Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
The Next Stage
I've been holding onto this post for a while now. It has no pictures. Some may see it as kind of a downer. I choose to see it as a new possibility. In short, I'm going to move. Here's why:

Click Here for Big Wall of TextCollapse )

So, yeah... if anyone has any suggestions, ideas, or leads as to what I should do out in Oregon, let me know. I'm kinda going out there blind.

EDIT: Overwhelming response! Thank you all for your support; it is HIGHLY encouraging! I'm on the road for work right now (a week in Mexico City, a week in DC, 2 weeks in North Carolina, a few days in Florida...) but I WILL be responding to everyone as I get the chance! Also, don't be alarmed if your post doesn't show up right away - LiveJournal flags anything with a link in it for review. As long as you're not linking to Discount Russian Escort Services (yes, this has been a problem,) then it'll show up as soon as I can unflag it.

EDIT 2: Okay, I'm not really all that interesting on there, but for those who want it: www.facebook.com/jonathan.bellows


It doesn't sound to me like you're running away from anything... you're running *to* something else. There's a big difference.

Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts with others like us who are interested in the tiny house life. I hope you'll continue to write here about your adventures - like others have said, I've never been to Portland, but it's on my list of places to bring a tiny house to.


It is a big difference, but the line between them can be very thin at times. Intent is important, and if that's lost, one can easily switch over to the other. One of my reasons for making this decision public is to keep myself on the side of that line that I want to be on as a form of motivation. Because of that, I'm gonna have to keep blogging. I'll be keeping it updated, for sure.

At first, like most here, I was like bummer. But as you said, it seems to have happened for a reason and has prompted you to further introspection. And, the great thing about our Tiny movable homes is, if your location isn't working out, just hook up and go to a better place. This is an excellent example.

I could easily go into the current politics of the governor in Mi.(and Wi., Nh., Oh, etc.), but we've all been dealing with that. If one checks the statistics of our (I live next door in Wisconsin) rust-belt midwestern states, you'll find that it is a slow but steady migration OUT. Until officials realize that these greed based housing "standards" are not appropriate, or legal(bigger is not better) it's only going to make things worse.

My Tiny is really coming along and I've been vlogging on Youtube at livinggreen100. Once done, hopefully in March or April, I'm doing as you are. But my home is going with me. If your looking for a travel buddy, let me know. I sent you a message. I don't play loud music, am pet friendly(though I don't have any now), and No, I'm not Russian or offering any services.

As was said earlier, I hope you get twice what you paid for the land.

Re: Good for you!

Hey, it's been a while! I need to get back on YouTube and check on your progress once I get back into the US and have an Internet connection with some decent speed!

But yeah, there's been a steady migration out of this area for years. I feel guilty about leaving, because I know my state could use some more people like me. But that's like staying in an abusive relationship because the other person is too dependent - it's not good for ME.

I haven't thought about a travel buddy, other than Barney, of course. I'll be using this as an excuse to visit a number of friends along the way, though, as well as invite myself to stay on a number of couches, so having a travel buddy (even Barney!) may be impractical. However, once out that way it might be good to meet up and start our own support network!

And yeah, it's probably best not to get into politics, because that'll only get ME started on politics, and even my best friends can only listen to me rant about that for so long before kicking me out of their homes!

Good for you!

Hi Jonathan,
Good for you for showing such self-restraint with that malicious neighbor! Yes, this bad luck with the housing authorities turned out to be a chance to rethink everything. And, I think you're making the right choice in not continuing to live such an isolated way. The tiny house was a valuable experience in so many ways, but I hope you'll find a better life in Oregon without the size constraints imposed by the portability of the house.
All the best to you,

Re: Good for you!

Thanks, Georgia!
I think size constraints are going to be an issue wherever I go, but if I find a place that's right for me, that battle may be one that I'm willing to fight. I just can't justify putting forth the time, effort, and money to isolate myself in potential misery where I am now. I have faith that this move will be good for me.

Best of luck

Such a bummer! I guess we all know that type of a person, more or less.

Kudos for finding it in you to turn the experience around! Being forced to find your own space in the boonies in the first place and still finding it impossible to dodge dodgy zoning regulations is unfortunate. I do hope this episode turns out for the best, after all is said and done.

And after all is said and done, I know it will be for the best. After all, when we look back at our lives, it's the things we DON'T do that we regret, rather than those we do. It may be that I come out of this broke and disillusioned, but at least I can say I did it, and that alone is worth at least something.

Look us up if you're in DC! I moved here from OR

If you're still in DC, let me know! There's a small group of us building tiny houses on wheels here. We're dealing with planning as well and trying to perhaps park these on an alley parking lot - would love to develop a little urban tiny house community. I'd love to chat with you. Also, I lived in Oregon for three years - it's gorgeous and a great place to live. Just be ready to be entrepreneurial and you'll be okay - not a lot of traditional jobs out there.

