I got a call on Wednesday from a Willamette Week reporter who is/was writing a piece on Portland housing affordability and what it would look like in ten years. After about 20 minutes of conversation as we were winding down he threw in that the piece would only be about 100 words. We emailed back and forth on Wednesday and my last message has gone 41 hours without a reply. Normally I wouldn’t scoop a news story but the topic and subsequent lack of reply changes that. On Wednesday night I wrote to the reporter:
What you said towards the end of our conversation set off alarms in my head: words to the effect of, “I’m writing a 100 word piece on Portland affordability.” You can’t ask the question of what someone they think affordability will be like in 10 years and do the topic justification in 100 words. I am afraid that any quote you use from our conversation could easily be taken out of context. I based our conversation on the fact that you were working on more than sidebar piece. I urge you to urge you editors that this is not a topic to be entered into lightly.
The preceding paragraph is 106 words.
I have no idea what or if they plan to write in Wednesday’s edition regarding the topic but here is today’s challenge: write a balanced essay on what you think Portland’s current and future affordability in 100 words or less. My attempt:
Charles Turner, Prudential Northwest Properties’ Realtor and www.PortlandRealEstateBlog.com author doesn’t preach buy or sell now but to base your decision on your individual situation acknowledging that many believe the Portland housing market may drop 20 plus percent within the next couple of years. Turner does not agree with the assessment of a market freefall but the possibility is there and should not be ignored. “Affordability” is individual unless looking at the strict mathematical definition. The crystal ball question to future affordability cannot be answered because real estate is an emotional as well as an analytical process subject to unquantifiable factors. [Exactly 100 words. Try it. It isn’t easy.]