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The shopping mall of garage sales

There's something for everyone at the Sandee Palisades yard sale
by: File photo These dolls were for sale at the Sandee Palisades Yard Sale in a previous year.

I cannot pretend to be an unbiased journalist for this assignment - a write-up on the 13th annual Sandee Palisades All-Neighborhood Yard Sale in Troutdale.

As a frugal penny-pincher and lover of garage sales, I've scored an antique dresser, an entire nursery of furniture for my first child and my favorite denim jacket at this event scheduled on Father's Day weekend.

But what is it about this particular neighborhood-wide sale that's so great?

'I think it's because we're sort of our own little town here,' said Lisa Noreen, who started the sale 13 years ago after moving to Troutdale from Minnesota, where she organized a similar event.

The neighborhood is centered on a wide loop, criss-crossed with through streets and accented by cul-de-sacs. There are only two ways in and out, so it's easy to park and walk around while browsing the sales. Two parks offer shade and portable toilets, at least on Saturday. And enterprising children sell cool drinks and snacks for those who work up an appetite.

'I think it's pretty unique,' said Brandi Lynn, a three-year resident. 'It turns into almost a fair-like setting. … The entire neighborhood is completely packed with people.'

Last year, Lynn participated by shopping and found toys, a beach bag, a tree swing, dishes and an assortment of odds and ends.

'This year I've been saving stuff,' she said. Instead of donating her 3-year-old daughter's outgrown toys, clothes and kid-gear to charity, she's selling them.

Noreen said many young families in the neighborhood consider the annual sale a chance to de-clutter.

And it's an opportunity Noreen, a mother of two girls ages 10 and 7, will never squander again. 'Last year was the first time I didn't have a sale,' she said. 'And later in the year the clutter from the whole rotation of clothes was amazing.'

She ended up giving eight bags of clothes to friends. 'It's a cleansing for all moms,' Noreen said.

As for the sale's shopping aspect, 'There's always something,' Noreen added. 'We bought a canoe one year, a wooden canoe.'

Emma Larsen bought her house in Sandee Palisades four years ago, in part because of the annual yard sale. 'The first time I came to the neighborhood was for the garage sale,' she said. Within a year, she was looking for a new house and noticed one for sale in Sandee Palisades. Arriving at the house for a walk through, she remarked, 'I bought a tricycle from a garage sale here.'

Her family bought the house 'and ever since we've lived here we've had a garage sale,' she said. Her 10-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son sell licorice and beverages, and last year had a smashing success with their bottle-cap magnets. 'It's a good learning experience for them,' she said, adding that they also help price items to sell in the family's garage sale.

As for the annual event's success, 'I call it the shopping mall of garage sales because there's so many people and so many sales in one area, you can just walk to them all just like in a mall,' she said.

You know how sometimes you'll hear about a garage sale, drive over, check it out and leave empty-handed and mildly disappointed, Larsen inquired.

That doesn't happen with this event, she said.

The compact area, convenience and wide assortment of items 'makes it worthwhile,' she said. 'And it's a great way to meet your neighbors.'

Present, future or otherwise.

If you go

What: 13th annual Sandee Palisades All-Neighborhood Yard Sale

When: Various times Friday, June 17, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 18, also known as 'The Big Day.'

Where: The Sandee Palisades Neighborhood is north of Southeast Stark Street in Troutdale and is accessible by Evans and Hampton avenues.

Details: Families throughout this neighborhood de-clutter with the area's annual sale, which is always the weekend of Father's Day. Some households take part in Friday's pre-sale, but Saturday is when the real action is. It's also the only day that portable toilets are set up at the neighborhood's two public parks - Sandee Palisades Park and Lewellyn Park. Big Item Maps also are available at six locations throughout the area.

Parking: There's no parking on either side of Stark Street from east of Southeast Evans Street to Southeast Stott Circle, as well as on the west side of Hampton Avenue.