Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


'Woodstock Gateway' block: Change in plans

by: ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF - Vic Remmers, a 65 former basketball player at Oregon State University, and the current co-owner of Everett Homes NW, visited the Woodstock Land Use Committee to explain why several of the houses on his Gateway Block are now up for sale. Renderings of houses built by his company are displayed behind, on a bulletin board, at the Woodstock Community Center.When “for sale” signs went up recently in front of the two historic houses on Woodstock’s “gateway block”, questions began to fly. Weren’t these homes part of the deal closed recently by Everett Homes NW, where a commitment had been made to renovate – or, perhaps better yet, restore – the homes at 3908 and 3932 S.E Woodstock Boulevard? Why were they up for sale again?

At a meeting of the Woodstock Neighborhood Association Land Use Committee on May 15th, Vic Remmers, co-owner with his father of Everett Homes NW, gave an explanation.

“We’ve put those two houses up for sale for thirty days to see if someone wants to buy, live in, and restore them.”

He said these fixer-upper homes at 3908 and 3932 are listed for $330,000 and $400,000, respectively.

“These houses have so much value to them, architecturally. This gives someone the opportunity for a big house at a decent price. After restoration, you will have an incredible home.”

Earlier in the week, Remmers had informed the land use committee that his company was not in the business of restoring old houses, but rather building new ones in the style of older homes. At the meeting he explained what they will do if no one buys the houses “as is”.

“I’ve been working with a few guys who do restoration. If the houses don’t sell, I’ll contact them.”

Attendees at the land use meeting emphasized to Remmers the considerable historic, as well as architectural, value of the two turn-of-the-century Craftsman style homes – especially the one at 3908 S.E. Woodstock. What Mr. Remmers will do next with these particular two houses remains to be seen; his company is currently busy building a four-story apartment building with no on-site parking at S.E. 17th and Tacoma Street in Sellwood.

In the meantime, Whitney Menzel, a research engineer who lives in an historic home adjacent to the gateway block, was curious, and began uncovering the history of the 3908 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard corner home as a “hobby”, many months ago.

Using his research skills and Internet resources he plunged with passion into the story of Captain George Pope, a Scottish seaman, ship builder, and successful commercial shipping businessman, who’d had the home built. Pope lived there from 1908 to 1925.

“Captain Pope had a huge influence on this community. He was a very active community citizen, and well-known for his cultivation and propagation of sweet peas, and for his encouragement of children in that hobby. He was president of a sweet pea society that educated a lot of people in the neighborhood,” recounted Menzel at the meeting. One of Pope’s obituaries in 1925 stated: “He is said to have done more than any other one man to promote a love of flowers among the people of Portland.”

Menzel reports that Capt. Pope was president of the Woodstock Improvement Club and had a keen interest (no surprise!) in local street improvement. And at one point, the Captain won an award for the best-kept lawn.

Woodstock neighbor Menzel encourages others to do research on their own houses by using a feature of the new Multnomah County Library website, HYPERLINK "www.multcolib.org" www.multcolib.org – “My MCL” – and then click the “research” tab. “Here you can find many useful links,” reports Menzel. “The ‘Sanborn Maps’ resource helps you find your old address and street names. With the old address, use the Heritage Quest Census resource to pin down the original or early owner. Finally, use the Oregonian [newspaper] historical archive to search for any articles that have been written about the person. You may get lucky and find more than you were expecting.”

Menzel adds, “A great way to learn more about researching your property is to use the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) ‘Researching Your Historic Property’ user guide found online at: www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/146266. This publication will guide you through the resources mentioned above, and provide others to help you with your historic home research.”

To see a map of the Woodstock “Gateway Block” development go online to: HYPERLINK "www.woodstockpdx.org" www.woodstockpdx.org – and click on the “Welcome to Woodstock” sign, for current land use issues and documents.