Amid snow flurries and below-freezing temperatures, the 35th Annual Duniway Elementary School Holiday Home Tour tradition continued on Friday, December 6th.

Of the seven homes open to the public, it was the fourth stop – the home of Nancy and Charlie Hales – that most folks said they wanted to see.

Event co-chairs Laura Core and Amy Rosenberg were at the Hales home when THE BEE visited.

“Of the seven lovely homes on the tour this year,” Core explained, “Four of them are homes of current Duniway school families, one has a graduated-Duniway student, one is a family new to the Eastmoreland neighborhood. And, there’s the Mayor’s house.”

Families have different reasons for opening their homes to strangers during the tour, Core said.

“Some tell us they participate because they know it is a great fundraiser for our school. Others say it’s a great way to meet their neighbors. And, we’ve been told that others participate because being on the tour encourages them to finish up their home remodeling projects.”

Homes are typically shown by tour docents. Nancy Hales elected to greet visitors to the home she shares with Portland’s Mayor.

“We decided to participate, after we were asked by an event chair, and by Deborah Kafoury, who has children at Duniway Elementary School,” Hales said. “It seemed like a really fun thing to do. And, it made us get our decorated tree up earlier.”

It was the right decision, Hales reflected. “In fact, this is wonderful. I love to open my home; it’s very much a part of who I am.

“Already this morning, I’ve been meeting my neighbors, and people who are bringing friends from other part of the city,” Hales smiled. “Personally, this is a wonderful opportunity to meet people and make new friends.”

A visitor, Martha Shipley, smiled as she looked around the Hales’ formal dining room and spied the beverage cart. “You can learn a lot about folks by looking around their home – like their appreciation of Temperance Trader brand Straight Bourbon Whiskeys. I’m quite sure they’re produced by a Northwest Portland distillery.”

The event is important to Duniway, pointed out co-chair Core. “This is our biggest PTA fundraiser. Without this we would not have great school programs that we have.”

Programs this annual tour supports, she said, include cultural field trips, and the parent-run art program. “This art program is essential to our curriculum. It also helps support adding new classroom technology.”

As the evening tour was winding down, co-chair Amy Rosenberg told THE BEE that the tour this year had raised “more than $20,000. We were happy – in fact, very happy. We feel it is a success, because we met our fundraising goal, even in inclement weather.”

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