What should I expect when looking for a room in Portland, Oregon?
September 20, 2014 8:13 PM   Subscribe

I'm moving back to Portland in a few days to finish my senior year of college, and I'll be looking for a room in a shared house/apt over the next few weeks to move into November 1st while I stay in an AirBnb. While I have lived in shared housing in Portland before, my memory is a bit fuzzy regarding the difficulty. I'm wondering whether I should lower my standards due to scarcity or hold out for a room that fits my needs more. I also would like to know whether I should wait for a room that is available on my target date of November 1st or one immediately and pay more money?

I should preface this by saying that I have lived in an apartment for the past two years, however, my budget just simply doesn't have room for another apartment anymore. That's where the shared housing comes in. The last time I looked for a room, I was very picky regarding neighborhood and roommate characters. In the end I didn't find anything and ended up having to move back in with my parents for a short time. The first time I looked, however, I was so desperate to find a place I took the first place that would accept me in a somewhat decent neighborhood. The process still took almost a month and I was not satisfied with my roommate experience in the end.

This time, I'm kind of on a time crunch due to my AirBnB reservation only being able to last so long and funds being somewhat limited. I'm not too picky these days. I just don't want to live somewhere where smoking pot is a normal thing. The smell and the effects it has on people bothers me, probably because it reminds me of when I used to smoke it in my early 20's which is a negative memory for me and another story altogether. Unfortunately, it seems like half of the Craigslist ads I see say 420 friendly, immediately disqualifying them for me. I wonder if maybe I should just lighten up and tolerate but not like it or if this is a bad idea too.

Additionally, I would like to stay in either Inner NE or Inner SE. My range is from Woodstock to Alberta. Anywhere in there. I realize it's harder to get an apartment in that area, but quite frankly everything else is either too far or too sketchy for me. Am I being realistic about this, can I, or rather WILL I, find something in that range or should I be more open minded? If so, where else would you look?

One problem I have had in the past is I will write an introduction e-mail responding to Craigslist ads and I never get responses. I'm a pretty standard cut guy, I'm not a vegetarian yoga instructor or a bartender hipster or a frat boy or a musician. I like to write, I'm working on a novel, I'm really into studying the Beat Generation, I'm a psychology student, and I also play MMORPGs, I want to build a gaming computer this fall. I found this article about applying for rooms in San Francisco but I wonder if it's enough or if there are any other tips you guys would have.

The only other thing to note is that the beginning of the fall term is September 29th, so there may be more students coming back into town, but a friend of mine said most of them are probably looking this month and not next month. Do you think he's right? Or will this be a problem?

Anyway, that's about it. I'm really hoping to find a room within the first two weeks, but after that it's pretty much panic mode. Any tips?
posted by dargerpartridge to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Can your college help you find housing? Maybe that's old school, but it could be a thing maybe.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:24 PM on September 20, 2014

Response by poster: I've looked into it. They're pretty busy promoting their own on campus housing, which I'm not interested in.
posted by dargerpartridge at 9:38 PM on September 20, 2014

I haven't rented a room in a shared house or shared apartment before in Portland, but I do live in Portland and I attend PSU (maybe that's where you're going too, since my classes also start up 9/29?). I live in North Portland, near St. Johns, outside of the range you've deemed acceptable, and I've met others who do as well. if you have a car, commuting from here is completely reasonable. I actually prefer to commute by bus, even though it takes longer- I enjoy having this time to listen to podcasts or catch up on assigned readings for class.

Before I lived out here, I lived in an apartment downtown (right next door to college-owned apartments). Not sure, rent may have become unreasonable since I left the area, but downtown and NW (probably not the Pearl though!) are areas worth looking into.

I don't think it's at all unreasonable to avoid housing where pot or anything else will be smoked if the smell bothers you, but if you're finding that in all the places you want to stay, it might be worth calling on some of those ads and asking straight out if they're smokers- maybe they don't want to limit their pool of possible renters?
posted by Secretariat at 9:46 PM on September 20, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks Secretariat. St. Johns would probably be fine, I hadn't thought of that. Even downtown or northwest would be great. I just haven't seen that many listings down there, maybe there will be some when the new month starts.

Also, trying to stay under $500 if that helps. Forgot to mention that in my question.
posted by dargerpartridge at 10:04 PM on September 20, 2014

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