Avenue U: High cost of housing a growing concern

Satr Phoenix, April 22, 2016 - Peter Ryan, now 62, says he once looked a grizzly bear in the eyes and walked away unscathed.

On that day in the North, years ago, he heard the mama grizzly snorting. She had cubs. After their encounter, they parted ways.

Ryan, a man with many stories to tell, wears a Sons of Anarchy sweatshirt while he chips away ice in a driveway on Avenue U. He recently moved to the area below 20th Street West, returning to the west side where he spent 26 years, after living downtown for a time.

Having suffered a heart attack, he decided to leave the downtown because it’s easier to get in and out of places with a car in a residential area, he says.

“And also, without having to worry about tickets. That’s the biggest problem downtown. I find a lot of people have to pay two, three hundred bucks just for a parking spot.”

He didn’t mind living downtown, except there’s nowhere to shop unless you’re looking for clothes, he says. It has a lot of restaurants, but he wonders who can afford to go out and eat.

Ryan says it costs more to live on the west side in a two-bedroom house than it did to live in a bachelor suite downtown. One bedroom makes a big difference, he adds.

Rental rates are going up in residential areas, he says, noting some places cost as much as $1,200 a month.

It took him seven months to find a new place to stay, but his search could have taken longer without the help of friends and family.

He pays $860 per month for the roof over his head.

“That’s expensive because of today’s market in housing,” he says, noting his daughter is a homeowner who also rents out a condo unit. The rental income from her tenant pays for her home.

Ryan says the amount of money people pay for housing is too high and needs to come down.

“I know several people that are homeless, that do sleep or spend the night walking the streets and try to find a warm place — a warm shelter. And usually that’s in a bank or doors that you’re able to get into.”

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