portland is for sale

i've been working on a series examining some of the changes in portland. my focus isn't necessarily nostalgia, but i'm focusing mostly on my personal experiences in the real estate market. i have been hashtagging images #onlineshoppingformyfuturehome and posting on instagram and facebook

i have done screen shots of homes from real estate shopping sites.  i'm realizing how much this is part of my nesting practice as a new mom, and how much it relates to my midland project looking at prior interiors i have lived in, and landmarks from my childhood

portland is the city of roses under constant construction. the color palate on this tiger rose collage is taken directly from this all-too-familiar orange cone that now decorates our city

i find it curious that people watermark their real estate photography. perhaps that would be the best way to document this project in the end

part of my fascination came with an app from john l. scott, a realtor we used for a while. i realized i could not even see all of the homes for sale in a few square blocks at one time because it overloaded the screen. i think the limit was something like 67

i posted this image comparing the median income in portland to the average housing price on social media and it was quite popular. interestingly was shared a couple of times, and i was fascinated by seeing how other crowds of people responded. i regret not having screen shots of some of the comments from other people's postings because it generated lots of conversation that was then deleted

i have also enjoyed cropping text to create juxtapositions

i wouldn't feel nearly as strongly about this whole situation if i felt like portlanders who live and work here were capable of participating in this feeding frenzy, but it seems to be largely big investors from other states who care little about the impact their absence has on the community and culture of our city

i recently talked with a baby boomer who is now 70 and retired, who admitted in casual conversation to having way more money than he needed. he has two homes and claimed he was very much enjoying his retirement.  later on in the conversation he remarked that he and a partner who is also in his 70's were going to start buying up little homes at the beach for $50,000, flipping them, and reselling them for $125,000.  i listen to this kind of greed and think to myself, "if you are 'enjoying your retirement,' and living in the lap of luxury (you can't even dwell in all of the homes you own at one time as it is). why not leave some of the real estate in the world that is affordable to those who are desperately looking for a home that will not make them house poor? especially in coastal regions where homes are notoriously used as vacation rentals making the workers who help those vacations happen (dish washers at your favorite restaurants or the house keeper who is doing the laundry and placing that chocolate on your pillow) drive in from god-knows-where because affordable housing isn't even built within the city limits of that vacay destination

i find myself getting particularly heated as a pregnant woman, looking for a very modest home we can comfortably afford-- even as small as 800 square feet, and we're at the point where 650 is even something we compete heatedly for with the other desperate couples in town-- we all know that we will inevitably be beaten by cash offers multiple times before we land somewhere

this was the most expensive home in portland listed that i could find on zillow one day. the irony to me is that i would assume the baby boomer generation would hope to see their children do better than they have, as they have far exceeded their own childhoods most likely. but instead of creating an economic environment wherein their heirs thrive, (not to mention the actual planetary environment...) they are constantly competing with their children for the same raw materials, jobs, homes, etc that they no longer even need. it's baffling to me. if someone has no retirement, no pension, then i understand the draw of owning an income property to survive once one has passed a viable working age. but someone who comes into portland and purchases multiple properties for hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and just rents them out, that's a different story

and frankly, while i understand the temptation, i'm ultimately disappointed in the portlanders who are selling off the history of this city to the highest bidder. i have taken to photographing buildings and signage that i have come to hold dear because i have experienced the loss of so many landmarks that this no longer feels like my city. i don't recognize it anymore. sometimes it doesn't even feel like home


  1. I fell in love with Portland just in 2011 and feel that same way every time I visit... it doesn't look the same, many small businesses are gone, huge expensive apartment complexes are going in, it's disheartening. Especially since I'm still toying with the idea of moving there...
    Sorry for not commenting often, I love reading your blog. :) <3.
    ~Joanna in Colorado


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