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  • Portland Metro Wednesday Traffic: Night road work on I-205 in Vancouver closes lanes through Friday

    Workers will grind, pave and stripe the freeway in that area throughout the week. Also concrete barriers are being removed. Expect some slowing and watch for workers through Friday morning.


    Up to two lanes in either direction of I-205 between Mill Plain Boulevard and SR 500 will close from 8 p.m.-6 a.m. nightly through Friday, July 1. Workers will grind, pave and stripe the freeway in that area throughout the week. Also concrete barriers are being removed. Expect some slowing and watch for workers through Friday morning.

    DOWNTOWN 8:24 a.m.; Crash blocks the right shoulder I-5 southbound near the Morrison Bridge. Expect slowing.

    Update 8:39 a.m.; Cleared.

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    BEAVERTON 8:02 a.m.; Injury crash reported at Southwest Cedar Hills Boulevard and Walker Road.

    Update 8:20 a.m; Cleared.

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    I-205 NORTHBOUND 7:57 a.m.; Left shoulder blocked by a crash on I-205 northbound near Johnson Creek Boulevard.

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    SOUTHEAST PORTLAND 7:43 a.m.; Crash involving a motorcycle on Southeast 60th Avenue and Harold Street.  

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    NORTHEAST PORTLAND 7:33 a.m.; Injury crash involving a bicycle at Northeast Going and Rodney streets.

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    MILWAUKIE 7:11 a.m.; Injury crash reported on Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard near River Road.

    Update 7:16 a.m.; Right northbound lane blocked by emergency crews.

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    Police in Washington state tweeted a warning to drivers that yesterday began a three-day state-wide crack down on distracted driving. If Memorial Day weekend is any indicator, they mean it! Don't talk or text while driving, Washington is watching you.

    Also, many state and local sheriff's offices are announcing enhanced patrols for the Fourth of July weekend. If you're going to drink, have a designated driver, arrange for a ride or use public transportation.

    Coming up for the weekend: The northbound on ramp to the Hawthorne Bridge from Southwest Naito Parkway will close Friday for the Blues Festival. The ramp is closed each year for safety, due to large pedestrian crowds in the area of the ramp. Drivers who need to access the bridge can take the ramp from Southwest Madison Street. Also expect police to close the bridge to motor vehicles during the fireworks display on July 4.

    Check back throughout the morning for the latest commuting updates and follow us on Twitter: @trafficportland

    no traffic white.jpgFind you full Portland-area traffic report here. (The Oregonian file photo) 

  • Portland Metro Wednesday Weather: Heavier morning clouds followed by warm sun at midday

    The continued marine influence helps keep temperatures from really spiking Wednesday. Expect highs in the low 80s.

    Remember the low cloud cover from Tuesday? It's back. Don't be fooled by the warm (sometimes hot) afternoons this week because the pattern for the next several days includes cool, cloudy mornings followed by warm afternoons. Bring a sweater in the morning - carry it home tonight.

    The continued marine influence helps keep temperatures from really spiking Wednesday. Expect highs in the low 80s. Temperatures will continue to creep down as the week wears on and the onshore pressure gradients remain strong. The high on Friday will be 80. Saturday and Sunday start out cloudy as well and the highs will be in the upper 70s.

    On the plus side, the cool mornings in the low 50s help keep homes cooler and make for a great exercise window. Get that run in early and avoid the bright sun this afternoon.

    For the Fourth of July we'll expect very similar conditions to the weekend. Morning cool temps and clouds that burn off by midday.

  • Will the Portland housing market's long ride atop the nation end anytime soon?

    Portland's housing market has been the hottest in the country for the last seven months.

    It began in October. Home values in Portland grew that month as fast year-over-year as the red-hot prices in Denver and San Francisco.

    With homes in the region gaining 10.9 percent in value between October 2014 and 2015, Portland had joined those two cities atop a closely watched national report gauging the strength of the housing market in 20 major cities.

    But that was only the beginning.

    The next month, home prices in Portland posted 11.1 percent in annual gains on the Standard & Poor's/Case Shiller home-price index, putting the city alone at the top. And the streak continued - 11.4 percent in December, 11.8 percent in January, 11.9 percent in February, 12.3 percent in March and 12.3 percent again in April, according to the latest report, issued Tuesday.

