It's just the same as how Hitler first ostracized the Jews, then the Homosexual Socialists, followed by the trade unionists, and Catholics. The Fascist, Joint Terrorism Task Force has the mission of controlling the aftermath of the tanking economy. So, first they turn public opinion against the homeless, and then the next worst minority, the artists who tend to be critical of government. Once these undesirables have been eliminated, and the middle class become unemployed, they will be slated next for persecution.
plumbers top out at about 90k. average plumbing wage is about 50 to 60k. a two plumber household is probably doing just fine (and they can repair their own house!) thats nothing to sneeze at, especially at two in the morning when your apartment is being overrun with toliet burritos...
And let us not forget the sandwich artists.
Very interesting. I'm curious as to when the Mercury will do a piece on plumbers who can't afford housing in our fair city.
You can do art anywhere. But if you have a job that requires you to commute and you are too poor for a car... Well, you are SOL my friend.
Fuck the "artists". The people in this city who have actual jobs and are working hard to keep this city moving can't live here. But no one in Portland would ever lift a finger for the blue collar workers who are losing their housing.
People want to keep insisting that this is nothing new, but it is! You could get an apartment in LA for $350 a month back in the late 80's. What is happening now is the realization of the haves and have nots.
I'm always hearing about the creative class being priced out of Portland, but every single time I ask anyone in this camp seeking housing or studio space where they are looking, the answer is always the same: the trendiest east side neighborhoods that have been picking up steam for more than a decade. Well, surprise surprise they can't afford it, just like I couldn't afford many neighborhoods in both Chicago and San Francisco where I lived before Portland. My Chicago neighborhood was the then decidedly sketchy (now popular and expensive) Wicker Park because I couldn't afford the North Side. In SF it was the Western Addition, long before Divisadero Street got the cute shops and scene-y restaurants. I went where I could afford and if it was short on charm or amenities (or safety) I didn't complain that I was being denied my rightful place in more sought after neighborhoods. I'm sure there is space in Milwaukie, east beyond the 205, or in Hillsboro but you'll never see this crowd go there. I always laugh when the hand wringing starts about the vanishing diversity on the east side. Want diversity? Head out to Oregon's statistically most diverse city...Beaverton. Anyway, everyone makes choices--did anyone really think that their freeform creative careers were going to pay the kind of income that would allow them to live in prime real estate?
The bar is raised a lot higher in California. Farm league players, such as working musicians in Portland, don't get signed by agents or get deals with promoters. If you want to play a small club, you have to rent the place yourself, and charge at the door. In LA, you even have to pass an audition before they so much as let you rent the room.
Churchill Ladd- "In San Francisco and Los Angeles, musicians don't get paid at all, rather, they must audition at each club for the privilege of paying to play."
My sister is a professional singer. It's her day job. When she goes to SF and LA she gets paid to sing. When I was touring as a guitar picker I got paid to play not just here but all over including Paris and London. You think Thomas Lauderdale, Mel Brown, Sam Henry, Lewie Longmire, Nancy King, Three Leg Torso, Everclear, Storm Large, Becky Kilgore, etc. ( all local folks, I could go on forever), pays to play? Uh no.
If you are any good at being a musician or an artist you will get paid.
Anatta- You said "I love artists. (I am one, even though I no more expect to be paid for it than anything else I enjoy.)"
You made a statement that drives other folks and me who make their living from the arts crazy.
I'm lucky that I was raised by a professional artist. I grew up with the concept that making art is work. Often very hard work, and that we should get paid real money to do it. I don't wait for the creative muse to move me. I can't afford it. I have bills to pay.
concept...cities are not static entities. they are transient collections of people and structures who change with the times. im not sure why thats such a hard concept for people to grasp. no neighborhood ever stays the same. look at portland census records too. people have been flocking here for the last 150 years. considering over 50 percent of oregonians are transplants, id bargain the vast majority of portlanders have lived here for 20 years or less, hardly enough time to claim they are a neighborhood fixture. think about it, portland, seattle, sf, boise even, are all still frontier towns. as mid west industry has dryed up over the decades, people have moved east, west or south. ive been here since the middle of the 90s and still feel like an imposter oregonian.
If what you say is true then you are only proving the whole point. Portland was once as rough as many of the places you mentioned. 20th and Hawthorne was XXX films and adult bookstores, meth and heroin, shootings ect... but the town also had a lot of cool things that only those with a sense of wonder would appreciate. The vapid scenesters you speak of aren't the people that anyone is concerned about. They are the one's who ride on the backs of others. If you or your father have been run out of places that you worked to make special with something other than money, then you have every right to be pissed. For the same reasons everyone else is pissed, because now it's getting more accelerated and intense in places.
I love artists. (I am one, even though I no more expect to be paid for it than anything else I enjoy.)
But I also love: volunteers, activists, craftspeople, humorists, radicals, spiritual seekers, tradespeople, anti-consumerists, students, refugees, teachers, gardeners, archivists, poets, and basically anyone who isn't a profiteering yuppie-hipster or a one-percenter.
Let's be careful about positioning "artists" at the front of the line when it comes to the availability of decent housing. LOTS of people make Portland - or used to make it - amazing.
Wah! Artists keep getting shoved out of cool places. Sorry but this story is as old as art is. Being an artist or musician is hard. Nobody does it because it's a good career move, pays well, lots of security with a pension and insurance.
