Archive for January, 2009

Pioneer Park

Winter is here again.   We have a new dusting of snow but it is beautiful.    When we pioneer-parkhave a light snow in Walla Walla I love to drive through Pioneer Park and some of our other treasures which our early fathers made sure we preserved for our families and our future.   Showing new families homes in our community is always highlighted with a tour of our parks and schools.   It’s another piece of Walla Walla which makes our community special.

With the cooperation of Jim Dumont, Parks and Recreation Director, I was fascinated by the history of Pioneer Park.   The park started out as Walla Walla’s first water franchise in 1880.    The water came from 100_52614springs in the area to fill the reservoirs located at Pioneer Park.   The first landscaping took place in 1887 with additional work on a second holding pond.   The dirt removed was stored north west of the ponds, which to this day provides sledding for children. It is the oblong hill near Division Street.  However, in 1899, the city moved to a municipally owned water system and they tapped into Mill Creek.   The Pioneer Park ponds reverted to pasture and grass.

In 1907, a group of woman formed a parks committee for controlling the site for park development.   They donated $1,000.00 of their own money to get the process started.   A downtown business man John Langdon and the women went on several financial drives to raise funds.   The first being selling buttons for a $1.00 each.   They raised $900.00 in the first day of their drive.   The committee pushed forward hiring the company that had planned New York’s central park, the Olmsted’s.   The park finally was opened in 1909.   What a testiment to the work the committee did to bring the park into being.   Some of the names you will know and understand their history:  Mrs. E. S. Isaacs, Mrs. Ruth Stone, Mrs. A.J. Jackson, and several others were all a part of building the beautiful Pioneer Park.  The city and its staff have maintained the park over the years.

We are truly blessed with the beauty of our community.   From the back drop of the Blue Mountains to walking in our award winning downtown and parks, they are the back bone of our beauty.  Just take time to reflect how lucky we truly are to live in the wonderful Walla Walla Valley.



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Everyone is asking me what is going on with the Blue Mountain Mall and so I made a call to the City of Walla Walla, one of my good connections and asked them the same question.   Their reply was very positive but still with some question marks.   The two new major tenants, one being Ross, are still working through their permitting process to complete their tenant improvements which the city feels is a good sign.   The two major tenants currently at the mall have made no complaints as to what is the city is going to do.   The City of Walla Walla feels they are comfortable with what they are hearing or they would be at City Hall pushing for answers.

Blue Mt. Mall

Blue Mt. Mall

I must tell you there are no new concrete answers at this point.   The demolition debris is still at the site with no relief in sight.   It is my understanding the foreclosure will take place the first week in February at our Walla Walla Courthouse.  That action will create inquiries by potential investors, but the money market for large scale commercial properties is hard to find and will make the transfer of ownership difficult, but I am sure if a solid investor is available some action will take place.

General conclusion however, is positive.   Something will happen and an investor will move forward with the project.

Hope this helps with the street talk we are all hearing.

Still high energy in home sales, December written business for our company, Coldwell Banker First Realtors was about 14% higher for December 2008 than December 2007.   We have had large numbers of buyers looking at our Open Houses and there is general excitement about the energy of our market.   Walla Walla is still the place to be.  

DM Ledford


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It is hard to believe the weather has changed so much in the Walla Walla Valley from a winter wonderland to a spring like feeling and temperatures of over 50 degrees.   Walla Walla is famous for the warm Chinook winds that move in rapidly and remove our snow and ice.   Thankfully, the ground was not frozen and the soil absorbed a lot of moisture which prevented flooding.   This is why we love our valley.  

Real estate is charging.   We had a flurry of buyers at our open homes.   As many as twelve to fourteen different couples attending.   Walla Walla is ready to spring up this spring, the same way our spring flowers push through the ground to bloom.    Rates are unbelievable and the time to act is now.   Call your Coldwell Banker First Realtors associate for details on current rates and the wonderful inventory we have available.    Bobbie Jo Haggard is our Coldwell Banker Mortgage lender here in our office and she is just great and can answer your questions.   Make the call.  It is time to make a move.   Rates will move up and you might miss your opportunity of a lifetime.  Call today.

