Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Surveying the Land

Our house was built in 1909.  The little house next door was also built in 1909, built for the owners to live in while they built our house.  Like many homes in Portland, the corner house on the block is the oldest house in the neighborhood, with smaller parcels more modern where the land had been divided or somehow separated.  The land is often separated without having been surveyed and property borders are passed down by word of mouth.

As the third owners of this beautiful Victorian/Arts and Crafts home, we were told the property separating our home from the little house in back was located in a certain spot.  We built a little courtyard; Doug putting down pavers as a walkway.  We planted a little garden along side the driveway.  In other words, we created our home with boundaries as we were told.  As you can see, the little house is very close to our garage.

A few years ago the little house was bought by a woman who wanted to know exactly where the boundaries were located.  She had come to believe her property took up a good 15 feet into our yard, cutting through part of our garage.  A couple times a year she would mention the property line, but never did anything to find out the truth.  I finally got tired of the whole thing and found a company to do a survey of our property.

What an interesting project.  Apparently there had never been any survey monuments put along the entire property.  So starting with the corner, where the only monument was found, the surveyors measured and compared.  They even had to go a full block away to find monuments to help create the boundaries of our property.

 Turns out the street itself is misleading.  Instead of the average 50 feet wide street, our street is 100 feet wide.  We have the theory that there were planning to put a parkway down the center as are other streets in the neighborhood.  As a working class neighborhood, this would make sense as the residents would enjoy a Sunday afternoon driving their carriages around the park-like streets.  So our property actually begins some 25 feet from the curb.  

We have a large property.  It is 70 feet from the front-facing yard across to the neighbor's yard in question.  Turns out she was right, kinda...we had claimed part of her property.  Turns out we had taken about three feet at the curb side and four feet through our courtyard.  Oh and it turns out we have given our northern neighbors about 18 inches to three feet of our property when we built the fence between us!  Who knew?

On Memorial Day, Doug and I removed all of our plants and pavers from her property, getting the yard ready for a fence.  We are working with a landscaper to help us find places in our large-but-shady yard for many of the plants.

At first, both Doug and I had to go through a bit of "grieving" at the loss of what we thought was our land.  But then we just shrugged and went to work.  As we plan the yard (we like it to look more natural rather than planned), we are excited about the changes.  And the project continues.

Our sentinels to the south

1 comment:

Lori Chittenden said...

Dori, it is simply gorgeous. Sorry you had to give up some of the land, but, Wow, such a beautiful property. The green, and the green, and the GREEN! I'm greening just thinking about it. Loves you! Lori in Phx.