Category Archives: Uncategorized

Thinking Mexico?

While we’re deep into summer here, it’s not too early to think about Mexican investment or retirement property. If you have aspirations to owning south of the border (where more Americans own outside the US than anywhere else), please give me a call or email. I’m happy to connect you to a lender too. During off-season you may get some of the best pricing! To further whet your appetite, take a look at these pics of Puerto Vallarta and the surrounding area.  Phone 503-490-4116 | Homes@SteveStrode.Realtor

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Marriage: It’s Not a Sprint, It’s a Marathon

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Published: 4/15/15. By Steve Strode, PQ Monthly,

Anyone who knows me knows I’m geeked on running and soggy outdoor life. I joined Portland Frontrunners immediately upon moving to the Pacific Northwest, and it became an integral part of my chosen family.  And in my biz as a Realtor, we often have clients who share common interests and passions — many of my clients fit the same scruffy runner/biker/hiker stereotype. How totally cool to have that in one’s profession?

Running also serves as a metaphor for life in general.  The day before sitting down to write this article, I was having a horrible trail run — fueled in part by a prior evening filled with tequila. So I paused on the Wild Cherry Trail in Forest Park, and for the first time read a memorial plaque I’ve run past countless times. On it was a quote from Olympic athlete Julie Isphording, “Running has given me the courage to start, the determination to keep trying, and the childlike spirit to have fun along the way. Run often and run long, but never outrun your joy of running.”

Knowing that this month’s edition was the marriage issue, two gentlemen immediately came to mind as emblematic — Bob Olsen and Bruce Swanson. Bob and Bruce relocated here a few years ago from Baltimore; Bob, 75, is a retired architect/urban planner and Bruce, 69, is a retired minister.  They’ve been together nearly twenty years, and before that were both married — and now have grandchildren. They met at a Gay Married Men’s group in DC, and were introduced by a mutual friend who knew they were both running junkies.  Not to my surprise, their first date was a ½ marathon; and since it was sponsored by the Boy Scouts, they wore t-shirts protesting the BSA’s anti-gay stance.

When you meet Bruce and Bob at their home, you immediately know they have built a loving life together through a shared passion of running and the travel that goes with it. A display of a bazillion finisher medal reads like a timeline. Bob has completed 85 marathons; Bruce has completed 141 marathons and ultras. And their calendar continues to be filled with upcoming races.  Both started running in their 30s and 40s in response to adversity. Bruce was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at the age of 34, has been on medication ever since, and is still considered to have a “terminal” illness. Bob began running for health reasons and recalled memories similar to my own  (the first ¼ mile felt like he was going to die, but eventually it became the time and space to make important decisions, the time to meditate and the time to clear one’s mind).  “Running saved my life,” he says unequivocally.

Distance running enables athletes to travel the world, and experience it way differently than conventional tourists.  The guys reeled off stories of one race after another, in places I never thought organized events. Who knew that Baffin Island held a competition (OK, who even knows where that is precisely, without Googling)? The entire field consisted of 13 marathoners, and 5 ultrarunners — that’s all they had room to host.  And there was Tanzania. And Mongolia. And the Great Wall of China. And Brazil. The list goes on. One of my favorite stories was their race in Antarctica. Due to weather issues on their race day, they couldn’t leave the ship and take the zodiac ashore. So the participants did the entire marathon on the ship — in the form of 422 deck laps.  They had to run the race in shifts; those who weren’t running checked off each lap on a clipboard, one check box at a time.

Bob and Bruce married last year. I asked if they debated whether or not to get married — or if they just knew they would, as soon as it was legal. Bob’s answer was similar to many: “we weren’t sure, but wanted the choice to be ours.”  I was at their wedding last summer in Willamette Park, and it was a really refreshing mix of communities — family from their prior marriages, friends from all over, church community, new friends at Terwilliger Plaza (a continuing care retirement community where they live), and friends from their running group. When I shared that observation, Bob and Bruce said what I saw on wedding day was exactly why they moved to Portland. From a geographic perspective, they feel Portland has the best urban trail running in the country. But more importantly, they could create a blended community.  They had some family already in Portland, they felt welcome and loved at Terwilliger Plaza, could be active in the United Church of Christ, and have buddies of all ages at Frontrunners.

As we were wrapping up our chat, Bob said he wanted to get back to something he said earlier, about just wanting the choice to get married — but not initially feeling it was essential. He recalled that when they had wills drawn up back in Maryland, the term that had to be used in defining their relationship was “legal strangers.”  Now nearly a year after getting married, he’s continually struck by how good it feels to refer to Bruce as his husband when talking to his friends and family.

If Frontrunners ever chooses patriarchs, it’ll be these gents.  Happy trails.

            Steve Strode is a broker with Meadows Group Inc., Realtors in Portland. When he is not selling the American dream, he is probably wallowing on a muddy trail run somewhere in the PNW. He may be reached at steve@sagepacificliving.com.

SOLD – Mt. Tabor View Home

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520 SE 73rd Ave, Portland | 4 BR | 3 Baths | 2 Car Garage | Large Yard | $599,900 | MLS# 15572482

Charming Mt. Tabor eyebrow bungalow, with breathtaking Mt. Hood views from main and upper level. Period details, abundant light and great flow make this home truly special. Entire upstairs is owner’s suite with its own large sitting area. Lower level includes separate entrance, bath, and family room. Like to entertain? Check out the multi-level decks leading down to a large backyard. Lush landscaping and two-car garage to boot!

