Trouble in the Waller

Pullets among the lettuce

Last I reported on the chicks, we’d just gotten them, and now they’ve just passed the seven week mark. They’ve gone from balls of fluff to fully feathered, long-legged adolescents, zipping around their cage and the yard, propelled by legs that are ahead of the rest of their bodies in terms of development. We moved them out from the basement brooder at five weeks, and removed their heat lamp at six.

One of the coolest differences between these pullets and our first batch is that these girls are roosting! When we first built the coop in Oakland, we made two lovely roosts, as Carla Emery emphasized that they needed a good place to roost. We waited with excitement for them to use the beautifully curved redwood struts. Hah! They never did for anything except a pushing off point for flying the coop! To sleep they would all pile on top of each other in the nesting box. Apparently we must have communicated our neophyte chicken raisers’ anxiety to the birds, and raised a bunch of nervous nellies. Our new chicks, however, are happily perching away all night long, and even for daytime naps.

A reduction in number has occured from our initial investment in five chicks. The story behind our drop to three birds follows—at some length! I first wrote this post a few weeks ago, and I’m glad to have waited a bit before posting, as the sheer writing of it, but also the passage of time, have calmed me down quite a bit. I still think it’s a story worth telling, if only as one of the many bellwethers for the times in which we live.


When we bought the chicks, we got five, since wanted to end up with three, and we well know that chickens are at their most vulnerable as chicks. Then we had five, and thought, gosh, it’d be nice to keep five, ’cause you get more eggs that way and can share with people. I looked online to check out the county permit regs again, and realized that we had initially misunderstood the neighbor-notification requirement.

The county says that if you want to get a permit for chickens you need to do the following: you need to have a facility conforming to code; if you’re a renter, you need permission from your landlord; and you need to inform all your neighbors within 200 feet. (We thought you had to get permission from all of your neighbors.) After you’ve done all that, you fill out your request, send it to the county with a check for $31 and await a visit from the county inspector.

So, we decided to try to get a permit, and raise five hens, instead of the three you can have sans-permit here in Portland. Apparently many folks raise a hen or two over the limit (or more, who knows!) without getting a permit, but Patrick and I are rule followers. There are probably some guffaws out there at that statement, given that we even want to raise chickens in an urban area. However, it’s true.

The first two permit requirements were no problem. Our landlord is interested in raising chickens himself; our coop is quite secure; our run area is more than the required distance from all residences; and we know how to raise chickens, in terms of bedding, security, food, etc.

The neighbors turned out to be quite another can of cranky worms, however.

We approached the neighbor-notification with our best community-building mindset. We were nervous—a 200-foot radius encompasses a lot of houses, on this and two other blocks—but interested, too. Patrick made a handsome flyer (Here’s a pdf if you want to see it. Right click to download), so that we could leave something with folks, or leave something in the door when folks weren’t home. Given that people are sometimes unnerved by my short hair (or by the fact that Patrick and I have the same haircut, I’m never quite sure which), I wore a hat, and Patrick brought his clipboard with the list of all the houses we needed to get to. We took the plunge on a sunny Saturday, as people were out of their houses pruning and basking and chatting.

Our first interaction went great: a woman across the street who seemed somewhat confused about why we were telling her about it, but we chatted about rose-pruning, and found out their dog’s name, and it was nice. We then moved down to a group of three women having a curbside conversation while one of them tore out some grass on the incline in front of her house. This woman, it turned out, had raised chickens in the past, loved them in fact, and this seemed like a great harbinger. But then another woman there, who lives a couple doors down from us, spoke up and said, “Well, I just want to know how early they are going to wake us up!” I sighed internally, but tried to be positive, and said that they don’t make so much noise, as we’d picked a quiet breed. I think a lot of people do not understand the difference between hens and roosters.

Now I’ll be honest, I was unnerved by her grumpy response, and in retrospect we should have been more prepared for it. I am still not sure what a better-prepared response would have looked like. We did speak to her concerns, but I am not sure she believed us. She took one of the flyers, to show her husband, she said, and she took off. Still, we weren’t super concerned, as her response was unenthused, but not particularly strong. We continued our way around the neighborhood.

At about half the houses we tried folks weren’t home, or weren’t answering, and most of the other people we talked to were cordial or friendly. We had a lovely chat with one couple who had great rosemary in their yard. We also discovered what the deal is with a big, strangely platted section of our block.