    Portland's housing market has been the hottest in the country for the last seven months, by the Case-Shiller measure and by others. A new report last week from Zillow found that Portland saw the nation's largest annual decrease in the inventory of bottom-tier homes among the 35 largest metro areas. There are nearly 40 percent fewer homes worth less than $279,200 available than there were a year ago.

    And the latest report from the local Regional Multiple Listing Service found that the average home in the region now sells for more than $400,000, the first time the market has reached such heights. The median sale price, similarly, crossed the $350,000 barrier.

    So will the Portland market's historic run ever slow down? The cyclical laws of boom and bust demand it will eventually. But the real question - as the city continues to deal with a population boom, a housing-affordability crisis and historically high increases in rents - is when.

    "I couldn't even begin to tell you that," said Tim Duy, an economics professor at the University of Oregon. "There's no fundamental law that says it has to end anytime soon. And it won't end until we have more balance between supply and demand in the housing market."

    For now, that's not happening. Demand is severely outpacing supply. Between March 2015 and May 2016, the only time the local market hit 2 months of inventory was in November. The figure estimates how long it would take all homes on the market to sell at the current pace; six months represents a balanced inventory and anything below that signals a seller's market. The 1.2 months of inventory the region had in December was the lowest level since at least 1999.

    Short of adding more supply, the only other way prices would come down is if they eventually rose so high that demand started to trail off, Duy said.

    "There could come a point... when prices can't sustain themselves," Duy said. "But I can't tell you when that is. It's some magic number at some point in time."

    There have been signs that the low inventory, high prices and intense competition in the region could be scraping the froth off the top of the market already. Though prices still rose to record levels, April marked the first month since at least last summer that the numbers of closed or pending sales weren't either the most since before the recession or the most of all time. Instead, closed and pending home sales in the region saw a year-over-year decline, a trend that continued in May.

    Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate, said that unless Portland starts "seeing remarkable wage growth, there's just no way you can keep seeing prices growing in the double digits."

    Gardner predicted that sometime in the fall, Portland will experience a "leveling off of that annualized price growth."

    "The rate of growth will slow," he said. "And I'm very comfortable with that."

    The Case-Shiller numbers lag two months behind the current market, Leslie Jones pointed out. Jones, principal broker with Re/Max Equity Group, said her team of realtors has noticed a "very slight shift" in the market in recent weeks; homes are still selling quickly, but "it has been feeling for the last two or three weeks like houses have been staying on the market longer," Jones said. And more of her agents have been getting buyers under contract rather than being outbid.

    "It feels good to me," Jones said.

    International politics might be adding fuel to Portland's housing fire, too. The economic uncertainty stemming from the United Kingdom's vote last week to leave the European Union caused investors worldwide to flee the stock market in favor of more reliable - but lower yielding - treasury bonds, which puts downward pressure on interest rates and makes mortgage borrowing more affordable, said Brian Allen, a longtime broker and the head of Windermere Stellar.

    But as long as competition and pricing remain high and supply low, buyers - especially first-timers - will continue to experience a frustrating market, according to Gardner.

    "It's very hard for them to even afford to get an entry-level house. ... The move-up buyer sells to the first-time buyer in order to move up," Gardner said. "Those move-up buyers aren't finding anything to buy. And because they can't find anything to buy, they're not listing their house for sale. So you kind of get in a chicken-and-egg situation."

    -- Luke Hammill
    lhammill@oregonian.com
    503-294-4029
    @lucashammill

  • Ceremony bids farewell to Multnomah Greyhound Park, scheduled for redevelopment (photos)

    "The option that focused on a hotel and entertainment, which was one of four vignettes the city proposed, was clearly the favorite in the room," Hamilton said. Watch video

    As a kid, Janet Cruz used to go to the old Multnomah Greyhound Park and watch the dog races with her father, Robert Wales.

    "My dad would say I could pick the numbers and then he'd go bet them," Cruz remembered Tuesday. She smiled as she acknowledged that she was about 8 and "not legal age to come here."

    But the numbers eventually paid off, earning the family enough to install a fence around their Gresham home, said Cruz, now 52.

    The fence still stands. Soon, the former Multnomah Greyhound Park will not.

    The park, which is being demolished to make way for development, was opened to the public Tuesday morning. 

