New Street of Dreams is 'down to earth'
Organizers for this year's event say Bull Mountain homes are half the size, cost of previous years
The sound of hammers and drills is in the air as crews work to complete the 2011 NW Natural Street of Dreams in time for its Aug. 6 opening.
Located at Brentwood Estates, off 155th Avenue and Bull Mountain Road, the five homes are quickly taking shape.
'We're ahead of schedule,' said Amy Rosenberg, Street of Dreams spokeswoman, as she steps over extension cords and hammers in one the homes. 'Which is rare compared to some of the Street of Dreams' in the past.'
This year, the month-long showcase will be different in other ways too, she said.
While the homes are still an impressive size - each an average of 4,000 square feet - they are drastically smaller than the 12,000 square-foot homes seen 10 years ago, and unlike years past, all of the homes cost less than $1 million.
'The show constantly evolves with the times,' said Nancy Haskin, Vice President of Shows for the Portland Metro Home Builder's Association. 'This year's homes are indicative of our post-recession state and represent a more economical and efficient way of living.'
Rosenberg described this year's Street as more 'attainable' for people.
'In the past, it's been more of the chandelier-imported-from-overseas type home,' she said. 'Whereas this year it's been brought back down to earth in a way.'
'We're returning to our roots'
Of course the homes still have that distinctive Street of Dreams flair.
'Here is where they'll put the putting green' Rosenberg said, gesturing to the backyard of one of the homes.
Another home has several full grown trees planted in the living room, and all of the homes will feature large, outdoor kitchens.
'We're returning to our roots,' Rosenberg said. 'In the last few years the homes have been scattered all over town and the year before they were condos, not houses. This year they are all on one block.'
Because the Bull Mountain site is located within the Urban Grown Boundary, Rosenberg said, the regional government Metro has required that each home come with attached second residences to increase density.
In general, the attached dwellings are meant to represent sustainability, affordability and multi-generational living, Rosenberg said, all of which are major themes in this year's homes.
Place to spend the day
This year's Street of Dreams showcase will also include concerts, wine tastings and cooking demonstrations at each of the homes, Rosenberg said, with a larger focus on entertainment along with the homes.
KINK FM will hold street parties every Thursday during the month-long festival, with performances by Northwest artists including Matt Brown, Redwood Son and Tyler Stenson.
'Finding a place to hold the Street of Dreams is a challenge every year,' said Hallie Gentry, director of shows for the Home Builder's Association. 'This site really worked out and its been really great for us. The lot sizes are big and there's plenty of space and there are places for people to park. It made for a really great location.'
Gentry said it is nice to have a location on Bull Mountain because it reflects a more traditional Street of Dreams.
'Just about anyone can spend a day or part of a day here and have a nice experience,' she said.
See for yourself
What: NW Natural Street of Dreams
Where: Brentwood Estates on Bull Mountain, corner of 155th Avenue and Bull Mountain Road.
When: Aug. 6 through Aug. 28 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily
How much: $12 for adults. Free for children under 6.