Posted by: christinelaennec | March 8, 2012

Some good news from Portland!

Almost exactly a year ago, my mother’s beautiful 1910 farmhouse in Portland, Oregon was hit by a landslide – or rather, the bluff the house looks out over was swept away, but the house itself was fine.  I promised I would let you know how it all turned out.

The dining room, April 2011. The house looks over the Willamette River to the West Hills of Portland beyond. Note the bluebird of happiness on the windowsill!

After months and months of work, noise and enormous earth-moving machines, the hillside and the house were both secured to prevent further landslides.  As predicted, property developers were interested in purchasing the land in order to tear the house down and build four in its place – but my 81-year-old mother saw all these people off.  The house has now been sold to a family from the neighborhood who’ve admired it for a long time.

Meanwhile my Mom and her partner have found a lovely little house on flat land with a large garden.

It’s been a horrendous year for my mother but she has persevered and, with the help of others, has accomplished a great deal.  She turns 82 in a few days and will have so many reasons to celebrate now.  I’m so proud of her!

Saying goodbye: three generations on the front porch, April 2011. The Dafter, me in specs (pre-long haul flight) and my mother Ruth.

I thought I would be sad not to be able to return to the place I loved being in as a child, but I’m just very happy that the house will be enjoyed and loved by a new young family, and that all the enormous stress my mother has been under has now finally lifted.  My Mom has asked me to thank everyone who commented here expressing warm wishes in March and June – your good thoughts definitely helped.  This is the best birthday present she could possibly have!



  1. I’m so glad it has all worked out for your family home and that it is being taken in by another family who appreciate it. Here starts a new chapter for the house and for your family, starting on a positive footing.

  2. That is good news, Christine. Such a relief for your mother, and for you. How lucky you are to have all 3 generations of women in your family know each other, and for the Dafter in her teens to have fully-formed memories of her grandmother. It’s a great sadness for my daughter and for me that she never knew her grandmother.
    Is there any chance of your mum visiting you in Scotland?

  3. The house looks beautiful and what a lovely porch. Well done to your mother.

  4. Yay for another happy story! It’s lovely that your mum managed to fight off the developers and that another family will get to create their own memories in a period home!

  5. that is great news! i appreciate you letting us know how everything turned out. i remember when you told us about the landslide last year and of your trip back. so glad to hear everything has worked out well for her and that the people who are moving in are of the same mindset as herself. best wishes to her in her new place.

  6. What a wonderful three-generation photo! You’re all beautiful! I’m so happy for your Mom that it has all turned out well and she can look forward to less stress in her life!

  7. What good news! And well done to your mother for seeing off the developers.

  8. What a nice ending to a stressful ordeal! And yes, I’m sure everyone is relieved that such a beautiful house with such deep memories will be honored!

  9. Yay for your mother! Fighting developers and preserving the heritage is clearly in your family blood. I hope she settles in to the new house without too many traumas.

  10. What a huge relief that must be now, but what a lot to have had to go through. I hope your mother will be very happy in her new home, she looks amazing for her age!

  11. So glad to hear that things have turned out well for your mum. Our family home passed into the hands of new, young people, a few years ago. Life goes on, and we had 50 years of happy times. No one can erase the memories.

  12. What good news and don’t you look so sweet together standing by your childhood home. It must be comforting to know that a nice family will get to enjoy the home you loved so much instead of being torn down. Isn’t it wonderful that your Mom is still so youthful looking and healthy at 83 and still living on her own with a garden to make her happy. xx

  13. We are merely custodians. But I also believe memories are on a par with bricks and mortar.
    Good wishes to your Mum in her new place.

  14. What a relief for your Mom! And such a beautiful home, ready to be relished all over again.

    Your Mom looks fantastic too! xx

  15. Good news indeed, and I am glad your Mum is settled in a lovely new place to enjoy for a long time to come I hope. Happy birthday to her from Wales.
    Hugs xx

  16. Wow, a beautiful house, so glad she sent the contractors off. That’s how it should be done!

  17. Excellent news. I like the idea of your old house having a new beginning and your Mom must feel good to be on solid ground.

  18. what a wonderful birthday present for her! so glad to hear it worked out so wonderfully!

  19. Dear everyone,

    Thank you all so much for your wonderful solidarity and for sharing our happiness! Linda, my mother used to come to Scotland very regularly (in fact she’d visited very often before I first came here), but health problems now mean that the long journey is just too much. And goodness knows she deserves to put her feet up for a while! So I will have to see when I can get home again to visit her.

    As for seeing the contractors off, that comes naturally to my mother! She is very feisty and was one of the campaigners who secured nature reserve status for the slough below the house, when we were growing up.

    Yes, we are very fortunate that our children have known two Grannies, and one Grandad. Not everyone is so lucky.

  20. Always sad to say goodbye to a family home, but it seems that your mother has found a property that suits her and she will be happy in a big change at her time of life but I don’t doubt she will be very happy there, and you can all go to visit and see the progress of a new home!


  21. Yay!

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