Accessary Dwelling Unit (ADU), these two homes will be roughly equivalent in layout.

As required, the ADU is smaller than the main house with 650 square feet of floor space. The larger half of this structure is around 860 square feet. They connect along the ADU’s entire long edge, forming left and right halves to the building. Both are two stories tall with two bedrooms and no garage. Both residences’ entrance shares the same front porch located in front of the ADU on the left half.

The ADU’s front door opens to the living room and kitchen. There is an L-Shaped stairway to the right, leading to the second floor. The kitchen area lines the back wall and has a sliding glass door to the left. To the right of the kitchen is a half bath and storage closet tucked under the stairs. The second floor in the ADU has two bedrooms, a laundry closet, and a full bathroom. The frontmost bedroom has a walk-in closet.

The primary home’s front door is on the right side of the porch. Inside the door, there is a straight stairway to the left leading up to the second floor. Ahead there is an L-shaped kitchen area. Walking through the kitchen leads to the open living space with a sliding glass door at the rear. To the left of the living room is a half bath and storage closet under the stairs. On the second floor, there are two bedrooms. A shared 3/4 bathroom, laundry closet, and linen closet occupy the remainder of the second floor. As with the ADU, the front bedroom has a walk-in closet.

Having both units this similar is an uncommon choice and could indicate intent for all units to rent. Homebuyers looking for an ADU often desire the added revenue from renting the unit. Sometimes ADUs allow multi-generation families to live together with autonomy. In both cases, the ADU has been much smaller than the primary residence and often only one level. This novel design’s popularity and function will be interesting to follow and could represent a shift in housing density in the future.

Construction Beginning at Madison Street Infill Home

Heavy equipment is on-site at 8014 SE Madison Street ahead of construction work. A new building permit for a single-family residence was recently issued. The two-story home with one car garage took six months to receive approval.

A fresh spread of crushed rock forms a temporary driveway on the site after many months of inactivity. Plans are not yet available for public review. However, the reduced width of the property and inclusion of an attached garage will limit the floor-plan options for this home. It will likely be similar to other infill homes seen in the neighborhood.

House on Split Lot off Washington

8739 SE Washington Street recently split into two lots, allowing for the addition of a new single-family residence. That new house will face SE 88th Ave and should have an address on that street.

The existing 1947 era house will remain on the site. Removal of the existing detached single-car-garage will be necessary to make way for the new structure. A ten-foot-wide sewer easement is a requirement of the lot division. It will run along the side of the original house from Washington Street to the back lot.

UPDATE – Demolition permit 20-180023 is under review with the city. It seeks to demolish the detached garage in preparation for building a new single-family residence.


Original story posted July 20, 2020

Phased Subdivision

Construction on the 9000 Hoyt Street Subdivision will happen in three phases. The first phase has multiple roles in the further development of this project. The soon to be completed buildings will test the housing market in this area and act as model homes for the remaining unbuilt houses.

The project developer, Todd Spencer, adopted the phased approach as a reaction to the pandemic. “We were a little nervous with COVID, and thought let’s just do three.” Said Spencer. Phased construction is a safe economic choice, allowing the sale of the first three buildings to help finance the remaining development. 

The three houses in phase-one will be on the market before the end of summer. They should sell quickly based on the current market. Like most new homes, the builder selected all finishes in the house. Buyers looking to style a new home to their tastes could opt for one of the subdivisions unbuilt units instead. Buyers of those units can customized flooring, lighting, bathroom fixtures, countertops, and kitchen cabinetry.

The next phase of construction will add four houses along the top of the retaining wall that runs along NE Irving Street. Those houses will have unobstructed views looking north. The final phase will add the two duplex buildings across the private road from the first three buildings. All the buildings, except for the front-most house, will share similar floor plans.

Every unit has 9-foot ceilings, three-panel doors, and each bedroom is a master bedroom with an ensuite. Outdoor decks are accessed through giant glass sliding doors and have natural gas hookups for grills, avoiding the need for propane tanks. Garages come pre-wired for electric car charging. Recessed-can lighting throughout the home keeps the ceiling line clean and unobstructed. Pendant lights over the kitchen island maintain minimal separation between the open floorplan while defining independent spaces. The kitchens use backsplash windows between the upper and lower cabinets, creating a modern design with natural light.

Hardie board, stucco panels, and vertical cedar work together to form the siding on the houses. Spencer selected mixed cladding and a varied color scheme to make these buildings project the modern design within the building. That design ethic incorporates some tradition with other bold choices. This subdivision’s style offers something different than what is immediately around the area and may attract buyers that generally would look closer to the central city. 

Despite the modern theme, the development retained part of its rustic heritage. At the front of the subdivision is a large tree that pushes into the street space. “the tree was a big deal,” said Spencer. Initially, the tree’s removal was needed to make way for the private road into the subdivision. However, Early in the development, the tree was granted a reprieve. Now the roadway snakes around the tree. That change forced the building fronted on the public-street to be smaller than the other buildings in the project. Bike storage and a community trash enclosure fill the space behind the tree, making the layout change beneficial.

Beyond saving old-growth trees, environmentally conscious rainwater management is a consideration for this site. The subdivision retains all rainwater on the property through a mix of Drywells and Pervious Pavers. The pavers create the private road’s surface. Their design allows rainwater to filter between the pavers and absorb it into the ground below. Four shared drywell will accept runoff from the fifteen homes’ gutters and let the water gradually release into the surrounding soil. Spencer admits that environmental concerns cost more, but he appreciates the value it brings to the community.

Originally this subdivision was not a flat lot. It slopes down to the northwest. A tall retaining wall holds back a mountain of soil used to level off the property. The height created by the wall allows for unique city views for the houses above. The wall’s engineering was substantial and caused many months of construction delays. “If I know what I was getting into, I might not have done it.” Said Spencer about building the wall. Ultimately, it has added another defining element to the subdivision that makes it different than many seen in Montavilla.

Todd Spencer stressed the inclusion of upgrades in building these homes. When choosing material, he opted for higher quality and better-designed finishes. The success of those upgrades will only be known when these houses become available for viewing, but they should be evident in the final product. Soon enough, both Spencer and the public will discover how well Montavilla supports this type of subdivision, and its success could bring more like it to the neighborhood.

August Construction Update

Montavilla’s many construction projects continue to make progress at different speeds. COVID-19 has disrupted some schedules while other developments have kept a hurried pace.

342 NE 75th Ave. has completed principle framing. The building’s final shape and style are now visible to neighbors. The cladding will determine how well it blends in with the other houses on the street, but so far, it successfully fits the area.


475 NE 74th Ave finally removed the construction fencing and painted the remaining portion of the building. This twelve unit apartment building project took its time and still may be a ways off from renting to the public.


9000 Hoyt Street subdivision is moving headed with the first three of fifteen new homes. They recently completed the private road for the whole subdivision with pervious pavers.


7901 NE Glisan Street is painted and work at the billiards hall on the right half of the property is progressing inside.