I received an unusual invitation last week, from Larry, a person I have not previously known. Larry wrote:
I will host a fundraising event on Saturday and Sunday – June 23 and June 24 - from 11am-5pm, each day.
I extend this invitation to you since my house is in foreclosure (deadline, July 19), and I seek other people’s assistance to prevent this from happening.
I believe, and many Portland people agree, that my one-of-a-kind home can become a resource for the greater and diverse Portland community: aging, less-abled, universal design, those interested in sustainability, recycling, and accessibility for everybody and every body.
7407 SE Glenwood St., Portland 97206
(1 mile south of the Mt. Scott Community Center and Pool, the Woodstock neighborhood; SE 75th Ave. is the one paved road into my home)
Larry mentioned a mutual friend who works with AARP, who recently organized a showing of the film "Gen Silent" depicting the challenges of LGBTQ elders seeking to age in place with their beloved partners. I had a gap in my Saturday schedule between tabling with the Office of Healthy Working Rivers staff at the Good in the Hood festival on N Vancouver and doing the opening welcome at the Culture Fest concert for Slavic youth at SE 64th/Foster, so I decided to stop by.
I'm glad I did. I encourage you to take an excursion to Larry's fascinating home on Sunday for the second day of his Open House Fundraiser. I suggest taking 82nd and then Duke, rather than the way the GPS directs.
Larry in his beautiful, unusual, accessible home in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood
Larry lives with mobility and accessibility challenges. His home is barrier free, and designed using materials from re-use organizations like the ReBuilding Center, also assistance such as the local car muffler shop providing grab bars for bathroom use. The yard is accessible, too, and very restful with friendly chickens wandering around, artwork and water features. There are innovative stormwater management features. It's a great example of Portland sustainability theories put into practice.
Larry fell behind on his mortgage payments when he purchased a propane heater for his home, after suffering hypothermia from not being able to afford electric space heaters over the winter. Like many homeowners, because of the recession the market value of his home is less than he paid for it, and less than the equity he has in it. Once he was in arrears, the bank would not accept his regular monthly payment if he could not pay the entire backlog with late fees. He needs to raise $7,500 by July 19 to avoid foreclosure.
Regardless of whether you can help with a donation, I urge you to visit Larry on Sunday afternoon. His home is a special place, that shows multiple thoughtful touches adapting the space for a person with mobility challenges while incorporating art into every living space. I believe you will leave feeling privileged to have been invited to gain a glimpse of Larry's way of putting Vision Into Action.
A longtime friend sent me an email last year, titled "Help Stop Homelessness." The first line of the message said simply, "Mine." He asked his friends to give him money to tide him over during a difficult time. We did, and he avoided being evicted, found a more affordable apartment, and seems set to live happily ever after. I will research potential agency/nonprofit assistance for Larry. I hope his friends, new and old, step up to help him out in these tough times.