Editor’s Note: Portland Monthly’s “Property Watch” column takes a weekly look at an interesting home in Portland’s super-competitive real estate market (with periodic ventures to the burbs and points beyond, for good measure). This week: an updated farmhouse that lies outside of the urban growth boundary. Got a home you think would work for this column? Get in touch at [email protected].
Love it or hate it, the urban growth boundary (UGB) defines the shape of Oregon’s cities —as in, their literal borders—and Portland is no different. That's because in 1973, Gov. Tom McCall stumped around the state in an effort to protect its natural resources, warning of “sagebrush subdivisions, coastal condomania, and the ravenous rampages of suburbia.” The result was Senate Bill 100, a statewide land use planning law that garnered bipartisan support. In the decades since, the UGB has certainly crunched available housing within city limits, but it’s also what gives Portland some of its biggest draws: the farms, forest, and natural beauty within reach, preserved from unchecked sprawl.
This bucolic property about 20 miles from downtown is located off Rock Creek Road on Skyline Ridge, in an area designated as a rural reserve, meaning it’s outside the UGB and not considered suitable for city expansion. It’s just as well, as it has all the makings of the pastoral life. A crisp, white farmhouse sits on about 39 acres, surrounded by sweeping pastures and forest. The house was built in 1984, but there’s none of that ’80s panache. Thanks to the most recent owners, it’s been nicely updated to feel both modern and classic, starting at the covered porch that wraps around the front corner.
The entry leads into a double-height foyer, anchored by the staircase to one side. The living room has a bay window and petite Morso woodstove, set against a brick wall painted white. This area flows into the adjacent dining room, and, in addition to all the windows overlooking the property, there’s a glass door to the backyard.
Next up, the redone kitchen, with stylish matte black cabinets and subway tile up to the ceiling. Another bay window has been outfitted with an eating counter, and there’s plenty of room for a breakfast table set-up.
Nearby is the mudroom, a must for rural life, with a hard-wearing travertine floor, the washer and dryer, and convenient access to the front porch. This is also where the first level’s remodeled half-bath is located, bedecked in brightly painted wainscot and retro print wallpaper, found from a Polish brand on Etsy.
Up the stairs are two bedrooms and a bathroom, as well as the main suite. All the bedrooms have lovely views of the property, from distant treetops to close-ups of their moss-covered trunks. Deliberately modern choices throughout the home, including the wide-plank white oak floors and white walls, play well with the vintage-style touches, like the lighting from Schoolhouse and Rejuvenation, and farmhouse sink and Smeg fridge in the kitchen.
Thirty-nine acres give room to roam, with old logging roads–turned–hiking trails nearby, a pond, and an 1,800-square-foot barn with grain silo. This is the place to go full farm-to-table: in addition to the new chicken coop, there’s a 60-by-60-foot enclosed garden out back, with newer cedar beds. And even more bounty to be had via the many walnut and fruit trees, the latter including apple, plum, quince, cherry, lemon, fig, and pineapple quava.
Listing Fast Facts:
Address: 15604 NW Rock Creek Rd, Portland, OR 97231
Size: 1,742 square feet, 3 bed/2.5 bath, 39.34 acres (includes main house, barn, pond, and chicken coop)
List Date: 1/19/2022
Listing Agent: Clint Currin, RE/MAX Equity Group
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.