For every reason one has for moving to Portland, there's an equal and opposite reason why you should NOT move here. Take our rental market, for example. With the lowest vacancy rate in the country, finding a half-decent place to live here that isn't a literal closet is an abject nightmare. Sure, the city is filled with cute purple bungalows with goats in the backyard, but the chances of actually landing a spot in one of them is nil at this point. Other options exist, but as you'll learn from spending any time scrolling through Craigslist, every ad looks like one of these below, and they're all terrible for their own uniquely Portland reasons. But hey, it beats wherever you're from in the Midwest, right?
$275 - Awesome bungalow in SE! Pets/couples/420 welcome! NO DEPOSIT - (SE Portland)
The appeal: After a summer spent following Dave Matthews Band, you and your boyfriend decide to put down some roots. You hear Portland is cool and that Southeast is where it's at. No one tells you just how big that quadrant is, so you go for the first place that's willing to take in the two of you and the giant dog you picked up off the side of the road somewhere in Humboldt County. You assume it's chill because it's 420 friendly. And it's so damn cheap!
The reality: After a 20-minute drive down Foster, you start to wonder if the house you're looking for also has a unicorn in the front yard -- it's gotta be too good to be true, right? You read a sign that says "ROADWAY NOT IMPROVED" right before your car goes nose-first into a massive drainage ditch in the middle of the road. The house doesn't have a unicorn in the yard, but it has a pretty impressive boat out front!
The final straw: You take in your surroundings before knocking on the front door to get a better read on the neighborhood. It doesn't portray the classic symptoms of being a rough neighborhood per se, but the trash bags blacking out the windows are probably not a great sign. The owner finally opens the door and asks what you think about "felony flats," and you're not sure if you're supposed to laugh. You shake his hand and tell him you'll be in touch when he asks you how many months you'd like to pay for up front, in cash.
$500 - Old-school indie dudes seek rockin' roomie (Upper Division)
The appeal: The ad promises a haven for aspiring musicians, complete with a drum kit in the basement, a garage for motorcycle tinkering, and off-street parking for your old cargo van. Before showing you the room, the guy gives you a tour of the house, and mesmerizes you with origin stories of the various artifacts strewn about the place that he acquired when he "toured with Jonestown" in the late '90s. Judging by the heaps of broken guitars and empty PBR cans in the living room, these guys are obviously the real deal.
The reality: It's been three months since you moved in, and that same stack of PBR cans in the living room is still teetering back and forth. You feel bad stepping on toes and asking people to clean up, but the fact that you're the youngest person in the house at the spry age of 30 makes you wonder how these guys even function in the real world, which is far, far away from this place.
The final straw: The landlord -- who everyone swore up and down was "super-mellow" -- serves the house with an eviction notice for non-payment of rent. You wonder where the master tenant collecting everyone's rent got the scratch to buy a new Fender Jazzmaster, which now makes a lot of sense. The gang throws one last house show -- members of The Dandy Warhols and The Wipers will be there, according to the flier -- to wreck the place before the landlord tears it down and turns it into condos. An old Utz pretzel jar is passed around to collect donations for the first person in the house to need dialysis, which is a sad, foregone conclusion at this point.