While it was the guiding light in his house hunt, price wasn't the only factor for first-time home buyer Ben Klick.

'Obviously, location is a big one,' he says. Klick grew up in Northeast Portland, and ideally, that's where he would have bought a house. However, he expanded his hunt to Gresham and Southeast Portland.

'It was a matter of where am I going to be able to afford a house that's not just walls and a roof,' he says.

Klick is now a proud owner of a home in Hazelwood, which is part of the Gateway area of Portland.

By and large, 'Gateway has been ignored,' real estate agent Mark Schaeffer says. However, he expects that will change: 'There's an awful lot going on in Gateway.

'Gateway, if people are willing to go a little bit east, has got good access to (Interstate) 205, 84 and light rail,' Schaeffer continues. 'The commercial neighborhood has cleaned up and improved an awful lot.

'It's in the north and close in. It's a very affordable neighborhood, and you can find different styles of homes and look for a little more land' than a comparably sized home closer to downtown, Schaeffer says.

'It's in a decent neighborhood,' Klick agrees. 'When you drive up, there are quite a few houses where their yards are kept up, the houses are painted. É It's got curb appeal.'

Hazelwood Neighborhood Association president Arlene Kimura is quick to extoll the virtues of her area.

'Hazelwood is a continuously changing mix of old and new residents, buildings and businesses,' she says. 'This makes it a very vital place to live, which is good since we have little in the way of scenic vistas or historical buildings.

'Things began to change with the original east-side light rail and continue with the urban renewal (of) Gateway,' Kimura says. 'The influx of substantial immigrant groups to east Portland is another addition that is happening. I believe that Hazelwood is adjusting to and accommodating these changes while also addressing the issues of established population.'

Kristine Kisky

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