Keep Your Chin Up- Portland Mural

The Keep Your Chin Up mural at NE 21st and NE Alberta Street on the Aladdin Finishers building at 2127 NE Alberta was created in 2013 as a three way collaboration between artists Blaine Fontana, Jun Inoue, and Zach Yarrington. The wall was included as part of the inaugural year of Forest for the Trees, a unique not-for-profit art initiative dedicated to creating contemporary public art accessible to all of Portland.

In early February local artists Fontana and Yarrington spent time touching up the mural. Pictured are the artists working on updating the piece as it is frequently marred with graffiti. Currently there is a need for the wall to be coated with an anti-grafitti barrier. Donations for this specific work are gladly accepted through Forest for the Trees at

Many Concordia residents and visitors to Portland find special meaning to this mural, as it is frequently photographed and is in a location easily accessible and viewable to all residents and visitors. Creator Zach Yarrington stated “when we first got together to concept the piece, I was dealing with the recent death of a dear friend and much of the messaging and imagery in the mural was impacted by that event.”

Aladdin Finishers was established in 1948 and Steffen Bettger is now the fourth generation proprietor of the business. The mural artists and local residents show much gratitude for Aladdin Finishers giving the canvas for the mural art on both sides of the building. As the first project of Forest for the Trees, the Keep Your Chin Up mural set a precedent for public art murals in Portland that continues to grow.

Posted on March 31, 2018 at 6:25 am
Rachel Richards | Posted in Portland Murals | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Portland’s 1920’s Houses ~ Historical Integrity


Many homes in Portland were built in the 1920’s, and it is the homes that have kept original features that always seem to charm the most. These images are from homes I had the pleasure of showing clients just this past weekend here in NE Portland, Oregon. From glass doorknobs to tile, to those linen closets in the hallways of almost all the older PDX homes – these are the original features that still add charm and convenience to homeowners today.

Sometimes older is better, and keeping with the style of a home by restoring it rather than replacing it is something that actually appeals to today’s buyers. You simply cannot re-create the original hexagon tiles or woodwork made and set in the 20’s – tile and wood today does not always have the quality and style, but any older feature is able to be restored of you try or know the right people who restore for a living.

When it comes to original beautiful old home features, fix it or restore it! Updating does not have to mean putting in all new. Clients are not always looking for new, they want charm that is original to the home. If something new is to be added, why not let the new owners decide and not tear out old features just because they are old. Historical Integrity is a really important selling feature in homes and one of my specialties.  I am always happy to help my clients to understand the why of an old house design, and to help them figure out how to update without destroying the integrity of an older home.



Glass doorknobs are a weird selling point for me, and I have spent a lot of time in some home restorations finding the perfect 1920’s door fixtures to replace something new that really did not belong with the home’s style.

Thankfully here in Portland we have such excellent resources as Hippo Hardware and Aurora Mills to fill these needs of restoring original character to homes by putting in historically accurate fixtures. Hippo can indeed fix any light fixture to modern standards, and to see a 1920’s home with a 1920’s light fixture is to many of my buyer clients a true delight.  Searching the Re-Building Center for a door or window that was from the same era of a home is both exciting and at times frustrating, but once the right item is found the value of adding a historically accurate feature can be unparalleled.

So, if you are interested in buying or selling an older Portland home, or would just like to chat about historical integrity, I would love to help you!


Posted on December 4, 2017 at 11:16 pm
Rachel Richards | Posted in Historical Integrity in 1920's Portland Homes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Helping Make Northeast Portland a Better Place

Here in Northeast Portland, the Northeast Emergency Food Program (NEFP) provides not only food to those in need. The program also has a clothing closet which provides free clothing to men, women and children distributing nearly 50,000 items of clothing annually. In addition to food and clothing when other donations are received such as bedding, kitchen items and toys they are quickly distributed to those in need. The program does not have space to accept furniture donations but is recognized as one of the first Model Healthy Pantries in the state, empowering those in need through a shopping style experience which allows people to choose what they need. Visitors can shop the clothing closet as they wait to shop the food pantry or vice versa. The clothing closet is well organized by 25 volunteers per week and is set up like a shop with areas for each type of clothing as well as shoes and household items.