One house has a huge yard, a long, skinny strip that cleaves the center of the block, going behind about four houses, including our own. We met the man who lives there, and he asked if we had a dog, which we don’t. He told us that he and his wife invite neighborhood dog-owners to use his yard as a community dog run. We’d wondered what the deal was because we often heard people back there, but it seemed to be different people from day to day. We wondered if they had a big family or lots of visitors, but it turns out to be a kind of community gathering space. Very cool. I’d farm the land, of course, but still, it’s a community-oriented use, and people clearly have a great time meeting up back there.

There were some strange experiences, as well, like the people who were clearly arriving home or leaving, but studiously avoided our gazes and waited until we passed their houses to go in or out; the grungy abode, clearly occupied by many young people, with a loud T.V., and no answer; or the couple who only cracked the door, and clearly wished we’d not come and would quickly leave.

We were exhausted after our circuit of the neighborhood, but satisfied to have done it, and we sent off our application that day, having met all the requirements.

A couple of days later, around 9 at night, we got a call from a New York area code, which Patrick answered. It turned out to be our next door neighbor to the south, a man we’d never actually met, as he works most of the time in Manhattan. His wife works here, and we’d met her a couple months previously, when she’d brought over a plate of cookies, and let us know that an arborist was coming the next day, and would be cutting back the filbert tree in our back yard, as it was serving as an access route for squirrels that were renovating their attic. She seemed pleasant, if reserved, but we have rarely seen her since, as she’s a driver, and it’s winter.

Her husband (I will call him Richard—not his real name) was calling us, it turned out, to “find out how far along” we were in our plans to get chickens. When Patrick told him we were committed to getting them (well, we had chicks in the basement, but not the number we’d asked for in the permit, which was 6–12), Richard basically said that he was utterly opposed to the idea and meant to put a stop to it.

Now, I only heard Patrick’s side of the conversation first-hand, but I will say that Patrick was remarkably calm. He said several times that he was confused and shocked by the level of Richard’s opposition, and said that we’d raised them before, etc. But this man was adamant that chickens are not neighborly; that he did not want to have to see chickens “in confiment” (animal welfare activist?!?); nor suffer their noise or smell. The best that can be said of the conversation is that it ended relatively soon, with Patrick assuring Richard that we’d take his concerns under advisement.

Which we did. We changed our permit request from 12 to five, and moved the location of the run from next to the fence bordering their yard, to next to the fence bordering our northerly neighbor’s yard. Louisa, our northern neighbor, had no problem with our getting chickens.

Meanwhile, we heard from our landlord that Richard, and perhaps another neighbor (probably the woman who was worried about the noise?) were contacting him, asking that he deny us permission to have chickens. In rather persistent terms. With Richard’s permission, our landlord forwarded us an email Richard had sent him.

Though I am strongly tempted to publish the letter, simply because it is an astonishing document, my better sense is prevailing, though his apparently did not. This three-thousand-plus word diatribe laid bare a barnyard of resentment, with our chickens comprising the very last straw.

It turns out that our basic status as renters did not help our case—hence Richard’s shift from talking to Patrick to directing all comments to our landlord, and later, the county—but also that while Richard considers himself a very rooted person (his transcontinental commute notwithstanding), the house we live in has seen quite a bit of turnover. Turnover that our neighbor described, I kid you not, in fairly minute detail covering the six occupations that have occured since Richard and his wife moved in. The listing and description were purportedly to describe how well our neighbors had gotten along with everyone until us (!), but seemed, despite that, to indicate that no one very satisfactory has lived here. They “listened to the sob stories” of one woman, whom they also did the favor of mowing her lawn and taking in her mail when she travelled, while another woman put up the fence between the two houses, which they “weren’t wild about,” and most recently, the renters before us had an “ailing” baby whom they heard “screaming through the night for months.”

After all that, we show up and want chickens! Richard wrote at some length to our landlord about “how neighborhoods like this work.” Apparently, they work by doing what Richard wants. People like us need to be kept in line, because we bring down property values, and introduce corrosive values into the neighborhood.

Though there is no real short version of it in this case, what Richard wanted, in the end, was for us to not get chickens.

We were fairly devastated by reading this letter. It was pretty brutal in its description of what a force of darkness we are, which is frankly not how we picture ourselves. And yes, we are renters, but our history as such has been pretty stable, actually. Five years in our last house, nine years in the one before that. I certainly wish we had enough money to own a house, but we don’t. Still, we do our best to live in place, despite the insecurity that necessarily arises from not owning the land you live on. We were so excited about this house, and Portland in general, because those values seem to be such a part of this place.