Re: Look us up if you're in DC! I moved here from OR

I'm going to be in DC this upcoming week (February 11th - 18th, I believe) but I suspect I won't have a lot of down time. I'll be working as part of a crew, and as I've met many of them before but haven't seen any of them for months or years, we'll probably be doing some catching up outside of work. It'd be nice to meet up if possible, though! Feel free to contact me on Facebook to see if we can find a time. I won't know until next week what my time will look like, though.

And thanks for the heads-up on the need to be entrepreneurial out there. Looks like I'm going to have to learn how to sell myself.

This post

Hi Jonathan,
This is an interesting post, I found it by accident somehow and had never read your blog before that day. The post is sad, maddening, frustrating too... It really stayed with me and I wanted to read it again... think about it... then I wanted to blog on it myself.
Thing is, I cleaned my hard drive and then I could not find you/this story again, so I was asking on my own blog and on a bunch of Tiny House sites. Finally Laura at life in 120 feet gave me the link. Thanks again Laura!
Anyway. I had to think about this for a few days and blogged about it. I put a link to it in mine. I hope you are smooth with my interpretation of the issue. http://tinyhouseontario.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/the-trees-speaking-to-the-issue/
Thanks for sharing all of this. It really cannot have been easy!
If you are ever coming up to Ontario we have some pretty groovy neighbours here and you can park in my woods for a few weeks if you would like to. My neighbours are pretty cool... even the crazy chicken lady is not so much of a nuisance as she is stinky.
Good luck with everything!

Thanks, Laura!
I'm glad Laura ("120 feet" Laura) was able to help you out. I'm really not all that active in the tiny house community as a whole, but she was actually one of my first online tiny house buddies!

I like the song lyrics you posted! An old college buddy of mine was a big Rush fan - I'm surprised I hadn't heard this one before.

And thanks for the international invite! The current plan is to head west, but if I end up back this way, I'll be sure to look you up!

I'm starting to face similar zoning issues with my house. If anybody here has recommendations for Virginia, leave me a comment at houseforahobo.blogspot.com !

Good luck Jonathan, it sounds like you're keeping a positive attitude, so I predict you'll be successful in the end!

Thanks! I hope to be successful - I just need to find my own definition of the word, then strive for it.

And I've got another tiny house buddy who has expressed an interest in Virginia. I'm afraid I don't have any suggestions for anything out that way, but if you (or anyone else) find any, it'd be some useful information for the community as a whole!

Hi Jonathon,

I grew up in Michigan and lived most of my life there. Last year I moved to the Aspen, Colorado area for the second time. Many of the rentals I have lived in here are small- 200-300 sf. I just saw a condo for sale in Aspen through the affordable housing department that is 363 sf and listed for $150,000.00.

Looked at two possible rental situations yesterday and the big one is 250 sf for $675.00/month.

Just thought it interesting the difference in mindset concerning minimum square footage requirements between Michigan and her.

Best Wishes in your adventure.

Wow, I didn't know that! Amazing, isn't it? Proof enough that, yes, people can live small - and many choose to. Also proof that living small doesn't mean you'll "junk up the neighborhood," as the zoning official so kindly put it. Thanks for letting me know!

Southern Oregon

There are plenty of rural areas around Medford; Shady Cove, Ruch, the Applegate, Rogue River, Gold Hill for example. Medford/Grants Pass, those being smaller cities, not Portland-like, makes life less hectic. Nice folks, great weather, lots of forested areas, only one freeway through Medford, the I-5, which takes you north or south of Oregon. I'd certainly recommend exploring around Medford. At least there's a airport there!

Oregon calls!

We've been here 10 years from L.A. It's heaven to us!


Re: Southern Oregon

Thanks for the suggestion, Marita! I honestly hadn't considered anything that far south. Worth looking into - if there's an international airport, that should mean there's enough around for me to be able to find work and friends.

Bad but good but bad but good!

Oh wow. I'm sorry I didn't see this earlier.

I'm incredibly unhappy to hear that you had to work so hard for something we should consider easy, ie: a reasonable expectation of comfort on your own land and relatively good relations with your neighbors. But, as you say, there was no way you were going to win in that situation, so it's best to remove yourself from the issue. I can only hope you can sell your land easily and for a price close to or more than you paid for it!

I'm sure others have offered their land in Michigan, and I too would offer it if you wanted to stay in Michigan (I'm closer to civilization than you, right now), but I can understand all the reasons why you wouldn't want to accept those offers. Still, please take them (and mine) as an indicator of how much respect you're held in!

I would LOVE to live out in Oregon. I have vague plans to do so, but of course... JOBS. Please keep up your blog so those of us who are interested in your work AND in Oregon have more information! All I can suggest is that I was looking at housing prices in the Salem area and they seemed somewhat equivalent to Oakland Co. prices and Salem has a fascinating system of government.