Give Back to your Community

NEFP serves working families, seniors, people with disabilities, immigrants and refugees, people experiencing homelessness and you, if you need it. The program needs monetary donations and is participating in the Willamette Week’s 2017 Give Guide (a very cool publication and idea meant to engage those under age 35 in donating to those less fortunate) where donations can be made at

Serving 800 families per month NEFP can provide 4 items of clothing per person per visit and 25-30 pounds of food up to 3 times in a 6 month period. There are no residential restrictions and visitors to the pantry can provide proof for non-present household members to obtain needed items. A fear currently exists across Portland that because of needing to enter names into Oregon Food Bank’s Link to Feed database that undocumented immigrants are not accessing services they may need. “Our goal is to feed you, not to report you” states Travis Niemann, Program Manager.

On a recent visit to NEFP, program assistant Cecilia Estraviz shared that donations of children’s costumes were set aside until Halloween season, and were much appreciated by clients and a delight to children. Currently in the clothing closet sorting room a few bins of toys are awaiting the Holiday season, but a noticeable lack of men’s clothing exists. All clothing donations are accepted but the program is currently in need of men’s interview clothes and men’s work wear, as well as all types of winter clothing, rain gear, and socks. The need for appropriate work wear is real. Neimann states “while we do serve people who are hungry right now, most of the families we serve have someone who is working. They have resources, just not enough.”

Located at Luther Memorial Lutheran Church, 4800 NE 72nd Avenue and part of the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and a partner agency of the Oregon Food Bank, the Northeast Emergency Food Program is open for neighbors in need from 1-4pm Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Donations are also accepted during these hours and the program is always open to new volunteers.

Donations will be accepted at the Concordia Neighborhood Association Holiday party  on Tuesday, December 12th from 6:30 – 9:00pm at the Cerimon House, 5131 NE 23rd. Donations are certainly welcome as are attendees from anywhere in Northeast Portland. Current donation needs include rice, soup, proteins, personal hygiene items, pet food, winter clothing and work clothing.

I am happy to be volunteering as a part of the Concordia Neighborhood Media Team and enjoy being involved in many volunteer opportunities across Portland. Throughout my life I have helped others in need and have personally helped thousands of children and families through counseling, education, and advocacy. Helping people is what I do. Find out more about me here:

Posted on November 11, 2017 at 1:22 am
Rachel Richards | Posted in Giving back to the community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Self Expression ~ homes, art, and blogging

I have wanted to have a blog for many years. Maybe because I love writing but mostly because I value expression! Forms of how one expresses oneself interest me and thus my passion for houses, interior and garden design, and real estate.

Your home says a lot about who you are, so you can trust in me to find you the perfect abode or sell your place without losing your self- expression. I love finding unique things in and around Portland, so check out the blog regularly to see what treasures I may have stumbled upon.

November 1st, 2017

This week’s find ~ antique needlework art in a beautiful home for sale on Bull Mountain in Tigard, Oregon. How wonderful to be in a perfectly updated home filled with gorgeous antiques that clearly hold meaning to the homeowners and to visitors alike. Bull Mountain is a fantastic neighborhood for families and I know from experience is in one of the best school districts in Oregon. This home is for sale and being held open this weekend so contact me if you’d like to check it out.

Antique Stitchery Art

This week I found this awesome antique stitchery sampler art in the home for sale on Bull Mountain. This home is full of beautiful antiques yet perfectly updated. This piece hanging on a side wall in the kitchen certainly caught my eye.

The history of sampler or stitchery art is pretty interesting. While usually art is viewed as the artist’s self-expression, stitchery was part of basic educational curriculum for girls in the 16th to 18th centuries. They would stitch the alphabet or other prescribed items as practice for sewing. I can assure you that is not part of any curriculum in Tigard/Tualatin Schools.

I get excited finding a piece which represents the individuality and self- expression of the artist. Finding antique stitchery art is a rare treat. In the great words of a stitchery artist piece given to me by my Mom “When you stumble make it part of the dance.”

Stay tuned to see what I stumble upon next!




Posted on November 1, 2017 at 10:52 pm
Rachel Richards | Posted in What I stumble upon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,