It’s no secret that Portland’s rental market is in shambles. With the vacancy rate hovering somewhere between never-gonna-happen and might-as-well-move-to-Westbrook, working class Portlanders are finding it increasingly impossible to find an affordable place to call home in Maine’s largest city.
What once was a market where $1000 could cover move in costs of a security deposit and first month’s rent just a few years ago has become a place where landlords have collectively jacked rent up to absurd levels, charging first and last months rent plus deposit, running credit checks, and even looking at bank account balances to determine just who is worthy of renting their closet-sized spaces for double or triple the amount that they were going for before things went awry.
We Portlanders have been feeling the pinch for quite some time now, but as things continue to escalate- as more and more go homeless, and more and more wealthy people from away barge their way in, and fewer and fewer elected officials seem to care- it appears as if the locals who truly love this town are beginning to reach a boiling point, and demanding action be taken to solve the housing crisis.
A local woman named Sharon O’Neil wrote a Facebook post yesterday that sums up the feelings of lifelong or longtime Portlanders- in regards to the ongoing gentrification of our town- perfectly:
“Portland, Maine: $3200- Beautiful, tastefully furnished, luxury 1 BR apartment within walking distance to shops, cafes, bus lines (pshhhh, you have 3 cars), more cafes, gorgeous parks (don’t worry drug probz aren’t an issue here but those who have them are free to navigate on their own), theaters, music venues, 1,000,000 restaurants, and a Whole Foods.
Parking for one of your many cars available for a small additional fee which is conveniently calculated to be unaffordable for anyone but you. Ample on street parking available on weekdays between 6-9 am but you must move hourly, also available some nights but not all nights and only on one side of the street and not between the signs on your block or anywhere close to it.
No pets allowed unless they are certified allergy free labradoodles.
Come try it out for a month or stay here on your next business trip, until you move here to simplify and slow down.
Sleep on some fine, trendy Anthropologie bed linens and sink into a top quality mattress made of innocent exotic dove down. Enjoy a shiny, state of the art kitchen that you will never cook in, complete with professional grade six burner stove (comes with a spigot specifically for your lobster pot!) Bask in the clean, sterile paint colors as stark white as Donald Trump’s dreams.
Take your morning poop into an oddly shaped toilet with multiple (green!) flushing options as you smugly sip your fair trade latte and enjoy spectacular, sweeping views of panhandlers out your bay window.
No, no, silly…look just beyond that, to the sparkling waters of Casco Bay. It’s a real working waterfront, but no need to contribute to keeping it sustainable. Just take in the view, your coffee was fair trade so you’ve done your part today!
Go where the locals go to experience the real culture of the town, then return to your ice castle by nightfall and simply swipe your iPad666 to put your smart home on lock down so you can count seagulls in peace.
Before you leave, you MUST try that new place on the corner that used to be a bar I liked. They are running a special that is to die for- Deep fried gold encrusted Maine duck egg/g.f. seafood stuffing/diamond dust/local blood sweat and tears aioli.”