Thursday, July 19, 2007

Nuts, flakes, and crunchy granola

It all seemed so simple two years ago.. here we are with this beautiful property in a prime agricultural area. Three greenhouses (two of them with heating and fans and all that cool stuff) a shop with a loft and an apartment and a tractor shed, several acres of arable land, an orchard... heck, some farmer-type will want to lease the place, right? After all, it had been originally used as an herb farm... And the original owner said she'd help us, with all her contacts in the ag world, find suitable tenants. We could lease out the place for something close to the cost of our mortgage. What could go wrong?


The original owner did indeed find us some prospective tenants, who ran a farmer's market. Their grand idea was to convert the shop building into a home for themselves and their six children.

Home sweet home?

Well, we were foolish enough to actually consider the idea.

From the beginning, they balked at paying the rent we asked. They fought against signing a contract for the lease. They refused to agree to fix the aged septic system or test the well for bacteria yearly. They wanted a break on the rent so they could afford to "fix up" the shop. And on and on and on... And the original property owner said we weren't being fair to them, that we should just trust them...

After months of wrangling, concessions, stress and grief that I needn't describe in detail, but that involved lawyers and heated phone conversations, the deal was off. Phew.

And, several months later, we found out they lied to and ripped off the original property owner as well.

So there we were, trying to rent some greenhouses, a shop, some pasture space... Ads on Craigslist, ads in the local paper, fliers posted all over Clark and Mutnomah Counties, etc. etc. So what did we get?
  • " it private, man? Like....really private? Like, can I park my trailer there?"
Translation- "Can I turn your property into a meth lab?"
  • "I need some space for my horse and my daughter's horse. We'd like to rent your pasture."
Translation- We actually rented the pasture to this woman, who was consistently late with the rent. We found out when we called one day and her mother answered the phone that she was actually running a horse dealing operation and sending the poor critters to auction. Bye-bye.
  • "Can I rent the shop for my auto repair business?"
Um-no thanks.
  • "Can I park an RV on the property and live there with my whole family?"
Um-no thanks.
  • "Why not?"

And the place appeals to art studio types. The first one had plans for some type of glass gallery under the stars...that idea faded quickly. The second actually did rent our small apartment for part-time usage (yay!- a sane person!) And now we are in negotiations with someone who wants to start a small art commune on the place, complete with teepee installations and a recording studio... we'll see where that goes.

Meanwhile, the lovingly-renovated greenhouses stand empty and forlorn. Doesn't anyone just want to raise some nice petunias or something?

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