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Bathroom Not Included

I have to find an apartment. I’ve never had to try and find a living space in a city as large as Portland. I currently live with family, but it’s high time I found my own place to live. Finding an apartment in Portland is not easy, and Portland State has little to offer students in the way of housing, or even just a place to look at posted rentals.

College Housing Northwest has so far been my most viable option in terms of affordability and location. Granted, I have to pay close attention to new openings, which requires much time and effort, but should I be able to actually get in to an apartment with them, that would be great.

I have looked at other locations, too. My requirements are that it is clean, secure and close enough to a bus line that runs often enough to get me to and fro. Downtown would be my best bet, Northwest another good option.

When you start to get choosy about things like that, suddenly apartment shopping is no longer easy, especially when budget is a concern. Downtown and Northwest are expensive. When they aren’t expensive, they’re dirty and unlivable.

Northwest has offered me some of my favorite comedic experiences in apartment shopping. Last Friday a friend and I were reading the Mercury and he found an ad that said “Studios from $275.” We both got really excited and hiked six or seven blocks to this “newly remodeled” building.

The woman at the rental office was also a tenant and she continually extolled the virtues of the building as we sat down and presented our identification (for security, I guess). At any rate, she informed me that she had rented all the studios, but they had two efficiencies for either $305 or $310.

Efficiencies are something to be very careful with, so I asked her to show them to me. She led us to a dank basement, telling me all the while what a quiet building it was. The first efficiency ($310) was dungeon like. It came with a tiny kitchenette and a small closet. It was small and hot. The second, cheaper one faced the street; a tiny window opened up on the sidewalk above. I could barely reach the window, and airflow was an unknown phenomenon in this room. It was even smaller than the first! I took a card and told her I would call back.

I lied. I was not going to call back. I did not mind the tiny kitchenette. I hate cooking and I don’t really eat much when I live alone. What I did mind was sharing the bathroom. I live in a place where I face constant competition for the bathroom. I cannot take super long baths, and multiple showers in one day are frowned upon. Plus, who doesn’t like to run around their houses naked from time to time?

The other thing about a shared bathroom is that I would be sharing with total strangers. I don’t know what their hygiene habits are. I am ultra finicky when it comes to the care and upkeep of my bathroom. The bathroom is a holy place, meant to be free of weird pieces of funk from random people.

My other bad experience with efficiencies happened here at good ol’ PSU. I was given a tour of an efficiency from College Housing Northwest. The room was small and the closet inadequate. I have many pieces of clothing. They need a home. This closet would not even house my shoes, let alone my clothing.

The bathrooms were even more horrendous than the aforementioned facilities. The kitchen was even worse. There were coffee beans on the floor and the walls and cupboards were coated with grease. The kitchen, for me, must be like the bathroom ���� spotless. This kitchen was tiny and dirty.

So I guess efficiencies are out. I am now holding out for a studio. The apartment building that advertised $275 studios actually rents them for $600. That is a horrifically large amount of money for the tiny spaces offered. It is my hope that the lousy economy will drive down the rents in Northwest to a tolerable amount, but something tells me it will be a while before Northwest renters figure out that the Eastside is now more hip.

So I continue my search for cheap, convenient housing. I have until August to find something, so I am not trying as hard as perhaps I should. But, if you know of a nice, cheap place let me know; I’m tired of looking.