Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My love/hate relationship with the concept of Pringle Creek Community

I saw a job posting for Pringle Creek Community today that caught my eye. And it stirred in me a struggle I've felt many times before.

In reponse to that job posting and its relevance, I offer this. Anyone care to discuss?
Good luck in your search to find a good match for your needs. I mean that. But this boggles my mind.

Consider this: if this position were full time, it would pay $17,680/year. Post tax (take-home) of 67% of that amount would equal $987. Let's say we have two wage earners in the home. That makes household take-home pay $1974.
The monthly mortgage payment for the most modest of your cottage houses is $1066 (plus insurance, and there may be homeowners association fees, and...). That's a $240,000 home, 10% down, 4.28% interest 30 year fixed. In other words, the cheapest home there, and the best financing available.

Even with two earners at that level or anywhere near it... it would not be even remotely  possible for that family to live within Pringle Creek.

That seems wrong to me. Good enough to produce your food, to help you make money through the sale of that food... but not good enough to live there? And the position calls for things way beyond basic physical labor, such as planning, organizing, teaching.

The post was great and warmed my heart until I got to the wage and then I was... taken aback. Disgusted, even.

Do you really place so little value on the production of your food?

Does sustainable have to equal elitist?

I have yet to see Pringle live up to its third principle: Encourage Social Diversity. With your lowest priced offerings coming in above the median home price in the area (and how many homes are really at that level -- most seem to be higher when I've seen those for sale), the reality isn't matching the stated goals. (I remember reading one fluff piece long ago that really rung with me, and that was something like [paraphrasing here], "Laborers living next to doctors.")

And yes... this is a bit of sour grapes -- I moved to Oregon six years ago having heard a great deal about the development. It's beautiful. I love it. I covet it. But once I stuck my nose into the project as it was developing, it struck me as yet another way for the well to do to live well.

1 comment:

  1. What gets me is listing it as "urban farmer." The farmer, at least, has a stake in the success of the farm. I'm guessing that amounts to more than $8.50 an hour. It might be more reasonable to list it as an internship and market it to sustainability students.