Blog Buyer I Heart Irvington!

I Heart Irvington!

By Living Room Realty, September 29, 2023

One buyer’s experience moving from Seattle to Irvington, Portland.

Almost exactly nine years ago, my family and I moved from NW Seattle (think Ballard, but not as cute) to the Irvington neighborhood of Portland. Anyone in their right mind would be delighted to move into this gorgeous historic neighborhood with tree-lined streets and homes that look in-the-starting-blocks-ready for a Street of Dreams tour. I never would have dreamed that I’d one day live in such a neighborhood or home, but my then current life situation wasn’t allowing me to see things clearly. I couldn’t fathom our future in this city and how it could be any better than the life we cultivated in Seattle.

Just before our move, my dad unexpectedly passed. Reeling from this horrible and sudden loss and jetting twice to the East Coast for his funeral and settling affairs, we were also dealing with selling our Seattle home and the massive aftermath of a dreadful sewer scope that resulted piles of rubble four feet high and trenches just as deep INSIDE our home. (**Sewer scopes were not a necessary part of home inspections at the time we purchased our Seattle home, but were required at the time we sold #poorluck). I had a two-year-old and was often running solo as my partner worked out of state for weeks at a time.

At a time when I needed the stability and calm of familiarity, I was packing up my home and my toddler, sedated my two cats, and headed south to a city I barely knew. I should mention that I will forever be indebted to our Seattle real estate agent, Bill. While we were back East, he project-managed the work being done in our home, permitting me to focus on family matters. He provided truly above and beyond service, without special mention, as if this was the sort of effort any agent would provide; I learned later on that, in fact, he was exceptional.

But we had to move; the house was sold and someone else was looking forward to moving in and a four square in Portland had been sitting for weeks waiting for us to inhabit it. Weary and sad, we left our friends and special places of twelve years and arrived in NE Portland one late afternoon in early November. With all that we were dealing with in settling my dad’s affairs back East, resettling my mom into a new living situation, packing/staging/selling our Seattle home, and repairing the ground zero-like situation that was our home, we regrettably forgot to have our power turned on in the Portland home. The home was cold and dark and not comfortably habitable, so our first night in Portland was spent in a hotel down the street. Portland was not scoring any points with me…

The home wasn’t either as within the first week of living there, we had three independent leaks revealed in our living room, which evolved into months of project managing sub-contractors to make the necessary repairs. Doing all this single-parenting for most of the time, grieving my dad’s loss, and in a town where I knew no one was nearly the end of me. Until they started showing up…

My neighbors. They delivered still-warm brownies to my front door. They hosted a street-wide wine and cheese party to welcome us, sharing local lore and giving us the lowdown on things like who throws the annual ugly-holiday-sweater party (you know, the important stuff). Neighborhood kids played with my kid, providing a social network for her, and tiny respites for me. Neighbors offered home grown flowers and veggies (and gardening tips—apparently, I needed some). I would soon learn that our street’s block party was something to be envied by neighboring streets and that families rearranged their summer vacations so as not to miss it. They are quite epic! On our block we have teachers, a financial expert, a PT, a retired zoo keeper, a helicopter and an airline pilot, business owners, architects, heads of two different local non-profits—a combination that make up a gloriously weird and definitely very interesting pizza of a community with hearts of gold.

It’s a bunch that look out for each other, watching pets and watering gardens while others are on vacation. We have a Facebook group specifically for those on our street where we share everything from neighborhood safety alerts to a sudden abundance of pie that someone would like to share. We’ve shared intimate losses and celebrated new puppies, birthdays, and weddings. One couple shut down the street for their wedding reception, inviting all the neighbors to enjoy the fully catered event that included live entertainment. It was the first time my daughter met a drag queen and was beside herself with joy!

The more I experienced the love, support and inclusion of this group, it became harder and harder for me to deny what a special place we landed in. It took a couple years of soldiering through my grief to finally feel like I could say ‘I was home’. Yes, Irvington has good schools and proximity to parks, shopping, coffee and cafes. Yes, Irvington has a bookstore, a specialized shop for bird lovers and another for plant lovers. Yes, Irvington has loads of big, old trees, interesting topography, and historic homes with great architectural significance that you can tour with the guidance of The Irvington Historic Society. It’s home to a locals’ favorite consignment store that people seek out from around the city. It is all of this and so much more, but without that human connection, it could all just fall flat.

These human connections are what make this neighborhood flourish and provide meanning. One could say that these wholesome connections foster and support a quality of life that is just as whoesome. I’ve fallen in love with this city, but moreso I’ve fallen in love with the people in Irvington. #iheartirvington

Living Room Realty

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