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Greetings from the Pacific Northwest

I have been enjoying the cooler weather in Portland, Oregon for the past few weeks with boat rides on the Willamette and time with extended family. Some days have even been downright chilly! It is such a welcome change from the warmer temperatures in Tucson, though if I’m being honest, the temperatures there have been cooler than last year. They’ve only had a few days above 100 degrees F, so far. Still, I love the change of scenery.

At the Mercy of the Sea is now in the hands of my editor, who assures me that she will get it done as soon as she can, though she is currently quite busy with other projects. She is well worth the wait however, so I am turning my attention to other things.

I am working on the outline for book four, though I haven’t decided on a title for it yet. A Country for Castoffs is a five-book series, and book three wraps up some story threads, it leaves others hanging, to be picked up again in book four. I have planned a couple of tie-in books for that series though, but more on those later.

I also have some other ideas I have been mulling about, of which I have shared glimpses of in previous emails: “The Milkman and the Washer Woman” and “A Pioneer Woman.” Both of these stories would be tied to my family history, as the rest of my stories are. But then, as I was cruising down the Willamette the other day, another idea came to me.

The house (mansion?) pictured left is a famous focal point on the river. Boat tours always speak of it. And everyone who sees it wonders about it. No one appears to live there. My imagination took me to an old woman, living alone in a giant house, an icon to former wealth and power. What secrets does it hold? What mysteries wait to be uncovered? Who is this old woman? What is her story?

Of course, a quick bit on research shows that the reality of the house is quite different, perhaps even mundane in comparison. Information on this property is very sparse.

The house was built in 1995 on 0.71 acres at 10940 S Riverwood Rd. It is a 15,151 square foot house with 8 bedrooms and 8.5 bathrooms. It is estimated that the home's value is $4,485,563. There is nothing available to indicate who the owner is or whether or not it is being occupied.

I did uncover some information that claims the house was built on the foundations of a foundry or perhaps a water treatment plant. Additionally, there is a rumor that the owner/builder of this home committed suicide in the basement and still haunts the place, as it's only occupant. I have not been able to verify this information, though it makes for a good story.

I did learn that the house depicted above is often confused with the unfinished house owned by Mark Wattles, the founder of Hollywood Video. That house however, is located in West Linn. I even made the mistake of following along with that misunderstanding in the newsletter I sent out to my readers and for that I appologize. I have now set the record straight.

The house owned by Mark Wattles does have a somewhat interesting story, which is worth telling. He bought his 32-acre farm and started building the 49,240 square foot mansion and owned the property for 24 years, though he never finished building it, after moving to Las Vegas. He sold the house for $2.27 million in 2018, after pouring $12 million into it. The new owners, have since put it up for sale again asking $4 million for it. Clackamas County has assessed it for $6.6 million. How many more millions would it take to finish it though? Images show only roughed out studded walls, concrete floors – a shell of a house (mansion, hotel, resort?).

Plans show a master bedroom with a 1,200 sq. ft. closet, his and hers bathrooms, two sitting rooms and balconies. In the basement there were plans for a 60-car garage, with a mechanics shop and heated/cooled floors.

I sometimes lose track of where my husband is in our 2000 sq. ft. house on our one-acre property. I don’t think we would ever be able to find each other in a mansion like this! What would it be like to live in a property like this? Would it be lonely? Would you feel isolated from the world? If money were no object, could there still be a home that is too big?

The Wattles house was auctioned off for $2.27 million in 2018 and since been put back on the market for around $4 million in 2020, but no buyer was found. In October 2021, it was put on the auction block starting at $3.25 million. I do not know whether it sold or not, though. I do wonder how much more it would take to complete the home and whether anyone will be found who will be willing an able to take on that project. I guess this is a good lesson in knowing one's limits.

Don’t forget to sign-up as a member on my website to pick up your copy of the freebies I am offering my readers there. You can find them on the “Free Stuff” page of my website at or just click here.

I am looking forward to attending the Arizona Families for Home Education Conference in Phoenix again this year on July 14th and 15th. If you are interested, you can visit their website to register at

Take care and I’ll connect with you again next month!

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