We honestly seriously considered giving up raising chickens here at all.

But we couldn’t do that. I suppose if we had chickens as cute little pets, or as a sort of hobby, we could have backed down with self-respect. But that’s not what we’re doing. Nor, contrary to Richard’s self-centered view of the world, do we want to raise chickens in order to torture him and his wife.

We choose to raise chickens in the city as a part of our convictions. We raise them to deepen our connection with the natural world, by practicing animal husbandry. We raise them to enjoy nutritious wonderful eggs from chickens raised in a good, healthy environment, in the sun, hormone- and antibiotic-free. We raise chickens to help maintain breeds of birds that are not raised in factories, so that when, inevitably, disease1 devastates the factory breeds, some hardier breeds will survive, to provide stock for meat and eggs for all people. We raise chickens to create a more integrated environment on the land we occupy, using animal fertilizer, not petroleum-based inputs, to grow food that we eat, and the plants that make a space beautiful and healthy to live in.

We believe that we can no longer afford to live in a strictly ornamental world, and cannot continue to be an increasingly flaccid and parasitical people. We live in a world of increasing social and economic crises that promise only to become worse with the accumulating impacts of global warming and peak oil. Patrick and I have chosen to live in a way that reduces our ecological footprint, wherein we seek to live as locally as we can. We support local food producers. We live our lives within a radius that we can cover by bicycle. And through raising chickens and gardening the small amount of food we do, we seek to learn and develop once-common skills, and to reconnect with the plants and animals that nourish us.

And we are not alone. This fact is perhaps what strengthened us most of all. More and more people are recognizing the problems with our oil-driven hyper-culture, and trying to make change, many, like us, in small, local, on-the-ground ways. There are all the people raising chickens here in Portland. There are all the people riding their bikes instead of driving. There are all the people who support the farmer’s market, and the food co-ops.

We decided after a lot of reflection to go forward with the permitting process, for five birds.

We sent a revised application to Dave, the county’s man for chicken inspections, and arranged to have him come for his inspection visit the next week. In the exchange we had arranging the inspection, Dave had apologized for all the trouble, which sort of surprised us. All of our interactions with the county had actually been surprisingly straighforward and efficient, and we couldn’t figure out why he was so apologetic. It turns out he was generously apologizing for the trouble others were raising.

He arrived on a rainy day, and we trooped around back to look at the coop and the spot where we wanted to locate the run.


He approved our coop, and appreciated the extra step we’d taken of wrapping the bottom in hardware cloth to stop burrowing animals from snacking on our chickens and their eggs. While we stood around in the back yard, discussing chicken raising, we noted that we understood that our southern neighbors were not terribly pleased about our plans, and mentioned the accomodations we’d made, in terms of number and location. We asked Dave a few questions, and he, in turn, asked us if we knew about a dog run in the neighborhood. Our ears perked up, and we said, sure, and told him about the run, and told him to look over the fence, where you could see the run. He did, and we mentioned that we had never been bothered by the dogs folks bring. The people talk to each other, but the dogs are running, frankly, not barking.

Then, after taking a couple of pictures for his files, Dave sort of glanced around and then asked if we could go in the house, as he did not want to be overheard. So we did. It turns out that not one, not two, but five of our neighbors had contacted Dave to express their concerns about the addition of chickens to our happy little ‘hood. Dave stated that he had never, in eight years of inspections, heard such an outcry, and he was quite stunned.

Apparently a general view among the vocal opposition was that our chickens were just one thing too much. People feel like the neighborhood (the quietest one I have ever lived in!) is getting noisier and noisier,2 and were especially concerned that our chickens would make the dogs bark in the informal dog run! So, because they are bothered by this neighborhood amenity, they wanted us to not get chickens.

We talked with Dave at some length, and it turns out that if we went ahead and got the permit for five chickens—which Dave said he had no problem giving us—our neighbors could basically regularly make our lives hell. First and foremost, they could appeal the permit, holding up its granting, and forcing us to go to a city hearing to plead our case. Dave felt fairly certain that we’d prevail, but he noted that it would be quite a bit of time and trouble, on top of what had gone before. Further, with a permit, if they wanted to call him on a regular basis, suggesting that our birds were being a neighborhood nuisance, he’d be duty-bound to come check it out, whether or not it was true. He noted that if we went with just three, there was no appeal process, and a lower sensitivity threshold should they receive complaints about noise or smell. Three chickens is officially not a big deal, basically.

