Save Portland from Hales


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Thanks Tyler Hurst

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Thanks for reading my blog! Blowing up


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Why I’m involved in displacement/gentrification in Portland

As a homeowner for the past two years I have been shocked and saddened by what has been happening to renters with increased rents and displacement in Portland, specifically to minorities and people of color (POC).

History: In 2013, I was able to put a tiny down payment down (without any help from family) on a house in outer southeast. The market was competitive and I only looked at three houses.  I bought the first house I looked at.

Prior to that, from 2008 to 2013 I paid $860 for a one bedroom apartment on NE 22/Everett. I was able to walk to many restaurants, grocery stores and Laurelhurst park.  Everything was there and the neighborhood was quiet.   When I bought my house I knew I would have to sacrifice that walk ability, quiet and close-in access.  Soon after I left the Kerns neighborhood for my new house rents started rising at a horrifying rate.

A new building, Burnside26, close to my old apartment on 22/NE Everett went up.  I would bike by Burnside26 to my Jazzercise studio and scoffed at the ugly, plain building that was going up.  I watched traffic increased on 26/NE Couch.  When the building was completed the rents were posted on their website.  Curious, I checked out their website and found them staggering: $1386 for a  studio and $2200 for a two bed/two bath. Why in gods name were people actually wanting to pay their landlords this amount when they could own a home and be investing in equity and Portland’s growing housing market?  By the time I moved out of my apartment on 22/NE Everett I had grown sick of making my already independently well off landlord even more well off.

I wanted to invest in myself; not her.

Even though I’m farther out I can still bike to the New Seasons on 41/Hawthorne or go to the Albina Press for coffee on 50/Hawthorne. I actually welcomed the break from the constant hipster parade close in in my former neighborhood.  Sure, there are more sirens where I live but I don’t care.  My house is an investment.

As time went on, Burnside26 became a flashpoint for gentrification and displacement in Portland and that’s when I started getting mad. Fed up with Charlie Fales and his cronies in Portland city government I joined several anti-displacement groups on Facebook and started rattling some chains.  I didn’t have to – I wanted to.

I heard story after story of people on the verge of homelessness, artists being displaced and people who have called Portland home for so long facing tremendous rent increases of $300-$500.  Essentially, the people who have made Portland weird were being pushed out by people from the tech industry who moved here from other wealthy places (READ: Bay Area, NYC, etc).  To them, paying $1500 for a one bedroom in a tiny, tacky white box (have you seen these hideous things on N. Williams???) seemed reasonable.

Look, I get it: Portland is awesome.  My mom came here from the East Coast in 1971.  If she had not come here I wouldn’t be exist.  However, the city and people are changing and I’m not really liking the new Portland.  I think it’s gross: there’s been uptick in BMW’s and Mercedes.  They are filling our bike greenways and crowding our streets.   I’m thinking of other places I could move while maintaining my property and turning it into a rental.  If I do that I would charge a reasonable rate, not the over inflated market rate that seems to be so popular right now.  I don’t need to charge an arm and a leg to a potential out of town renter.  I would want to rent it out to someone, like an artist, who has lived here a long time and struggled.

It’s the least I could do in this maddening, overpriced rental market.

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Fourth revision 

Excuse the mess. Fourth revision work starts this week. September will mark five continuous years of work on this bad boy. It’s definitely closer to being done. Last year around this time I hated the manuscript because it was in such disarray. I’m learning to love this work in progress again!  

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400 pages of blather

For the past two years I’ve been writing about sex, relationships, family, and travel.  On my computer it’s culminated in 400 pages, mostly rough, in a file.  It’s begging to be sliced in half, edited, made into a book or possibly two.  I don’t really know.  It’s just collecting there right now and that’s fine.

While I was in Maine (sorry it wasn’t Roanoke – I’ve been getting creative with editing/mishmashing details lately), Boston and New Hampshire with my maternal family I spent a lot of time thinking about the land (puritanical and in order) and my family (lots of alcoholism and OCD like behaviors) and how they have shaped who I am.  The truth is I don’t really know my maternal family or my paternal one for that matter.  My maternal family has always been physically far away – 3000 is a long distance.  My paternal family has been splintered by my coming forward about my sexual abuse and I don’t really know them either even though they are 3-5 hours away in Oregon.

Visiting New England, England, Scotland and South Korea has left me wondering if I’m traveling to these places to figure myself out.  That’s the constant theme in my writing: not writing for therapy but trying to figure myself out.  I’ve spent seven years in the therapists office and sometimes it’s necessary to take field trips to see what I’m all about.

My paternal grandmother passed away while I was in Maine.  She had a series of heart attacks and eventually went into hospice in the days before I left for Maine.  I wrestled with whether or not I should go to her bed in Eastern Oregon.  In the house where I was sexually abused by my grandfather, her husband (who died in 1996 from lung cancer).  In the end I knew I couldn’t go there.  Being there would probably be too triggering – even though it ended 30 years ago.

My paternal grandmother was 88. She lived a long life.

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You know you’re on a plane to Portland when the guy behind you is knitting 

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