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The home the mayor built

Derrold Ulmer built this house for his retirement, but never took full advantage of it

Priced at nearly $8 million - give or take $50,000 - the Columbia Gorge home and ranch of the late Derald Ulmer, former mayor of Wood Village, is on the market again.

Christy Hartman of Golden Eagle Real Estate in Fairview launched the sale of the spectacular 14,000-square-foot home on 96 acres at the top of Cabbage Hill near Springdale with a Realtor's open house Tuesday, June 13.

Following Ulmer's death in August 2005, the house was sold at auction and purchased by a Portland investor who engaged Hartman and her seven-member office to market the gated property.

'What an opportunity,' Hartman said at Tuesday's open house. 'And to get to offer such a house right in our own area.'

Any sale over $6 million will top the record price for sale of a listed property in the Portland metropolitan area, Hartman says. Setting her sights on breaking that record, Hartman engaged an interior decorator to put furnishings in the home and showed off the result.

The house, built in a low horizontal line in the style of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is cut into a hilltop at the end of Lampert Road north of Springdale. Located on a former daffodil and gladiolus farm, it offers lofty views of the western Columbia River Gorge and Portland and a one-of-a-kind vista of the Sandy River Delta and the confluence of the Sandy and Columbia rivers.

Built by Ulmer for his retirement, the home has six bedrooms, 6.2 marble bathrooms, an elevator, eight furnaces, a pool, hot tub and sauna, a workout room, play room, wine room, theater, a full guest or caretaker suite, a 10-car heated garage that holds 14 autos unofficially, and an 8,000-square-foot barn.

Tragically, Ulmer's marriage ended and he died of cancer before he could take full advantage of the home. Ulmer, who served 21 years in Wood Village government, resigned as mayor in 1993 because of his imminent move to the house. He owned Gresham Transfer.

No stranger to East County's winds, Ulmer and home designer Mike Barclay, who grew up in East County and graduated from Reynolds High in 1965, built a home that's almost 'bomb-proof,' Hartman says.

In addition to eight furnaces, three infrastructure rooms contain uncounted water heaters and electrical systems. A huge generator and a propane tank on the site could keep energy flowing 'as if nothing had ever happened,' Hartman said.

Barclay said the house was cut into the hill below the tree line to fit into its environment. 'And we put the forgiving end, the garage, toward the East Wind,' he added.

'Derald was very, very generally specific about what he wanted in the house. He had a wish list, and it was my suggestion that we do the exterior in Frank Lloyd Wright influence. He said, 'There's the view, you know what the weather's like here. I need lots of garage (Ulmer had a large collection of antique cars as well as John Deere tractors); a portico makes sense in this country.' '

Barclay said he has designed quite a few houses as big as the Ulmer home but never one with a better view. 'I hope that whoever ends up in it will enjoy it,' he added.

The interior of the home was designed by Ron Reiter, who chose warm tones in granite and marble. All the woodwork is cherry and high traffic floors are all granite, stone or marble. The exterior ledge stone for the home is from the Midwest and laid horizontally to echo Wright's design themes. One of five fireplaces in the house is of honey ledge stone that has a shining ripple pattern.

At the time Barclay designed the house, the newest notion was separate, but together, his and hers baths. The feminine end of the master bath suite has a closet, Barclay jokes, that could sleep six.

Because it is within the boundaries of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic area, the house was designed to blend into the hill and conforms with scenic area standards.

Hartman, who keeps her horse in the area and knows the neighborhood, is delighted to represent the property and says she has one interested party already.

'I want to find someone who can really live in and enjoy this home,' she said. 'Imagine what a family place it could be.'

The listed price is $7,950,000. Hartman's office phone number is 503-669-9090.