Dave said that in his conversations with the various complainants he had noted that we had been very accomodating of their concerns, both reducing the number of birds we were planning to raise and changing the location of the coop. We told him that we appreciated all of his help and support in this. He also noted as he was leaving, rather pensively, that people seem more and more uptight these days. He felt like people’s stress levels were making them increasingly intolerant of other people.

It’s the times, he said.

We thanked Dave very much for his willingness to discuss all of the issues, and told him we’d make a decision overnight.

We decided not to go forward with the permit. We have a life to live, and a fairly busy, productive one at that, despite Richard’s view of us as layabout neighborhood wreckers. So, we are now raising three chicks in our urban coop. Hopefully they will all remain healthy. Unfortunately, with only three, there will not be many excess eggs to give to those neighbors who are not afraid of urban chickens.

It was a tough experience, frankly. It happened in that being-in-a-new-place moment when you wonder if you’ll ever really fit in, and it didn’t feel very reassuring on that front! A couple days after deciding to drop the permit process, while working in the yard for the first time this spring, we both felt watched and judged. Watched by a man who doesn’t even live here, for all intents and purposes. Our enthusiasm for the house felt dampened. It is hard to be judged in advance of even having done anything.

It made me feel naive in my hope for community. I know that I do not have great skills in this area. I, like many people in my generation, did not grow up in place. But I also reject my neighbor’s representation that what neighborhoods are about is not bothering anyone. I fear that this definition is what has resulted in the culture of deep alienation we live within.

There’s a lot of space between Richard’s nightmares of a filthy, teeming factory farm in our back yard, and the silent, neatly trimmed, unoccupied lawns of his peaceful summer fantasies.

We—and our chickens—will respectfully occupy some of that ground.



 1The current strain of avian flu is devastating industrial flocks, while industry, and even the WHO and the FAO, diverts blame to smallholders, family farms, and migratory birds.

 2O.K., I can’t resist a mini-tirade here. People are worried about how much noise the chickens are going to make? Starting with the smaller fauna, the chickens will be no contest for the crows or pre-dawn songbirds. Moving to the noises created by the larger fauna: they will certainly not overpower the racket of all the two-stroke engines mowing all the tiny, little, easily-mowable-by-push-mower lawns of this pastoral paradise; nor—as nothing will until the last drop of oil is drunk—will they ever be as loud as all of the cars, SUVs, and trucks that people drive to and from their houses, day in and day out, never commenting on—or even noticing perhaps?—the growling mutter of their overpowered engines, nor the monstrous, ever-present muted roar of the millions of cars thronging the highways and byways of just about all the spaces of this land. A roar I have heard at 10,000 feet, deep in the Rocky Mountain “wilderness.” The chickens are going to be too noisy. Oh please.

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23 Responses to Trouble in the Waller

  1. todd says:

    this is a wonderful post.

    feels picayune for me to comment specifically on your footnote when the body is so eloquent, but the lawnmowers: not half an hour before my feed reader picked up your post, i was exclaiming to a neighbor how astounded i was, coming from lawn-free environments most of my adulthood, how anybody could tolerate the racket and clouds of noxious blue smoke every time the sun came out on weekends in portland.

    “She seemed pleasant, if reserved, but we have rarely seen her since, as she’s a driver, and it’s winter.”

    welcome to portland anyway, really.

  2. jen maiser says:

    Wow – this story made me groan aloud in disbelief. I am so sorry you guys are having to deal with this, and I’m especially bummed that you have had to deal during your first few months in a new place, while you are really trying to get a sense of the neighborhood. I’m sad that those folks could have had an opportunity to be pleasantly surprised by the chickens and by the goodwill it produces to allow your neighbors to have a little freedom. Ugh. I am sure that those three chickens are going to be extremely well tended too and adored by you and Patrick. And I am so glad — so glad — that you didn’t give up on the idea altogether.

    This was beautifully written — thanks for sharing this story with all of us.

  3. Holly says:

    Picayune, Todd, until, as you note, the engines are fired. Then an infernal racket.

    Fortunately, PDX has been immensely welcoming on other fronts. This . . adventure, shall we say, has even been pretty positive from a certain perspective. The chance to have the conversation we did with Dave, the county man, was quite illuminating, and he was genuinely cool about the whole thing. His advice was kindly meant, the sort that qualifies as “advice from an elder.” And we’ve also heard from that silent set of people who think it’s just fine that we have chickens, when they’ve seen us out in the yard and stopped to talk, or asked to see the birds. The fact that they will stop, and share a little of their local knowledge is amazing to me, and something that would have taken longer to happen if we’d not gone around and left our little chicken missives.

