Last updated July 24, 2000
|Introduction - An immigrant's nightmare
||Our mission statement
||Terms and definitions
||Field guide part 1: Holdouts
||Field guide part 2: Rust in the Dust
||A new state flag for Oregon
So, you were lured to the Pacific Northwest by the growing number of high-tech jobs there, wooed by the generous salaries and dramatic scenery of the mountainous terrain. Before you packed your bags to leave your $100,000, 2-story, 3-bedroom house in the Midwest, you were prepared for the possibility that you'd have to pay 2 to 3 times as much for an equivalent house in your new environs. At the time you were completely unaware how loosely the word "equivalent" would apply.
For $200,000 to $300,000 you can indeed buy a 2-story, 3-bedroom house in the Pacific Northwest, but that house will have a number of drawbacks that would blindside even the most skeptical of homebuyers:
|No basement. In the Midwest, a 2 story house typically has three
floors of usable space. Not so out here. Get ready for slabs and crawlspaces.
||No air conditioning. The fact that so very few houses out here
lack central air does not mean that you'll never need it. It simply
means that people are so in the red making their house payments that they
can't afford luxuries like tolerable temperatures.
||No bricks. "This is timber country," your realtor
will say, "they build with what's immediately available." Look,
you go far enough North and some people build houses out of ice. But would
you pay $300,000 for an igloo?
||Wooden shingles. It's almost like a bunch of homebuilders got
together and asked "What's the worst possible material we could use
to shingle our roofs? Wood warps, cracks, absorbs water, grows mold, and
attracts dirt like a dropped ice cream cone attracts ants. And unless you
ritualistically power-wash and treat your wood shingles, they generally
||Ridiculously small yard. You are darn lucky if you score yourself
a yard larger than 140 square feet. (Note: That's not much.) There's no
point in having a lawn mower. Just use some scissors- it'll take you about
||No breathing room. The houses of your next-door neighbors are
no more than 3 feet away from yours. They can hear you in your bathroom.
You can hear them snore.
||Power lines. You got so excited when your realtor said your
house "backs up to a green belt," a preserved area where no houses
will be built. When you get there you see that the land is less "preserved"
than "reserved" for power lines. If you're lucky, a monstrously
huge, crackling, buzzing power tower will loom over your back yard. And
if you're really blessed, one of the monster's huge concrete-encased
feet may rest firmly planted in your yard.
||The neighborhood. Well, that's what this site is all about:
the suburbs. Mile after mile of seemingly endless middle class ghetto.
Not even Dante could imagine the legion horrors of the northwestern suburb.
Don't worry too much though- we're here to help.
The purpose of this site is to uncover and identify the many symptoms of overcrowding, affluenza, and bad taste that contaminate the American northwest. We are based in the Portland, Oregon area so we focus there- but the themes and the problems we discuss can be applied to just about any sub-metropolitan area in this quadrant of the country.
Established in May, 2000.
All text and images are copyright 2000 by The Grimace and C. Mayfield. No reuse is permitted without permission.