I'm a second generation artist. My late father was an artist, I'm an artist, (have been for over 40 years),my sister is a full time musician. Back in the late 1920s until WWII my father had studios in really crappy neighborhoods in Paris and in SoHo in NYC. No heat. No plumbing. I've been chased from one perfectly good ghetto to another by folks with fancy cars. I finally got smart and lived rough, really rough, for years so that I could save enough money to buy a tiny little house in the worst neighborhood in the city in the middle of the crack wars. So did my sister and a few of my art buddies. Young folks ask us how they can have places like ours in a cool hood. I've been telling them for over a decade to go buy places around 82nd ave, Lents, Clackamas, or better yet Detroit, New Orleans, Baltimore, Olympia etc. They look at me in disgust and say "Oh I would NEVER live in there."
So artists... Go out and find your own ghetto, buy a cheap dump next to a meth lab, start a coffee shop. Have a buddy start a bar. Get your friends to come hang with you and after 20 or so years of sweat equity you'll have a cool place of your own.
In San Francisco and Los Angeles, musicians don't get paid at all, rather, they must audition at each club for the privilege of paying to play.
here, lets do a little history lesson. urbanity as we know it has always favored a central location. a pyramid, ziggurat, market, city hall, whatever....fast forward to post WW2 america and the shift to autocentric suburia was in full force. add 20 addtional years of inner city social strife, white flight and ouila, the inner cities of america became a ghost town. fast forward to now, and urbanity is simply correcting itself. people moving to the central city isnt a portland phenomenon, in fact it not really anything we can control, its a market preference thats been true most of urban history on this earth. people want to be close to "stuff". sure i miss gritty portland of yore and would like fewer chain stores, but you know, the city is simply moving forward. all cities in fact, should want to move forward. 30 years from now if detroit actually turns around, people will having this exact same conversation when new center or downtown turns into one giant banana republic and sbarro pizzeria. ps, portland mercury, if you need a new urban planning correspondant, gimme a call!!
It comes down to this. Boring, frightened white people love to live in urban areas that are free of blacks and hispanics. In the 60's and 70's all the white people abandoned the cities to get away from the blacks. In the 80's our cities fell to slums and almost every urban center was 100% black by the late 80's. Reaganomics was kind to many whites in the burbs in creating a wider gap in wealth distribution. Now all the children of the Reaganites who grew up in the burbs want the city life, minus the blacks. What do Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco all have in common? Urban centers with the fewest minorities and the highest cost of living because they go hand in hand. It usually takes working class whites to go into an area and make it safe enough for the richer whites to come later, like Brooklyn and Philli. Thanks to 30 years of class warfare and racial divide we now have entire cities that only rich white people can live in.
The question proposed in the very title of this article is easy to answer. NO. Portland artists and musicians who are not rich (which btw is most of them) are already being pushed out for years now. I lived in Portland for 17 years, and I worked the whole time and I was a working musician. Up until about 10 years ago you could get paid as a band more than you do now, you could rent a house cheap enough to put a studio in it, and scrape by if you managed to hold on to a job or lived in group living scenario or even get a loan to buy something reasonable! Now most of the working class musicians and artists can't even afford a place to live let alone a studio or space to create. People on this thread have commented that artists just don't want to work- well the only ones Portland will have left soon are the independently wealthy ones who mostly make crappy art and music- "just get a job" etc is so freaking stupid if you lived in Oregon the past 10 years you know how hard it is to get a decent paying job regardless of your art.
This year I moved to Detroit. I bought a house for the same as I pay for rent for a year in Portland, seriously, a nice one with good neighbors. I have been able to get more creative work done this year than in the past two combined because I have a dedicated space under my control, time to work outside of my job, and finally not all of my resources are tied up with eating and rent. Portland was like that for me in 1997 till about 2005.
The developers will continue to make it a paradise for the greedy and rich kids who may or may not be artists from Brooklyn and Cali will continue to flock willing to pay way too much to be in a "cool city" which was made "cool" by the working class.
Moving was the hardest, most heartbreaking thing I've done in a long time but it's the best decision I ever made. Portland is unique and beautiful in the world but that doesn't matter if you are living below the poverty line and would like to eat and live well. Leave town if you are a serious artists with limited resources you'll be glad you did. Large parts of Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania have great opportunities for artists to get a home or studio not just Detroit.
City officials are paying Wieden+Kennedy for promotional campaigns based on Portland's "quirkiness": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vq9-IFPlMog
At the same time, they subsidize the Portland Development Commission as it tears down the affordable real estate that makes "quirkiness" possible. Yes, people with $1M mortgages in SoCal would have moved here no matter what, the economy needed to expand given the high unemployment of previous decades, and density is better than sprawl. But if our leaders are going to exploit "weird," then they should understand the concept of arts and nightlife districts where older buildings in good shape can be easily preserved, businesses can stay open late and be noisy...
I learned to accept the takeover of Nob Hill by the first round of yuppies. But the new generation of techies and speculators wants to turn entire cities into suburbs, which displaces not just artists, but anyone who isn't rich and wants to live near work and nightlife. I recently moved back from Seattle, where the process is further along. Traffic is much worse (not helped by lousy mass transit), while chain stores and apartment monstrosities have replaced most of the neighborhood character. What Portland looks like in ten years will be determined not only by the almighty marketplace, but policy choices.
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