  4. todd says:

    i’ll take the snarkiness burden upon myself to note that your un-neighbor has a lawn with a plastic deer in it next to the zen hut. so they like the idea of animals. i propose a plastic rooster fence ornament (faux-verdigris finish) or maybe a plastic stag lustily eyeing doe.

  5. Patrick says:

    I was thinking more along the lines of raising a few bucks in the back forty. Or an alpaca . . .

    Jen, your keenly articulated sadness puts words to something I hadn’t been able to express. There is something overwhelmingly sad about this whole thing. I think it involves trust and the freedom from fear. Or maybe it’s just as simple as giving someone the benefit of the doubt.

    Thank you both for your kind support.

  6. Pingback: Cleverchimp blog » Blog Archive » Victorians from space, urban animal husbandry, drive-in beach cleanups, etc.

  7. Patrick says:

    I don’t (yet) know how to do those excerpty things, but Todd has written an encapsulation of this post on his Cleverchimp blog, and included a tidbit about urban sprawl that I wrote to him and then thought about posting . . . but I guess I need not post it now!

    If this is your first visit to the blog of the Clever Chimp, don’t let it be your last.

  8. Jennifer says:

    Keep on keepin’ on guys. I’m sorry all this is so hard. You are quite the inspiration to me and I would be proud to call you neighbor. I hope it smooths out soon.

  9. mary mcguire says:

    even with all of your passion, you are able to make your argument clearly and with some welcome humor and honesty. it is a treat to hear about real life, and to see your very good looking chicks. It is a sign of the times of people’s anxiety that they want to control even small things that shouldn’t matter or should be welcome. it’s easy to get scared with the news emphasis and the real issues of the war and terror and our poor economy etc. and then to let reason go out the window. thanks for this note for your good henwaller. mary

  10. cora says:

    Thanks, Holly. What a fine job you did capturing both the events and the thinking in this long and emotionally-charged chicken challenge. Kudos for compromising, but not caving.

    I expect that you and Patrick will no doubt continue to have more and more experiences where the neighbors stop by and ask to see your chickens, tell you their stories about the neighborhood and invite you in to become a part of their neighborhood community.

    And of course, I like knowing my dog can run when I visit!

  11. joe marraffino says:

    an overblown “last straw” reaction suggests to me that the neighborhood may have supressed their civic opinion in the past. five complaints is at least the embers of participation! perhaps the opening of the conflict will help create space for more dialogue, if tempers do not too much traumatize.

    the purple house, my old abode in sf, by the way, has just adopted two laying hens and set up a nice coop. the residents are not rule followers, mind you, and sneak a long pole into the abandoned avacado tree next door after dark – but i digress. on noise: the gentle cooing of these hens in the afternoon would sooner put a neighbor to nap then wake them. it’s lovely.

  12. Tea says:

    What a sad and frustrating story–and all that trouble from a man who barely lives there! Perhaps once some time goes by and people realize there really isn’t much to fuss about, you can expand your brood.

    My family had chickens when I was young–we were lucky to be on the opposite side of the street from the Mill Valley city limit, so didn’t have to deal with permits and etc. And we didn’t go through any of the asking/informing and accomodating you have done out of respect to your neighbors. Can I live on your block?

  13. Parke says:

    Wonderful! My wife and I dream of doing what you are doing. I hope your neighbor reads this. You handled it with grace. Three chickens will teach you more than three fifths of what five chickens would teach you. Peace, Parke

  14. Birdsong says:

    Jen sent me and my heart goes out to you in your struggle. I have lived rurally for twenty years, and am grateful that at least my neighbors are familiar enough with critters to have a totally different comfort level. I just wish I had such a wonderful coop; then I would have chickens once again. Our experiences over several years involved marauding dogs killing significant numbers, a rooster who terrorized my youngest son, and met his demise when he spurred my husband one day, and raising babies from one-day old delivery, drying them with a hair dryer when they fell into the first water they discovered upon their arrival by mail (not to mention the uproar they created at the regional and local post offices!). I am very fond of Austrolorps and wish you the best with your little brood.

