Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The way things are

Tear-downs are happening everywhere - single family residential neighborhoods fare the worst.  The character of neighborhoods is being torn apart and livibility is going down.  The bloom is definitely off the rose in the Rose City.  The same can be said about communities all over the Metro area, and in no small part due to METRO's interference in municipal affairs and regulatory overreach.

The article below cites a recent home in Sellwood being sold and scheduled for tear down.  The images here are all homes that are or will be torn down in the Sellwood neighborhood taken from the link below. The connection to our past and our small town /close neighborhood identities and way of life is disappearing.  I don't know about you, but the replacement dwellings don't justify the destruction that is occurring.

Fed-up renters assemble to strike back

Portlanders form group to address rising housing costs. 

Portland Tribune, July 28, 2015  by Max Denning

Joe Clement had been renting a room in a large home in Sellwood for two years. 
A desirable part of town.

The 28-year-old gardened, did his own repairs, and took care of the house with his fellow renters in between volunteering at KBOO and working for the Multnomah County Central Library.
It does not sound like Joe has a full time job that gives him the money for the lifestyle he wants, but he wants and deserves it anyway.  Maybe he could have purchased the house himself.  

“A lot of our time, energy and emotion went into that house,” Clement says.
Maybe Joe should have been out working instead.  Landlords like their tenants to take some pride and "ownership" in their homes, but not feel like they own them.  Perhaps Joe is too emotional about having to move?  It can be traumatic if it wasn't one's choice, but it happens. 

One day in May 2013, he was notified that the home would be sold to a developer who planned to raze it and split the lot in four.

Blame the city for codes that allow small lots. When people don't want the headaches of being a landlord anymore, they need to get the best price for their investment to pay the huge tax bill that awaits them when they sell. Does Joe think the landlord pockets all his equity?  

He wrote letters to the city and went to
neighborhood association meetings, but to no avail. “The common reaction: ‘Well, you’re just a renter, and that’s the way it goes,’” Clement says. “That was very traumatic, feeling like you didn’t deserve to live where you live — you were just a renter.”
Renting a space gives the renter some of the powers of home ownership such as exclusive access, but does not transfer or imply ownership to the tenant.  Leases are contracts - each party agrees to the terms in the contract.  Joe should have read his contract.  

In Clement’s ideal world, rent would not be “something that goes to private persons’ profit,” he says. He wishes rent were “a function of how we provide housing rather than a business opportunity that someone gets to profit off of.”
"Gets to profit off of?"  Without profit, why would anyone own housing to rent to Joe and his friends?  Here's a tip Joe - rents are cheaper in less desirable parts of town.  

“I think we should stop talking about rent as a business and start talking about housing as a human right,” Clement told the crowd at Colonel Summers Park, prompting the loudest applause of the night.
I haven't heard of food equity yet.   Have you seen the price of steak recently?  Food is a necessity, so why should the grocer be entitled to make a profit?

“The reason there is not more talk about housing justice is because these people feel alienated,” she says. “These assemblies are really a way for people to be focused on their collective consciousness. With that, we can maybe enact some real change.”
"Collective" is communism, a system in which the state owns the means of production, and all people are treated the same.  If this is Joe's idea of heaven, perhaps a commune or a communist regime would be a better match, but the housing and other goods might not be the same nor even affordable.

Joe makes it too easy to stomp on his hipster/socialist/communist beliefs.  I would say that I hope the best for Joe, but the truth is that I believe he and others in his group need more education in basic economics before it would do him any good.  He will most likely stay a victim of "the way it is" for the better part of his life.  My time, energy and emotion are better spent on people who are trying hard to make it in the
real world.  

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