    Cruz was among dozens who came to bid the site farewell at a ceremony hosted by the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, which bought the property in 2015

    "The tribe is in the middle of doing an economic analysis of some options," said Nancy Hamilton, who is representing the tribe, "and the city of Wood Village is in the middle of a Town Center Master Plan effort."

    At a community meeting last week, the city presented different options for the property.

    "The option that focused on a hotel and entertainment, which was one of four vignettes the city proposed, was clearly the favorite in the room," Hamilton said. "Which was heartening to the tribe, because that's really the direction they would like to go as well."

    The tribe is working closely with the city, she said, "to insure that it's a project that works for the tribe and works as part of this bigger master plan."

    "There are no current plans to put the property in trust," Hamilton said.

    "There are no current plans to have a casino," she added.

    The Grand Ronde tribal confederation paid over $10 million for the 31-acre property last December.

    For Cruz, seeing the park again was bittersweet. She brought her three daughters along with her for one last look at the dog track, which closed in 2004.

    Her father died a couple years back.

    "It's sad to see things that are staples in your life disappear," Cruz said. 

    One of Cruz' daughters, Saleena Garrettson, 18, walked toward the dirt track, crouched beneath some caution tape and grabbed a few small rocks from the ground. Later, the family will place the rocks at Robert Wales' grave.

    "It was a big part of his life," Cruz said.

    Hers, too.

    "But I'm glad they're doing something," she said, "instead of just leaving the land to sit here and just rot."

    -- Beth Nakamura 503-221-8218

    Twitter: @bethnakamura

    Instagram: @bethnakamura

  • Mt. Hood Community College Offers Extended Hours During Registration Week

    New and continuing students looking to enroll in Mt. Hood Community College's Fall Term – which begins on September 26 – are invited to get a jump-start in the enrollment process during Mt. Hood Community College's Registration Week event – which runs from July 12-14, and includes extended evening hours for students unable to reach the campus prior to...

    New and continuing students looking to enroll in Mt. Hood Community College's Fall Term - which begins on September 26 - are invited to get a jump-start in the enrollment process during Mt. Hood Community College's Registration Week event - which runs from July 12-14, and includes extended evening hours for students unable to reach the campus prior to 5:00 p.m.

    Registration Week offers students and community members the opportunity to complete registration and financial aid paperwork to prepare for fall term. Staff from the Orientation Center, Financial Aid, Registration and Academic Advising will be on hand to assist new and returning students through the process.

    On Tuesday, July 12, the Maywood Park campus will be open from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. On Wednesday and Thursday, July 13 and 14, hours on the Gresham Campus will be from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 pm. Evening hours to take the College Placement Test will be also available, including:

    • Tuesday, July 12, 2:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at the Maywood Park Community Skills Center, 10100 NE Prescott
    • Wed-Thurs, July 13-14, 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the Gresham Campus Orientation Center, Room 1002, 26000 SE Stark St.

    Fall term begins at MHCC on Monday, September 26. For more information on MHCC's Fall Registration Week, visit mhcc.edu/RegistrationWeek or call the Orientation Center at 503-491-6927. 

  • Portland's streak continues: 7th straight month home values grew fastest in U.S.

    The streak continued in April: Yet again, home values in the Portland region grew faster than in any other of the 20 major metro areas in the nation measured by the monthly Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller home price index.

    The streak continued in April: Yet again, home values in the Portland region grew faster than in any of the other 20 major metro areas measured by the monthly Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller home price index, released Tuesday.

    It was the seventh straight month Portland topped the list.

    Local home values posted a 12.3 percent year-over-year increase in April, the highest gains among the 20 cities by a fairly wide margin. Seattle's 10.7 percent increase over the same period represented the only other double-digit increase.

    The Portland market also posted 12.3 percent year-over-year gains in March.

    Homes across the country, meanwhile, saw an annual increase in value of 5 percent in April, down from 5.1 percent in March, the report found.

    "The home price increases reflect the low unemployment rate, low mortgage interest rates and consumers' generally positive outlook," said David M. Blitzer, the chairman of the index committee, in a statement. "One result is that an increasing number of cities have surpassed the high prices seen before the Great Recession. Currently, seven cities - Denver; Dallas; Portland, Oregon; San Francisco; Seattle; Charlotte; and Boston - are setting new highs."

