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boomerpdx choice

Southern Portland view from Calaroga Terrace during a move.


Help a family move an elderly parent a few times to find the BoomerPdx Choice


A few things people new to Portland can’t fathom is how living in Portland felt in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

It was a dive city.

A studio apartment between NW 20th and 21st on Lovejoy ran $155 a month.

Same for a studio in a similar building, same location, on Marshall. Shampoo the carpet before moving, or don’t wear white socks.

On the corner of 20th a one bedroom ran lower at $150 including bugs.

Were they dive apartments? At first, then better renters started showing up and ruined the curve.

People with cars and furniture were a menace. Too grown up for the bikers in the building.

One of the tenants was a Portland Wheelman woman dedicated 100% to her bike like a fanatic.

She knew how to do it back then, even without bike lanes and laws. Being an aware rider helped. So did riding together.

Tell someone about the NW Portland dive life and it seems hard to believe, even to the speaker.

But it was true, and it was perfect, then it changed.

$155 turned into $240 with a new owner. Nothing else changed except renters who moved down the street.

The $150 rent held a couple of years, then jumped to $240, the new $150.

From a different era, Monica Drake captures a certain ‘living in Portland’ feel in short stories that read too true.

The late 70’s early 80’s Portland living came before any of the new buildings went up.

Before the Portland Building, before the Justice Center, NW Portland was fertile ground for cheap rent and city access. It attracted a different crowd, a paycheck to paycheck single crowd.

Smart people at the start of life on their own mixed with Old Town street people strong enough to walk to a safer sleeping place and not get their shoes stolen.

With rent jumps, where was the next destination?

SE Portland, of course. Several NW businesses had already migrated to SE Hawthorne. That’s where the groove moved when money took over.

Three bedroom dive apartment on SE 11th and Lincoln in a fourplex? $260.

How big a dive? The owners laid new carpet the renter bought over the pet stained, food stained, old carpet without any cleaning at all.

“What’s that smell,” was a popular question.

This was SE before GenX, brewpubs, millennials, and the evolving SE lifestyle ethic of re-use and re-purpose on a grand scale. It was baby boomer age and up.

What makes it so hard to fathom is boomers are the oldies but goodies now and you’d never know.

Just like Marshall Manor in NW Portland, and Calaroga Terrace in inner NE, age and youth mixed seamlessly. The elderly didn’t get out much, not like boomers today who insist on getting out more.

Getting involved in a Grandma’s move from retirement home to retirement home created a vision of the future.

From one place to the other, then to an all service assisted living complex with memory care and code-lock doors, created a map of the future.

Since the truth is no one knows how things will work out in the years stretching before us, good choices make the biggest difference. A boomerpdx choice narrows things down.

Live in a mix of young and old, or an over-55 place in the suburbs with a low par golf course?

Maybe you’ve heard of Jimmy Buffet’s next venture?


“Minto Communities and Margaritaville welcome you to Latitude Margaritaville

It’s always been that happy place in your mind, the spirit of adventure in your soul. It’s the state of mind when it all comes together in one of life’s perfect moments. When your mind wanders to this paradise, why not follow it home?

We have heard your call.”

When will Portland bring one of these into the city? It looks like a BoomerPdx choice.

About David Gillaspie
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