This paper was originally written by Lina Menard of Niche Consulting LLC in June of 2012 as a term paper for a course she took as part of her Masters of Urban and Regional Planning Masters program at Portland State University. The course, USP 510: Planning & The Housing Market, taught by Dr. Lisa Bates, focused on the intersection between planning, regulation, and affordable housing. This version of the paper was updated in January 2015.
Well, that was a nice 48 hours of elation before the details came out about Portland's Declared Stay on Tiny House Evictions! Turns out there's a limit of one tiny house or RV per residence, which means no tiny house communities. Oh, sadness! In a nutshell, while the city is figuring out permanent regulations regarding tiny houses, they won't enforce Title 29.50.050 (which prohibits occupation of recreational vehicles) as long as:
Yesterday Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly declared a stay on evicting people from tiny houses, RVs, and tents on private property! It has been illegal for people to occupy tiny homes in Portland, OR according to 29.50.050 Illegal Residential Occupancy, a snippet of code in the Portland Maintenance Code. Portland declared a state of emergency for housing two years ago and there was a recognition that it was backwards to be kicking people out of the affordable housing options they'd created for themselves. So yesterday Commissioner Eudaly agreed to Leaven Community's request that we be supported as we step out of the shadows. She announced they'll work with us to figure out a long-term regulatory solution and meanwhile they're going to stop enforcing Title 29.
Three weeks ago today I married the love of my life in a sweet, simple, co-created celebration at the Mt Tabor Ampitheater here in Portland, OR. I first met Isha because he showed up on my doorstep when he came on a tour of Simply Home Community, the tiny cohousing community where I was living in my vardo, The Lucky Penny. The tiny house next door to mine was for rent and he was interested in downsizing from his 300 SF condo to a tiny house, so he soon became The Guy Next Door.
This summer was such a lovely season in my good little life, beginning with my annual business retreat at Breitenbush Hot Springs with my college roommate and wrapping up with our wedding!
One of the things I learned when I went to one of Dee Williams' workshops (and which I've emphasized in every workshop I've taught, too, because as usual Dee was right!) is the importance of being a good neighbor if you're a tiny house dweller. So we invited everyone on our end of the block to c'mon over for snacks, drinks, and house tours last night and... ALL the neighbors showed up! We had a splendid time visiting with our neighbors, hearing about their homes and projects and lives, learning more about our neighborhood history (even on a geological timeline!), and watching the dogs romp with PieHead.
Here at Going Places we have been slowly crafting our Community Living Agreements together. When we kicked off the community in February, we hadn't refined our community decision making process so the first month or so it was sometimes tricky to figure out how to move forward on something. Figuring out a decision making process was one of the first decisions we made together as a community. What we landed on is a system that allows us to gauge interest really quickly by offering literal thumbs ups for proposals we're excited about.
Several weeks ago I was interviewed by Lauren Modery of Good Magazine for a piece on the true costs of building or buying and dwelling in a tiny house... She did a great job identifying the material costs, time costs, labor costs, and parking costs, many of which are glossed over when the media gets captivated by tiny homes.