 

 

Success Stories

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Published 2/18/15. By Steve Strode, PQ Monthly

“Closets are For Clothes.” I remember buying a t-shirt printed thusly when I was about twenty years old. At the time I felt like it was a huge deal to wear it—even in progressive Wisconsin. Yes, left-coasters, Wisconsin has a progressive heritage (disregard current news cycles). Wherever there is a person in the closet, there is a person whose full, true self is diminished in some way. And there is a reason that the closet metaphor has worked so well. Home symbolizes our safe place, our refuge.  I write this on the day that gay marriage becomes legal in Alabama, and it hits home how different life can be in the LGBT community depending upon which side of a state line we live.

On this third anniversary of PQ, I’m reflecting on its purpose—to write about what is, what should be, what we’ve done wrong and what we’ve done right. In these pages we’ve read regularly about the trials and tribulations of dudes dating in an app-based world. We report on various phobias, and create new terminology to help understand why many in a “Q-diaspora” are still marginalized or at-risk.  This is really important stuff and the only way to effect positive change. But it’s nice to reflect on the good stuff too.

This month I’m not writing about the brick and mortar, or transactional side of real estate.  But rather, I’m focusing on my subsection of the LGBT community—chiefly, gay men who have managed to stick together for decades or more. Not because we’re special in any way; rather, because there are both universal themes in maintaining committed relationships, combined with the ability to write ones own rules.
Through the power of Facebook, I reconnected with a colleague from many years ago named Tim Clausen. In addition to being a talented jazz pianist, he is a great interviewer—the kind of guy with a soft and soothing voice that would make anyone want to open up and share. For example, post-9/11, he conducted interviews with widows, then sent them the recordings to share with their young children once they were old enough to learn about their lost parent. It takes a special guy to come up with that idea. I was happy to learn that Tim just released a book entitled Love Together: Long Term Male Couples on Healthy Intimacy and Communication.

For the book he interviewed about a hundred couples from throughout the United States, and chose a couple dozen for print. Just entering the 19th year with my partner, I really wish I would have had something like this to read early on. Most of us didn’t have the benefit of same-gender parents to learn from, or a how-to manual on how gay coupledom works. From my perspective of how the world worked, you find someone—the one—and once you’ve decided you loved that someone, you settle down.  While gay marriage was still illegal everywhere, the relationship was to resemble mom and pop’s.

One of the couples that Tim interviewed for the book were from Portland—Eric Marcoux and Eugene Woodworth, partnered for sixty years. Eugene has since passed, but I really enjoyed reading about their relationship and hearing Tim speak so fondly of them on a recent public radio show. They shared their stories of how they met, and techniques they used to stay together for so many years.  Like any long-term relationship, there was the spark that brought them together. But it was a combination of ongoing communication, intentional routines, and impulsive bits of generosity that helped maintain the bonds for a lifetime. “Consistency and continuity keep our relationship growing. By consistency I mean we are constantly telling each other ‘I love you’ and constantly touching each other. For a relationship to last, make sure it’s based on love rather than lust. There’s nothing wrong with lust, but it may not last that long.” That’s a tough one to reconcile, since men are so visually oriented (want confirmation? Scroll through almost any gay guy’s web browser history).

Couples in the book also engage in frank discussions about monogamy versus open relationships. Years ago, I was told that couples who were open were looking to fill a void, to make up for a deficiency. It was just a last-gasp attempt before breaking up, rather than enhancing an already full life.  Again, communication enables couples to write their own rules and decide what works. In the decade since moving to Portland, I’ve seen every type of gay relationship arrangement; some work, some fail.  But we’re allowed to figure it out, perhaps with more freedom than our straight counterparts. And I know Tim’s words will provide insight and inspiration to many.

In the book, I read a quote from Eric Marcoux that I think could’ve been written by Jose, my partner. And if you know him, I know you agree he’d say that about me! “We’re quite different, and he really does irritate me a lot, but I’ve never loved anybody the way I love him.”

Steve Strode is a broker with Meadows Group Inc., Realtors in Portland. When he is not selling the American dream, he is probably wallowing on a muddy trail run somewhere in the PNW. He may be reached at  steve@sagepacificliving.com. For more info on the book visit: www.lovetogetherbook.com.

SOLD – Calling all Mod Lovers and Urban Farmers

SOLD – 530 N Russet St, Portland | 3 BR | 1 & 1/2 Baths | NEW PRICE – $389,900

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Here is your antidote to cookie-cutter new construction! This extensively updated ranch lives large while retaining an efficient footprint. Sited privately on a large lot, think of this as the oasis for the urban farmer who likes to entertain. Updates inside include Marvin wood windows, quartz floors, wood stove, water heater, hybrid heat pump, and ductwork. Party flow with large dining room and impressive vaulted great room – complete with wet bar, home theater wiring & secluded patio. Outside bonuses include a second kitchen and patio, plentiful fruit & veggie gardens, and a dozen fruit trees. Enjoy!

Wednesday | Stats Day

Metropolitan Sales Areas
What’s Your Market’s Median Home Price?

Click on your metropolitan statistical area to get the latest quarterly median home price for your market, and its percentage change from the previous year.

This housing data is provided by the Research division of the National Association of REALTORS, last updated November 11, 2009. I’ll post it again when the next update is released.


View Metropolitan Sales Areas in a larger map