10.11.2014

empty apartment (before)

entry to main room (June 2013)

June 26, 21013 (journal entry):
I want enough floor space freed up to easily be able to do yoga without moving everything around every time. What I don't want is every square foot full of furniture.


main room (June 2013)

June 26, 2013 (journal entry):
Before I move in, [in addition to having the bedroom and closet carpeting removed] I also want all the blinds off, the ceiling fan down, and all the walls painted white.


kitchen (June 2013)

June 23, 2013 (journal entry):
I still go back and forth about whether I'm doing the right thing financially . . . but then M— brings home a friend for the evening or leaves his usual crumbs all over the kitchen and can't take a shower without pulling the curtain askew and I think, "This is why I'm moving": so I can live in my own home the way I want, when I want, in ways that make me happy and comfortable.


bedroom (June 2013)

June 16, 2013 (journal entry):
I'm terrified I'm getting into a situation I can't afford, and honestly, moving downtown isn't going to help shorten my commute much, though it will make errands easier . . . . [But] based on the apartment listings, it's not more expensive to live downtown compared to other neighborhoods in Portland, unlike what most people think—unless you want more space, good light, a balcony, or a view.


walk-in closet (June 2013)

June 9, 2013 (journal entry):
If E—'s income-restricted building weren't carpeted, it'd be a pretty good deal: large windows and bright light, at least on the south side. But I don't want to compromise on hardwood floors, which means an older building. . . . 
I keep wondering if I'm making a huge mistake re moving downtown. It seems so expensive. But I don't want a roommate any longer.


bathroom (June 2013)

June 7, 2013 (journal entry):
I stopped at Powell's on the way home from work this afternoon to get books for the [school] kids . . . . And I kept thinking, "Soon this will be my part of town." And it felt really good. I just need the courage to make it happen without major compromises on location, south-facing light, or hardwood flooring.

 
storage closet (aka "the Garage") (June 2013)

(Returning to the present day . . .)

And so she lived (a little more) happily with her companion-animal cat in her modest-but-charming hundred-year-old downtown-Portland apartment, with original hardwood floors and south-and-west-facing light—though saving no money—until the hundred-year-old brick building next door (the Jefferson West) was clawed down to make way for a tall, shiny apartment tower erected by Nevadan developers, and her landlord raised her rent despite the horrific demolition noise next door, even on Saturdays. But since the corporate property management company explicitly seeks to "maximize rents," she should have known it would end this way. And so she began packing up to hitch a ride out of town.

Dear Mayor Charlie Hales, Portland City Council, and Assorted City Planners,
You claim to be working to make city living affordable for the average person. You want more people to give up their cars and start biking and using public transportation. You want to create more dense, walkable neighborhoods accessible to local retail. But many well educated single professionals like me, earning well above minimum wage, some of whom, like me, have even given up their cars, still can't afford Portland's dense urban neighborhoods without being part of a two-income household or shacking up with roommates into decades long past their college years.
Since nearly three-quarters of Portland-area renters making less than $50,000 a year are already paying more than a third of their income on housing expenses, making such rents officially unaffordable, and since much greater percentages of those in lower income groups (people like myself) are paying over half their incomes on housing and thus officially labeled as "severely burdened"—and, yes, this problem is nationwide, though Portland isn't even close to offering the amenities, culture, and job opportunities of higher-cost places like New York or the Bay Area, the latter where I once lived and was also priced out of—how can they save easily for a down payment on a mortgage (without help from older baby-boomer family members who benefited from living at the apex of the American Empire) to raise themselves from the renter class, when basic living expenses (housing, food, health care, education, transportation) continue to rise and wages aren't keeping up?
When will you start fighting the rentier corporate overlords on behalf of the majority of citizens, the ones actually paying, instead of loophole-dodging, taxes?
Sincerely,
—about-to-be-former downtown Portland/Multnomah County resident

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