Monday, July 7, 2014
Couch Surfing Horror Stories from Portland, Oregon and Why it maybe better to Rent The Doghouse Instead.
Couch Surfing Horror Stories from Portland, Oregon Couch Surfing is One of the Cheapest Ways to Live in America Today Lex Loeb Network . Driving around the neighborhoods of Portland you will find many old couches sitting on the curbs with thick moss growing over them. The main reason why is that the couch had to go, often as the first step in the process of evicting a professional couch surfer from the living room. Set at the side of the curb no one wants them, not even the garbage man. No one even wants to touch one of these. Once at the curb they are considered more of a bio hazard zone than a discarded mattress. Many are so contaminated that dogs in the neighborhood keep their distance. Oregon has a law making it illegal to sell a used mattress but none for dealing with living room couches and love seats. That becomes a real problem after a couch surfer lays claim to a couch as a permanent living room fixture. Most couch surfers start out as young slackers looking for the lowest rent in town. You can go to craigslist.com and find plenty of listings for the living room couch for rent. It has become something of an institution and even a local cult. Not covered by reporters for the living section for obvious reasons, a lot of people might not be aware of the phenomenon. Luxury Living it is not. The craigslist rates can start at $100 a month and go to as much as $350 for the benefit of the living room couch. What has happened in Portland is there is a low cost housing crisis of sorts. Rather than being a crisis it really is a supply and demand imbalance with too few houses with enough rooms to allow low and no wage people an adequate place to stay without subdividing a lot of old rental houses though out the city into rooming houses with shared bathrooms and kitchens. Basements even get rented out as separate "low cost" abodes with no improvements. The cost of renting a basement space , even if its got black mold growing everywhere is from $400 to $1000 a month. Supply and demand is what makes it so. Not enough housing and too many people moving into town permanently on a daily basis. I have seen whole unfinished attics rented out with up to twenty Mexicans immigrant workers living up there sharing a $800 a month rent for the privilege of living . You go up the stairs or in many cases a ladder and you see them bunking in the between the unfinished rafter on cushions of pink fiberglass insulation. The Mexican often are not paid fair minimum wages so they are hard to blame for finding shelter where and when they can. Couch surfers, however, get the cat bird seat in a group rented house. Anyone who comes though the front door finds them on the couch . Sometimes welcoming visitors and resident to sit or lay with them or guarding the couch as their personal zone of privacy. Usually the couch sitter owns the best lines of view to the living room television and there can be tolls charged to sit and watch. There are several types of couch surfers I have come across. One type that is very common is the old living room hippie fixture guy who is often a nudist . Those old hippie nudist couch surfers are usually unsightly hairy males who have been in control of the living room couch for at least the past 20 years if not twice that. Some one sleeping on the couch for the past 40 years might not be considered to be much of a surfer until you find out that they have 6 different couches in different hippie houses in the neighborhood. It can give the couch time to air out or have other residents who have not bathed for a year or more sit there and share a bong oblivious to the putrid smell of the couch they are sitting on. If they are doing their magic mushrooms on the couch it might even add to the sensory experience with fumes rising from the couch. More than one couch is known to have caught on fire when flaming joints were lost between the cushions. A burn couch can always be covered over with a tie dyed sheet when the couch surfer returns to go to bed even when charred to a crisp and damp from the fire department's intervention. I have walked into too many hippie houses and found the fixture nude hippie on the couch to not expect to find it in many others. The next type of couch surfer is a younger twenty something guy who monopolizes the couch and guards his place to sleep religiously . You find him all hours of day and night sitting on the couch in his boxer shorts and tank top and characteristic base ball hat paying video games , Watching television and having his German Shepard or pit bull sit besides him. He is there or has his dog stay there when he has to go out to be sure that others like him wont steel his favorite surf couch from him. Yes there really is competition for that couch and he aims to control it. If he were paying rent to sleep there then it would be safe to leave but not paying rent he knows his spot is at risk the moment someone gets to it first. There is no sharing the couch with anyone. The rented couch surfer is different because his couch becomes an elaborate living room pad with in a pad and you are likely to find that guy entertaining different girls on his couch though out the week. Where a guy finds women who are impressed by his surfing couch who knows but they do. These types don't need any privacy and for that reason they relish having the center stage in the living room all hours night and day. Most house mates won't complain if he is paying $200 or more a month in rent. Often times one person rents the whole ex single family home and the more Tennant's he or she can put in all areas of the house the more money they can make over what they pay. These house masters get to live for free and can get enough income to be jobless slackers. Some even go out and rent ten or twenty houses and rent them all out with ten attics , ten basement and ten living room couches in the packages. Some quickly become millionaires and go on to become genuine slum lords. Couch surfing is not necessarily the cheapest place to rent in Portland. I found one guy renting the interior of an old dog house for $25 a month. It could be worse. I was walking around Washington park one day picking up cans for the five cent deposit money and this hobo comes out of the bushes and tells me I am looking for cans in the wrong places and points to some garbage cans in the distance. He tells me he has been living in the park for the past 25 years and knows where the cans are. There are permanent camps in Washington park and even some really elaborate underground shelters one is made out of an abandoned steel dumpster turned upside down and hidden under overgrowth . The park dwellers need the open air of the park and couch surfing is probably too expensive for their budgets. The worst of couch suffer horror stories really should not be told. The couch on the curb with the moss growing over it is the story and that is all the more needed to be said about it. What You Need To Know About Couch Surfing in Oregon. The Going Rate is now between $25-$50 a month but only if the apartment/ home owner likes you enough to let you use the couch. There are now websites to help you find open couches , make reservations and provide advance ratings on couches . The City of Portland has become wise to couch sitting and has instituted a couch sitting tax which if not paid could land you or the couch owner in jail. Some couches are now coin activated so you have to pay the tax to make the nails under the fabric retract complements of the government. Portland City Hall also offers couches for rent at $200 per night that come with luxurious city hall accommodations. Beware all city hall bathrooms are unisex. The urinals were removed because they discriminate against ladies. The best prior places to crash in Portland were the Airport, OHSU and Reed College. No longer. It is a criminal act to sleep outside because that threatens nature. It is better to go to craigslist and see if someone is renting a dog house than to risk your life sleeping outside anywhere in the city where its open season on sleepers. The typical dog house rents for $350 a month, has free wifi and a porta potty next to it. Also check Craigslist to see if any tree houses are for rent. The typical tree house is a kids size tree house and rents from $230 a month to $1500 or more. If you weigh over 300 lbs tree houses are not recommended. Tree houses have a tendency to fall out of trees because most were built by kids. .