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Baby Boomers And Millennials Meet In Portland Housing Future.

When doing too much still isn’t good enough.

If you graph the timeline of young to old, small living spaces appear in the beginning and end.

A young single person needs a small place to crash on their down time.

From work to friends to dates, ‘Youthies’ need to pack as much experience into each hour as possible.

They don’t get that by staying inside, whether it’s a 600 sq ft studio apartment or a 6000 sq ft McMansion.

They don’t get the experience they crave doing housework, either.

Instead, they find a bar, a club, a pub, a restaurant, a show, a block party, food cart, beer garden, or brew festival.

Millennials need the world to see who they are; and the world needs to understand their value.

Baby boomers, on the other hand, are an aging population ready to go small, to downsize, to reconfigure their lives for an empty next.

Smaller houses and apartments fit them after decades of lawn mowing, gutter cleaning, power washing everything in sight.

Older boomers want simplicity.

They’ve already done the hard work of making a difference in their communities, raising kids with good sense, playing the responsible game.

Portland housing and smaller places offer the freedom boomers remember as college students, as new workers in the job market. Less hassle, more excitement.

The last one is important.

Talk to people seventy and up and you might hear about their doctor, their specialist, their pharmacist, their insurance broker.

After 70 you’ll hear about their friends who passed away, who are very ill with no family, and the general malaise of an over-medicated lifestyle.

Don’t ask them if they’re tired.

The answer might use so much energy they’ll need a nap first.

Future Portland housing plans lay in the public intersection of striving millennials and active boomers.

Youthies see boomers attending the same events and places as them and think, “they’re too old to be here,” or, “look at them. That’s how I want to be when I get old.”

Small apartments and houses slated for Portland housing plans join millennials and boomers together again, but it’s a new game this time.

It’s not a mom and dad game.

Youthies climb the economic ladder, start families of their own, and eventually decide more living space is more important than a trendy lifestyle.

Jamming four people into a small place, along with the gear, crowds the idea of living in a hip neighborhood. Eventually the pressure builds too great.

Boomers abandon the suburbs for the security of services close by. The grocery store isn’t a two mile drive; it’s a walk around the block.

Stairway to heaven, or steps toward hell?

Stairway to heaven, or steps toward hell?

There’s no yard, but the park down the street is better. And they don’t have to mow it.

Shrinking boomer space and expanding millennials space creates a social balance too many ignore.

Portland housing is growing because the idea of Portland reaches far beyond normal borders. Smaller places address new residents in the best way possible: transient.

No one sees the projected Portland housing market as a permanent response to new arrivals.

Some will come, then move back where they came from.

Others will follow their dreams to smaller Oregon towns.

Don’t expect Portland to turn into Queens, NY, where extended families shuttle between apartments in the same building.

There won’t be one family renting the single apartment, the newly wed apartment, the one kid – two kid – three kid and more apartment, to the grandparent apartment for those who make it that far.

A multi-generation family in one apartment building is an east coast thing. We move around more in the west and the Portland housing plan reflects that reality.

Start with you and a toaster oven, then you and everything from Jenn-air to rotisseries, then back to you and a toaster oven.

Call it Portland housing cycle of life, and learn to embrace it.

Now go out and give Portland a big old hug.

About David Gillaspie
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