Best of luck and fun to you and your dog. :)

Re: Bad but good but bad but good!


And yeah, anywhere I go in Michigan I'll be running into the same issue - people may be okay with me being on their land, but the zoning officials won't be. I do appreciate the offer, though!

And I hear ya on your concern about jobs - that's one of my worries, too! Fortunately, my museum exhibit job lets me live wherever I want, but right now it's not going to be frequent enough for me to live on, so I'm hoping to find myself some more reliable work in Oregon. Kinda scary, but here's hoping!

I cannot believe that!

960 square feet?! The entire town in Florida where I live would all be in violation of that code! Seriously? I am betting there are a lot of "grandfathered in" homes that don't even come close. What a joke! What did they tear down every house over 10 years old!?

Re: I cannot believe that!

Yeah, there are a lot of homes even here that are smaller than that. Basically, anything that's older than the ruling is exempt, and who knows when that was decided - definitely within the last 30 years, if not more recently. The home building industry gets to make the rules, and the bigger the house, the greater the profit is - not only overall but also as a percentage.

Job-Hunting in Oregon

Hi there.

I haven't followed your TH story as I'm new to social website scene, but I do love TH's and the concept. Sounds like you've impressed a group that knows their stuff. Good for you.

Re: moving to Oregon, may I suggest you initially look for a job working as a maintenance guy at a hotel or apartment complex. There should be a lot of those, pretty much everywhere, and the smaller hotels/motels in the touristy places sound like a good fit for you and the owners. I think you've pretty much demonstrated you have the skills for the job. Bonus: If you manage to hook with the right place, they may include lodging for you for a time. Even the KOA's might be a good fit. Just a thought.

Wishing you the best of luck!

Re: Job-Hunting in Oregon

You know, that's not a bad idea! I was kinda hoping to get into a museum somewhere (got some decent experience in that field, too) but working maintenance wouldn't be too bad, either. Once I get back from work this month, I'll have to look around and see what I can find. I just need to make sure to find a place that allows dogs!

I was Raised in Oregon and your problem will be choice. The more of the state you see the harder to pick a spot. For the industrious person work is never a problem even in one of the harder states to find work. With the small home movement in infancy you are in a good place mentally to build a future. You will never regret the move only the time lost making it. In your heart you probably have been an Oregonian over ten years and did not see it and I know of what I speak as I do not walk to the beat of a drummer, I got a BRASS SECTION. www.tugboatwilly.com

Ha ha, brass section! Sorry, but when I was in school, I played with the strings. But thanks for the support! It's only a matter of days now before the move happens - I'm sure it'll turn out just fine.


It exists for you as it did and does for me... please, if you are to seek a new home, consider heavily www.FreeStateProject.org .
There is more going on than you can possibly imagine. I for one and buying land so that many people can live truly freely (as long as they don't act libertine)... There is a lot more to it than you may see. Will you please email me if you decide you want more information? Thanks.
All The Best,


Re: Likemindedness...

Huh. Not quite sure of the politics behind all of this, but regardless of that, it's in the wrong direction! Sorry, but my heart's leading me west, not east. Thanks for stopping by, though!

Moving to Oregon

I just came across a link to your blog on Tumbleweed's website. I live in Oregon, and I think you will love it out here. I do.

If you want to live near Portland, I recommend you check out Sandy, and even areas past that on 26. I have a family member who was "property sitting," that is, living in an old cabin on the land for free, in exchange for keeping an eye on the property. It is beautiful out there.

If you want to live near Grants Pass, I recommend Williams. However, that is like the pot growing capital of the state, so beware of stumbling across illegal grow operations. But if your neighbors are doing illegal things, they're probably less likely to call the authorities on you. Just sayin. It gets hot and dry there in the summer, though.

If you want to live near Salem, I'd suggest Willamina, or Grand Ronde. They are little towns near the coast. You could also check out Rose Lodge, near Lincoln City. But be careful poking around there, too. You can also find illegal grow operations with some very unfriendly "farmers."

Philomath is a nice little town near Corvallis. Lebanon is a little further from Corvallis, but also nice.

Living on the outskirts of Eugene could be pleasant. There are lots of hippies there. I have a friend who lived in a sort of commune there for awhile, and she said it was beautiful- out in the country.

If I were to rate these suggestions for niceness and livability, I think I'd put Sandy first, Eugene second, and the others after that. For winter driving, Eugene or Corvallis area are probably the best, but it can get a little too warm for me in the summer. All the other places you're almost guaranteed at least some black ice, and/or road closures in the winter.

Re: Moving to Oregon

Thanks for the suggestions! All the options seem a bit overwhelming, though. I'd imagine it's going to come down to making the best out of wherever I end up. Also, "winter driving" isn't an issue for me. Being from Michigan, we're used to having ice on the roads and budgeting an extra hour to get to work on winter mornings.