Moving Old John- Phase Two


    (December 2007) One year ago I made a webpage to show what seemed to me to be a difficult task, and that was to move Old John's house into my backyard.   To recap events, John was a nasty old neighbor who seldom spoke to anyone.  I was one of the few neighbors that he didn't hiss at.  John had lived in his house since 1933 and died there as a bachelor as did his brother James a few years earlier.  Here are a few key pictures of his house then and now. First a view taken from his house when it was for sale, and then a view from my house.  And then some of the final move steps.


    With the house setting on its new foundation a for-sale sign went up listing the house as-is for $399,000.  As-is means that it is an empty shell that requires complete new electrical and plumbing, and all of the original lath and plaster has to be torn out.  What a project!  But there was a buyer within one month and a complete remodel of the house inside and out was started.  Final foundation photos:


    To see the move from the beginning, see:  Moving Old John- Phase One

    With Old John's house out of the way, construction on the two new houses has begun.  (John's house originally sat in the middle of two standard size lots).  The foundation for the first house was just completed when a "SOLD" sign went up.  The just started house has been sold for $1,100,000 dollars!  There was over 125 yards of concrete in the first  house's foundation. 



    A view looking down on Old John's house and mine in the background.


    At the same time as all of this is going on, there is a humongous construction going on about 1 1/2 miles from our place.  It is just incredible to see what is going on!  Like where are all of the rich people coming from to fill these condos???  Take a look:   Waterfront development  It seems like there is new construction everywhere.  I asked a concrete delivery guy if the work is slowing down, and he replied that he has been working 10 to 12 hours a day all year long!

    In the meantime, work is progressing on both of the new houses and the end house.             

    It is now mid-February 07' as I write this and it has been one of the wettest winters I have experienced since moving to Portland.   Old John's house reportedly sold for $385,000 sitting as it was on the new foundation.  Rumor has it that the new owner has already sold it for between $700,000 and $800,000, conditional on it being finished, however there has been a major glitch in the renovation process.  The original developer made the new foundation at least deep enough to provide for a 9' ceiling which means that the floor of the basement was at least 6' below ground level.  The new contractor/owner decided to provide windows and outside access in order to make the basement a separate living unit, essentially making the house a duplex.  One big problem:  He cut out for the windows and doorway before providing anyway for ground water to drain away from the openings.  So when the rains came one worker told me that there was 2' of water in the basement.  Now that all of the retaining walls are in there is no way to get any equipment in to do any digging, except for one worker with a shovel and wheelbarrow.  That poor guy worked all last month to lower the ground level around the house by 2' and dig out around the windows and doorway.  It is still going to take some pretty elaborate sump pumps to keep water from getting in.  Here are some pictures of the diggings.  You can see how high the ground had been filled in and now dug out, all by hand, and done in the rain.                 It would seem prudent to have thought about handling the rain water prior to making the openings in the foundation.

    Meanwhile progress is being made on the two new houses.

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