The Place


As mentioned a few days ago in this space, I went with Thom, who’s going to be a sophomore at the University of Oregon this year, up to Eugene in search of a house to rent for him and a couple of friends. One part of the job was easy. Unlike Berkeley, where there are comparatively few rental houses on the market, Eugene seems to be full of places to let.

We got to town Tuesday evening with a list of four places to check out before dark. None was just right — either a little far from campus or a little sketchy looking (in one of these places, the tenants had changed the locks and the landlord couldn’t get in for an apparently unannounced showing). Wednesday morning, we checked Craigslist and the local paper, the Register-Guard, which had about 80 houses listed for rent and about half a dozen that were big enough and close enough to campus to look at.

One of those was the house above, on Potter Street, about a mile south of campus. It’s on the plain side but looks like it has been well taken care of; it’s got wood floors, a big, largely junk-free backyard and a full basement with a washer and dryer. That’s what we could tell from the outside. We called the agent from the street in front, found out there were no applications in for the house yet and that we could see the inside the next day if we were still interested. To apply, we needed to get paperwork not only for Thom and his roommates but on a cosigner for each.

“Paperwork” meant giving Social Security numbers, driver’s license info, two pieces of ID (including one with a picture), and agreeing to a credit check for each applicant and cosigner. The challenge was that of the three roommates, only Thom was in Eugene at the moment. One was in suburban Portland and the other was on a family road trip to Utah and Colorado from his home in Wyoming. But having a deadline — we wanted to be back in Berkeley on Thursday night — helped. Using email, cellphones, faxes, and the walk-in printing setup at Kinko’s, we managed to put together complete applications for everyone by the time we met the agent back at the Potter Street house at 11 a.m. Thursday.

The house looked like it would be a good place for the three guys. We drove to the agent’s office and dropped off the applications, checked out a couple other houses just in case Choice A didn’t come through, then hit I-5 and drove home. Friday morning, we got a call from the agent: Thom and his buddies got the place. I didn’t expect it to feel like an accomplishment, but it does.

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