Real Estate

Property Watch: A 1979 Geometric Treehouse in Oregon City

A little slice of 1970s Oregon tucked in the trees on a three-acre lot

By Melissa Dalton November 22, 2021

Editor’s Note: Portland Monthly’s “Property Watch” column takes a weekly look at an interesting home on the market in Portland’s super-competitive real estate market (with periodic ventures to the burbs and points beyond, for good measure). This week: An Oregon City home hidden in the trees. Got a home you think would work for this column? Get in touch at [email protected].

If you thought that there was a bit of an “anything goes” approach to U.S. architecture in the 1970s, you wouldn’t be wrong. Take this home in Oregon City built in 1979: located on a three-acre lot, it has a distinctly geometric form, as though its volumes have been intricately stacked together and then gently nudged apart, almost like a game of Jenga with a few sloped roofs thrown in. Clad head-to-toe in tongue-and-groove cedar and surrounded by forest, it is a sort-of deconstructionist version of Northwest Regional style and, like much from the 70s, just doing its own thing. 

Designed by Robert York and built by Gary Leighton for himself and his family, the home sits on a slope, and behind it there's a granite hillside populated by old-growth forest. The long driveway feeds into a tunnel-like carport, which has its own deck. Below the carport is a generous unfinished bonus space with additional storage. Access to the main floor is granted via two means: an enclosed staircase off the carport, or a wood catwalk that projects into the trees and is lined with a cable railing.  

Technically, this house has six floors spread across 3,271 square feet: there’s the two lower levels previously mentioned, and four above, with the largest footprint being the main, clocking in at 1195 square feet. Starting at the entry, parquet floors join tall ceilings, some angled, or fully vaulted, giving the interior as much of a sculptural quality as the exterior. The windows are large and each deliberately placed, framing peaceful forest-filled views to give the home its treehouse vibe.  

Key natural materials anchor the experimentation. There's a rock fireplace wall in the sunken living room, solid wood cabinets and blue-green tile in the kitchen, and a liberal use of wood to cover the ceilings, from the main floor family room, which is tucked behind the living room and opens to a deck, to each of the cozy bedrooms.

There are three bedrooms total, one per floor above the main level, with the primary bedroom up top to conjure a true aerie with its glimpses of sky. 

Located on a quiet section of Walker Road, the property has its own meadow and a three-bay garage that buffers the home from the road, as well as a detached workshop on the premises. This is a little slice of 1970s country life with modern city convenience, as downtown Portland is only 30 minutes away, and main street Oregon City an easy fifteen-minute trip.  

Listing Fast Facts 

Address: 18724 S Walker Rd, Oregon City 
Size:  3,271 square feet/3.15 acres, 3 bedroom/3 bath 
List Date:  11/11/2021 
List Price:  $750,000 
Listing Agent:  Holly Burton and Rachel Freed, Urban Nest Realty 

Melissa Dalton is a freelance writer who has focused on Pacific Northwest design and lifestyle since 2008. She is based in Portland, Oregon. Contact Dalton here. 

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