I can’t pinpoint the precise moment when conversation in OTA country shifted from the casual to anxiety narratives, although for certain it occurred the summer of 2018. Perhaps it was more gradual than sudden. I might have been drinking a Hamm’s or Rainier and writing a love letter. I do know the anxiety narratives keep ratcheting up as time goes by while the drinking does not.
The anxiety’s origin? Looming homelessness for many OTAs as the plague of gentrification spreads across the land.
In the past month I’ve heard this:
A Californian bought my apartment complex and is remodeling and tripling the rent. A Portland couple bought the house I was renting and plans to Airbnb it. The RV park got sold for deluxe cottages. The basement I’ve been living in for 20 years is being turned into an ADU. My rent for a house I’ve lived in for 20 years went overnight from $600 to $2400 a month.
The handwriting is on the sheetrock for the OTA sheetrocker.
Where am I going to live? How can I get the money to buy an RV? I’m going to have live in my truck.
The work is there for the OTA men and women who work with their hands and in the service industries, but how do you work when you have no place to live?
The OTAs on a fixed income were surviving but how do you survive when you have no place to live?
Can anything be done? Is OTA country going the way of the bowling alley, drive-in theater and record store? Does it matter? Am I writing its obituary a few years before its death, like the obit writers at the big papers do years before someone famous dies?