Portland, OR living aboard - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 5 Old 10-22-2017 Thread Starter
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Portland, OR living aboard

Hello, I'm relocating back to my hometown of Portland after several years in Southeast Alaska next year. I've spent most of my time up here saving for and preparing for building a houseboat for myself and my partner, however due to unforeseen circumstances I am returning home alone and houseboatless. I've been looking forward to living on the boat for years, so I'm going to take this opportunity to use my houseboat fund to purchase a 30'ish sailboat to live on and prepare for a long term cruise in the next several years. Now that it's just me and probably one tiny cat, there's no need for the whole houseboat and I can live comfortably on a medium sized sailboat. I am a commercial fisherman and experienced with living on a boat and general maintenance and upkeep, and I plan on moving back down with only what will fit in my Honda Accord so too much stuff is not an issue. I'm not interested in being talked out of living aboard, as I am familiar with the pitfalls and problems that come with living aboard and taking care of a boat.

So far, the main problem I am coming across is the issue of where to moor my boat in the Portland area. The homeless problem has created a situation where liveaboard vessels are lumped in with the floating Hoovervilles along the Willamette River, and most marinas claim they do not allow liveaboards. I am not looking for a cheap place to party while my boat gets progressively dirtier and more dilapidated, I just got hooked on living on or near the water while in Alaska and do not want to give that part of my life up. I know how to be a good neighbor on the docks, and mostly just need a quiet and cozy place to read books and sleep while I'm not working (I always work at least full time). I plan on keeping the boat in excellent condition both mechanically and aesthetically, and taking it out sailing fairly often as the long term goal here is to be an extended cruiser.

So my question is this...how likely is it that a marina that claims over the phone to not accept liveaboards will allow me to moor as an "extended cruiser" for a couple months in order to establish that I am not a nuisance before officially sanctioning liveaboard status? Or is it a case by case basis where it is initially "don't ask, don't tell" but they reserve the right to eject me if I become a problem tenant? Like I said, I will keep the boat in excellent condition and no one would be able to tell from looking that it's a liveaboard? (No plants, trash, or drying clothes on deck)

When simply renting a slip on a monthly or quarterly basis, do they typically ask whether you will be living aboard up front? Or is that a conversation they have only if you become a nuisance? From what I've been able to gather online it seems like showing up looking decent with a good looking boat is the litmus test by which harbormasters judge your fitness to be a good tenant, and they often answer all liveaboard inquiries with a blanket "NO" in order to weed out the transients and drunks that simply cannot afford to live elsewhere.

Any input is appreciated, as I'm not wanting to get home and get on a boat only to find that I have no where to put it and end up living on the hook around the the river pirates of the Willamette.

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post #2 of 5 Old 10-23-2017
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Re: Portland, OR living aboard

It really depends on the marina's reasons for limiting or banning live aboards. If it's a local government management issue like in SF Bay area, good luck in finding a long term liveaboard slip. If it's just a prejudicial reason to keep the riff raff out, you might be able to sneakaboard and convert that to a live aboard with good behavior. Really depends on how closely supervised the marina is after office hours. If gate entry is via an electronic card, the management will have a record of gate entries and will be able to smoke out your sneak aboard status right quick. So what it really boils down is talking to marina residents and see what the politics of the marina are. If you are going to try a sneakaboard be ready to vacate the slip at the drop of an eviction notice.
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post #3 of 5 Old 10-23-2017
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Re: Portland, OR living aboard

Most major marinas here have an arbitrary limit on the # of live-aboard's that they will accommodate. While they do not have any logical reason for their attitudes, it's been this way for decades. I have friends that have lived aboard in this area for 20 years, and then decided to move back to "dirt".
It's a fun lifestyle at times, but living in a floating "tiny house" environment does have some down sides.

BTW, there is one marina, just west of the metro area on Multnomah Channel, with a whole row of live-aboard boats.

Good luck on finding a suitable place to tie up.

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post #4 of 5 Old 11-10-2017
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Re: Portland, OR living aboard

Columbia Crossings allow liveaboards. A bit expensive but they are available in Tomahawk Bay (Hayden Island). $150pm on top of mooring fees.
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Go back to Alaska sure there's no pirates there land lover aarrrrr
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