Downtown is looking great.  It is just beautiful in the evening with the lights on the street trees.   My compliments again to the City of Walla Walla and the work they did in keeping main street clear of snow and ice.   Also, the downtown business owners did a fantastic job clearing the sidewalks of snow and ice which allowed shopping to move forward smoothly through the holidays.dh057_0011

Walla Walla is the place to be today.   65 degrees.

Look at the difference from where we were two weeks ago.

DM Ledford

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Start of 2009

We are ready to go into the New Year.   Interest rates are at all time lows and inventory is great with a huge opportunity to find an excellent investment or the new home for your family.    There is an edge of excitement among the staff at Coldwell Banker First Realtors and their energy for what is in store for the coming year.  It will be a good year for investment in the Walla Walla valley.

We are making a huge change within the organization with the re development of a state of the art web site which will be the portal to the Walla Walla Valley.   It will be a user friendly site offering information at a new level with access to the mls and other markets at your finger tips.  One exciting piece is a visual tour of the Walla Walla Valley.    We hope the tour of Walla Walla will become a tool our hospitals, large employers, hotels, governments, and families can use to see what beauty the Walla Walla Valley offers.   It will feature our parks, downtown, colleges, hospitals, employers, rivers, streams, and the natural beauty of the entire area.  We are working hard with our business consultant, Chris Saffer, to have it on line no later than January 15th.  

The excitement is here and it is time to join us for the new energy we need to make 2009 your year to make the move to Walla Walla or purchase a new home within the valley that fits your needs and the families.   Our staff is ready and willing to assist.    They are the best in Walla Walla.  Call us today (509-525-0820) or contact us through our site www.coldwellbankerfirstrealtors.com .

We are ready.


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Still Snowed In

12/26/08 ~

Big numbers for records of snow in the Pacific Northwest with Spokane setting December records and Portland finding the same situation during the month.  I tried to get from Walla Walla to Portland to fly to San Diego to see my son’s family for Christmas week, but we could not get to Portland on I-84.  We are looking for more snow this week, but chances are it will warm up to where we will see rain instead of snow.  I do not want it to happen too fast and create flood conditions in our area.  That would really set us up for a lot of damage to homes and stream beds.


We are finding several homes with ice dam buildups which force water back into the homes and create moisture on the walls and floors.  Very difficult to break up to eliminate the ice in gutters and downspouts to allow the water to move out safely away from the home.


Streets are difficult.  They are going to get worse when we start to thaw and the icy roads to break up.  It will be a mess for all of us to get around.  If you know older families in your Walla Walla neighborhood be sure you offer to help them with the purchase of food and other home essentials.  If we think it is difficult the older families will just lock themselves up and hold out.  Be their guardian angel.


I am working hard to build my new company website for Coldwell Banker First Realtors.  I want it to be the Cadillac Real Estate connection for the Walla Walla Valley.  I am working with an advisor that has the same vision I have to make the site the best in Walla Walla for easy access and to bring value to the families that connect to get help answering real estate questions.  I will be notifying you when I put the new site up for Beta testing after the first of the year.


We are excited about rates, money and homes available to our clients looking for a new home in the Walla Walla Valley.  People are starting to understand this is their opportunity to make the change with the best interest rates in 30 years, best selection and lots of money available to get a loan.  The underwriting is back to where it should be.  Your credit, assets and employment have to be in place to secure a loan, but there is a lot of money to use with our banks and mortgage lenders.  We are fortunate to have such great men and women in the Walla Walla Valley to work with to get your new home loan.  If you need help, call one of my outstanding associates.


Let me know if I can answer any questions you might have about our Valley.  Walla Walla is a wonderful place to make your home.


Happy New Year!




DM Ledford

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