    Prices in Portland have been pushed upward, in part, by extremely low inventory. The most recent report from the Regional Multiple Listing Services found that inventory in the area totaled 1.4 months in May. The figure estimates how long it would take for all current homes on the market to sell at the current pace. Six months indicates a balanced market.

    What's more, a new report last week from Zillow found that Portland saw the nation's largest decrease in the inventory of bottom-tier homes among the 35 largest metro areas. The Portland market lost 37.6 percent of its inventory of middle-tier homes (homes worth between $279,200 and $420,900) and 39.3 percent of its bottom-tier homes (homes worth less than $279,200) - not good news for first-time homebuyers.

    Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow, said in an email that there is "a growing divide between the top and bottom of the market that the Case-Shiller numbers don't reveal."

    "Home values for the least-expensive homes are growing twice as quickly as they are for the most-expensive homes, and the gap is widening," Gudell said. "Given last week's Brexit news and the ensuing market reaction, it doesn't look like interest rates are going to rise meaningfully any time soon, which means it will remain cheap to finance a home for those that can afford one.

    "But for many buyers, finding an affordable home to buy in the first place is likely to remain pretty tough."

    -- Luke Hammill
    lhammill@oregonian.com
    503-294-4029
    @lucashammill

  • Portland Metro Tuesday Traffic: Night work closes lanes of I-205 through Friday

    Expect up to two lanes to be closed at various times, 8 p.m.-5 a.m. through Friday morning, July 1. Crews will replace signs between the Sunnybrook Road and Strawberry Lane overpasses.


    Night time sign replacement work will close lanes in both directions on I-205 in Clackamas.

    Expect up to two lanes to be closed at various times, 8 p.m.-5 a.m. through Friday morning, July 1. Crews will replace signs between the Sunnybrook Road and Strawberry Lane overpasses.

    GRESHAM 8:07 a.m.; Crash reported on Southeast 190th Avenue and Northwest Division Street.

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    HILLSBORO 7:47 a.m.; Crash reported on Northwest Glencoe Road at Zion Church Road.

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    SOUTHEAST PORTLAND 7:40 a.m.; Injury crash reported on Southeast Stark Street at 99th Avenue, just east of I-205.

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    SOUTHWEST PORTLAND 7:25 a.m.; Crash involving a bicyclist on Southwest Bertha Boulevard at Chestnut Drive, north of Barbur Boulevard.

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    Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 6.40.22 AM.png99W at Dartmouth 

    TIGARD 6:26 a.m.; Pedestrian struck on Highway 99W at Dartmouth Street, just north of Highway 217. All northbound lanes are closed.

    Update 8:20 a.m.; ALL LANES NOW OPEN northbound Highway 99W at Dartmouth. Expect delays as the back up is very long and will take a while to clear.

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    Maintenance work continues on the Interstate Bridge (I-5 Portland to Vancouver) 10 p.m.-6 a.m. in both directions. Crews will continue to test electrical systems and both bridge lifts and traffic stops are expected through Wednesday morning, June 29. More work is scheduled for July.

    Eastbound Imbrie Drive at Cornelius Pass is closed through Tuesday morning, June 28 as part of the Cornelius Pass widening project. Other lane restrictions and detours are in place for this work and motorists should expect delays.

    Check back throughout the morning for the latest commuting updates and follow us on Twitter: @trafficportland

    day traffic white.jpg 

  • Portland Metro Tuesday Weather: Morning clouds burn off for sun and mid 80s

    The strong summer sun will make quick work of the clouds and burn them off by late morning. Expect high temperatures to reach 84 today.

    Low clouds and breezy conditions start the day Tuesday. A weak marine layer has moved into the metro area and spread some wispy clouds around this morning as far south as Salem. The central Willamette Valley may not see any clouds at all.

    The strong summer sun will make quick work of the clouds and burn them off by late morning. Expect high temperatures to reach 84 today.

    Wednesday and Thursday weather patterns mimic today with low clouds in the morning, burning off later for highs in the mid 80s.

    A slight change is expected by Friday as forecasters for the National Weather Service believe the onshore flow will increase later this week and into the weekend and bring more clouds to our area. This should bring the temperatures down a bit for highs in the mid-to-upper 70s.

  • High school athletes of the year for spring sports

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