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Think Out Loud

How We Live: Houseboat

Pete Springer/OPB

How We Live is our series that explores how the places where people live reflect their beliefs and principles — what the physical space says about how they live their lives. We’ve visited a tiny house and a pocket neighborhood and this time, we went to the Jantzen Beach Moorage to talk with people who live in floating homes:

Floating homes are often called “houseboats,” by many people even though they are actually stationary. There are a handful of floating home communities along the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Some of the structures date back to the early days of Oregon’s statehood when floating bordellos catered to mill workers. Today, the homes are docked together and neighbors share utilities and, in some cases, ownership of the docks themselves.

Not surprisingly, the lives of the moorage residents are ruled very much by the weather. As our guest Ron Schmidt says,

In the summertime, it gets to be a real party atmosphere. Everyone’s outdoors and boaters are going by. People come and visit. It’s very festive. Then come fall when the rains return, it gets to be a little more tranquil down here.

Do you live on a houseboat? Have you considered it? What appeals to you about living on the water? What would you have to give up?


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