  15. Paul Cooley says:

    Wow — what an ordeal. I hope things go well for you and your chickens. We just hived a three pound package of bees in our newly built top bar hive. I thought about letting the neighbors know, but with “killer bees” coming into our county of New Mexico, I thought it might be prudent to adopt a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

    So far our next door neighbor’s three daughters have been peering over the wall to watch them, and our neighbor confided that she had been nervous when she first heard the buzzing, but doesn’t have any problem with bees and she added: “I like local honey.”

    I’m going to spend this year getting acquainted with beekeeping, and maybe add a few chickens next year.

    Meanwhile, I’ll just have to barter honey for eggs.

    PS I found out about your blog from Todd’s post on CleverChimp.

  16. Holly says:

    Hey Paul,

    We’ve enjoyed your site—being carfree types our ownselves. In PDX you have to get permission from your neighbors to do bees, so we don’t anticipate trying them in our current location! We would love to have them in the long term. I am looking forward to seeing how you do. Patrick did some bee-keeping when he was in high school, and enjoyed it quite a bit. So, you can have virtual chickens, and we’ll have virtual bees . . .

  17. Craig & Amy says:

    Being optomistic…. What a wonderful oppertunity you have to educate a neighborhood! I am sure that over the summer your neighbors will see how well tend your flock and your community. I would imagine if your neighborhood dog park was to be suggested today “Richard” might have strong objections. I hope you are able to look past suspition at your neighbors and welcome their interest and questions this summer. I can imagine in the next spring, another coop will show up somewhere near by. Like gerdens, chickens are contagious. Maybe you will be able to add to your flock over time.

    Good Luck!

  18. Sharon says:

    Welcome to PDX! When I moved to NE 15 years ago, lots of my neighbors had farm animals in their yards, including ducks, turkeys, chickens, and a house nearby with 3 pigs. The pigs were potbellied pets, not for eating. Like the rest of the city (or maybe even more so), NE has been gentrified a lot in the past few years and the backyard flocks have become less common. Your neighbor Richard’s attitude really saddens me. I’ve been lamenting the way that many of my new neighbors a) aren’t committed to staying in their current homes long-term and b) seem to believe that “improving the neighborhood’s property values” is the best or only way to contribute to the neighborhood. That’s not something I’ve seen much of in Portland until recently, and Richard’s attitude seems of a piece with it. On the other hand, your blog is a lovely reminder that Portland still attracts people who like to live lower-impact lives and that’s very heartening.

    Also, lately I’ve been thinking about how my own life has become much higher-impact over the last few years. I stumbled across your blog accidentally, but it’s been a great inspiration as I start to move what I do more in line with what I believe. Thanks!

  19. Holly says:

    Hey Sharon,

    Thanks for writing—and welcome to Henwaller! The whole “property values” thing is really weird. Real estate has become another currency in our world. It strikes me as so strange sometimes, riding around the city, to see all the houses for sale. I remember growing up (in Michigan) that it was a very big deal when someone moved. Hell, a house for sale on the block used to mean the neighborhood was going downhill in some parts of Detroit! It does make it feel harder to make a place when everyone moves so much. I certainly can claim no higher ground there. I’ve moved more times than I care to count in my life. I do believe, however, that PDX offers a place for us to change that. If the bubble doesn’t burst, I suppose we’ll continue to rent, but if we ever can buy, I hope to do it once, and then spend the rest of my years in place. Now that’s a utopian dream, eh?

    Good luck with reducing your footprint. It’s worth it, from my perspective, just on a personal well-being level.

  20. Pingback: Letter from Hen Waller

  21. Pingback: Cleverchimp blog » Blog Archive » Portland asshole density higher than previously supposed

  22. Karen says:

    Hi there–we just stumbled onto your website a couple of days ago, and I just read this post and had to comment to say: I’m sorry! I’m not a native Oregonian, but my partner and I just moved to the East Bay last year from Eugene, and we feel a strong connection to Portland and Eugene both. We also know exactly what you mean about that feeling of vulnerability being in a new place, looking for your niche in the community–we’ve been carving away at that niche here in Oakland and Berkeley since we moved down. I’m very sorry you guys had such a @#!@ experience with cranky neighbors up P-town.

    I’m glad to hear you went ahead with chickens anyway, and I hope that over time your neighbors will settle down and gather their wits a little more. Meanwhile, we send good wishes from Temescal (our old hood) and West Berkeley (our current one–with land to plant!)

  23. Patrick says:

    hi karen, thanks for your well-wishes. we lived in Temescal for 5 years and kept chickens successfully there — see the earlier posts on this blog. best — patrick

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