Touring a basement conversion ADU in Portland

Last Thursday, as a part of Design Week Portland, I had the chance to tour this basement conversion ADU (accessory dwelling unit) off NE Prescott:

It was pretty cool! From the outside, you’ll notice both sliding glass and French doors where garage doors used to be. This is because it’s a basement and garage conversion ADU.

In case you aren’t already aware, ADU is shorthand for adding a second living space (bed, bath, and kitchen) to a residential property. ADUs can be inside the existing structure or somewhere else on the property (space-permitting).

More generally, ADUs are neat because they open up a number of opportunities:

  1. In communities without new land to build on, ADUs can be cost-effective infill housing.
  2. ADUs make homeownership more attainable by adding cash-flow to cover the mortgage.
  3. For seniors wanting to downsize, ADUs can offer a “downsize in place” option that lets them stay within the community.

Here’s a pano of the immediate interior:

The developer, Kol Peterson, has been building and consulting on ADUs for almost a decade now through his company, Accessory Dwelling Strategies. He’s also written a book, Backdoor Revolution, that’s incredibly informative and information-dense. I’m already at page ~150.

As far as building an ADU in our house goes, I’ve already discovered what Kol identifies in the book as a classic regulation blocker:

(5) In addition to the parking spaces required in TDC 73.370 for the detached single-family dwelling, one paved on-site parking space shall be provided for the accessory dwelling unit and the space shall not be within five feet of a side or rear property line.

In short, we need a three car driveway in order to permit an ADU. But, we only have two slots and there’s no place to put a third. And, ironically, our neighbor can park six cars in their garage, driveway, and street just fine.


The folks at WhereBy.Us have soft-launched their new Portland media outlet, Bridgeliner:

Check out their first newsletter from yesterday and hit "Subscribe" in the top left if it's something you're interested in.


Biking from Tualatin to Portland for SRCCON

Growing up, I always rode the cheap bike from Costco. I didn’t know what it was like to actually enjoy biking until I ended up with a Trek 7.3 for my birthday last summer.

SRCCON is pretty much my favorite conference of all time. The first year was in Philly, and the second year was in Minneapolis. This year, SRCCON ended up in Portland, on my birthday to boot, which meant I could do the unthinkable: attend SRCCON by bike.

As it turns out, there’s a great bike path for all but a quarter mile or so of the ride.

Tualatin to Portland

From Tualatin Community Park, ride through Cook Park and then along Hall Blvd. You’ll go past the Tigard Public Library, over 217, and then eventually end up on Oleson Rd. There’s a short jaunt on Garden Home, then you end up on Multnomah Blvd for quite a while. The one sketchy part of the route there is where Multnomah turns into Terwilliger, and you have to bike on the odd combo off/on-ramp. From Terwilliger, you turn right onto Barbur for a short while, then drop down to the waterfront near Willamette Sailing Club. It took me about an hour to get to this point. The waterfront then connects you to whatever part of downtown you want to go to.

2016-07-29 at 4.43 PM

Portland to Tualatin

Surprisingly, Google Maps doesn’t just reverse the route for the ride home. Coming from the Pearl, I ended up taking Broadway to Terwilliger, where I rode in the shade for quite a while. After Terwilliger, you take Capitol Hwy to Multnomah Blvd again, then reverse tracks home.

2016-07-29 at 4.43 PM -2

Awesome way to spend the day!


Portland’s housing market in a nutshell

We made an offer on a house yesterday, $50k over asking price. This is the first offer we’ve made in the year or so we’ve been looking. Woodstock, the neighborhood, is becoming more popular, but isn’t yet a Sellwood or the Pearl.

Today we learned:

  1. Our offer wasn’t accepted.
  2. Not only was our offer not accepted, but it wasn’t even close to being the leading offer. The accepted offer was likely more than $100k over asking price.
  3. There were 27 offers on the house. It was on the market for four days in the middle of the week.

Insanity. According to our realtor, RMLS reported the month of March as having the lowest inventory in Portland since September 2005.

A full fridge is the sign of a happy home

Or so I’ve always thought. Our fridge tonight contains:

  • Homemade whey (and it’s corresponding cream cheese).
  • Fermented salsa. Leah has a new, quadruply-spicy batch on the counter.
  • Half an avocado. Bobo is eating these like it’s her job. Go Bobo!
  • Homemade watermelon citrus gummies. "Tummy Gummies" — good for the gut!
  • Eggs by the dozen. Duh.
  • Cheese: cheddar, blue, parmesan, Babybel, smoked gruyere, Brie
  • Corn tortillas. Eggs, tortillas, avocado and fermented salsa is pretty much the best breakfast ever.
  • Homemade quinoa, cashew Asian salad.
  • Homemade lasagna. It’s vegetarian, but you wouldn’t know with the awesome mushrooms it has.
  • Fruit: blueberries, strawberries, watermelon. Veggies: zucchini, onions, red pepper, asparagus, carrot, brussel sprouts.
  • Crab caught by my dad this morning from Nehalem Bay.


#phppdx: WordPress as an Application Platform

Last night, I presented to ~25-30 people at the PDX PHP meetup on “WordPress as an Application Platform”. Even though I’m no longer with Human Made, I think what they’ve done with WP Remote (and Happytables) is the bleeding edge and worthy of sharing.

Ultimately, the point I wanted to get across is two-fold:

  • Many applications you could think of building are easily doable with WordPress.
  • WordPress-based products are even more interesting when you have a few, and durable components to share between them.

After the talk, I asked Zack for his feedback:

  • Went well: introduction via Freshbooks example really set the stage for what we were talking about. Avoided misunderstanding / different opinions of what a web application was.
  • Next time: Challenge people more. Explanation of how HM built WP Remote was a bit surface level. Could’ve gone deeper into the architecture as a frame of reference for people when they run into it.


All of the references I mentioned in the slides are available at the following links.

WP Remote components:

  • Job Agency – Asynchronous jobs system for WordPress, built on WP-CLI.
  • HM Rewrite – Wrapper for the WP Rewrite API.
  • h-api – Simple, descriptive API pattern. Needs work for public consumption.

Object cache drop-ins:

Future of WordPress: