I’m sure I’m not the only student who was affected by the absolutely insane real estate market here in Portland. Right after I received my acceptance to OHSU, being the overachiever I am, I started looking for apartments in the South Waterfront. In Eugene, finding an apartment wasn’t too hard, probably because everyone who lived near campus was a student who moved out in July and moved in in September. Unfortunately, this isn’t the same for Portland, where people actually live here for an extended period of time. The market was cutthroat to say the least. I remember asking repeatedly for time off work to make the boring two hour drive from Eugene in order to stumble into just one more apartment viewing. On top of that, viewing the apartments was one disappointment after another.
Running primarily off Craigslist, I saw apartments ranging from living above someone’s detached garage to gorgeous 1940’s spacious duplexes where the landlord only accepted the rent/deposit in all cash. I had been lured with the phrase “you’re the perfect candidate for this apartment, we would love to move you to the top of the list” only to get a call an hour later saying that someone else was quicker. I had been strung along for months with the hopes of an apartment in a renovated 1910 hotel, but I couldn’t sign a lease because my PDF application was too hard to read, even though it was typed. I had driven up for an open house, stepping in the door only to see some other person talking with the landlord saying “I’ll be right back with the deposit check.”
Finally, I found the perfect place, in walking distance from the CLSB, within my price range and allowing pets, but the night before I was to drive up from Eugene for an appointment, I saw the dreaded “application pending” on my perfect place. Desperate, I made the decision to just drive up there anyway; what was the harm, the appointment was still scheduled and if it ended up to be a bust, at least I could explore OHSU some more. I woke up before dawn, grabbed a couple energy drinks and a 20 oz espresso and motored along I-5 to Portland. I arrived at the complex and asked the landlord in my sweetest voice if that perfect 1 bedroom advertised on Craigslist was still available. “Oh, yes,” she said, “Well, you’re in luck, the person who applied yesterday was rejected this morning, so if you like the place and get your application in today, you’re first on the list!” That was the first time after being accepted that I was told I was “in luck” with this whole apartment search ordeal.
In all reality, this tough real estate market shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Portland has been on almost every “Top Ten List of Cities Perfect for Young People” or “Top Ten Cities for Small Family Coffee Roasters” or “Top Five Cities You Need to Move To Now!” And I couldn’t agree more! With the multitude of hiking or biking trails nearby, amazing microbrews, and options for public transport, it’s so easy to fall in love with this city. I’ve only been living in Portland now for 2 months and I couldn’t have asked for a better city backdrop for my medical school experience.