If you haven’t heard, Portland, Oregon is in a full blown housing crisis. It’s a landlord’s market, a developer’s market. Long-term and loyal renters have become disposable.
Urban growth boundaries tell us the only way to go is up. Even so, it’s just not possible to keep up with the demand for housing. And going up means demolishing single family homes in trade for typically monstrous box-shaped buildings that encroach on sidewalks and offer no green space. Ok, I’m exaggerating, there are a few rosemary bushes out there.
Granted, some of the structures going up are thoughtfully planned and eco-friendly. Down the street from my apartment is Ankeny Row, a collective of Passive Housing structures that greatly reduce energy consumption and focus on community, not ignoring your neighbors. We’re all in this together, right? Wrong.
In Oregon (and Texas), it is not law that a local government must mandate inclusion of affordable units in large projects. Combined with a rush of no-cause evictions across Portland… this is not just about insensitive architecture anymore– which is what I told myself for a while. It’s easier to blame differing aesthetics than to realize the loss of compassion.
Soapbox aside, I’m realizing my role in this changing housing climate. After a twenty-five year stint of living alone, I must now enter roommate-land. I’ll be giving up my second bedroom that served as my art studio, but it’s a small price to pay in light of so many other people’s situations.
When I first embarked on this roommate quest, I had a fairly positive attitude. Now, well, let me tell you.
THE ART OF POSTING A ROOMMATE AD
I think I have pretty good boundaries. I’m trying to appear approachable and “sane” for lack of a better word. Letting people get to know you is a process… especially with total strangers.
So, I censor my unconventional, dark and sometimes mildly disturbing sense of humor. I changed my outgoing message to include my name, not Josephine Baker’s stage manager. I’ve always thought the outgoing message is the perfect opportunity to really express yourself, probably not so in this situation.
My wants aside, I need to do this. I’m expecting a $100 monthly rent increase soon, and it’s just getting too tight. I live in a highly desirable neighborhood, so I thought this might actually be a snap.
My ad is pretty straightforward and honest… looking for someone clean and sober, preferably female and close to my age, which is late 40’s. And all the usual, quiet, respectful, clean, responsible– understanding that we’re all good at giving our own testimonials.
“I’m an adult coloring book artist with nothing but a can opener.”
“HEY, CAN I SPEND THE NIGHT, JUST TO SEE WHAT IT’S LIKE?”
To Paraphrase: “I live out of town but I have a friend who lives in Portland. She said she’d spend a few nights with you and report back about the experience. Then if it all checks out, I’d like to come spend a night or two. You know, just to see what it’s like.” You know.
To Paraphrase: “I’m a 26 year old, but I look 23. You should check out my Facebook page and listen to my new music mix. It’s called “Expectations”, because I expect alien fish to invade our oceans sometime during my lifespan.”
Shamanic bridger. Vitality consultant. Cranial sacral therapist. Gift shop employee.
Other services offered include “house cleansing” to reconnect one with their living space. Dishes and vacuuming are included at a rate of $30 per hour!
A self-proclaimed ex-lion tamer and lover of all things orange.
ISO CLEAN AND SOBER FEMALE: NOT SPECIFIC ENOUGH?
“Hi, my name is Otter because I like to swim.
Actually, i’m probably more disqualified for occasional cannabis consumption than for maleness. Technically, I’m a mosaic chimera– an incompletely absorbed twin–but i look like a man.”