“I recently retired and I had planned on just hitting the road and going up and down the west coast in my car. Camping along the Oregon and Washington coast, going to Eastern Washington, visiting some relatives I haven’t seen in a long, long time and just enjoying myself.
When I made those plans, I could fill up my car for about $35. A year later, it was $80. But the price of gas went up so fast, I haven’t been able to do any of that. You can’t foresee that.
It’s even getting harder to see local family. I have to watch the gas gauge. I’ve got three amazing daughters and a son here in the area, plus three grandchildren and a fourth on the way here in the area.
All my aunts and uncles and cousins, most of them live over in eastern Washington and I haven’t seen them in forever. I’d love to just take a week and drive over here and say hi to everybody. But in Washington, we have some of the highest gas prices in the country after our governor instituted that carbon-based tax. Gas got up to almost $6 a gallon – and he doesn’t have to pay for his own fuel. The state does.
I’ve been in a senior community for about five years and there’s retail space on the ground floor. They took one of the retail spaces recently and made it a food bank because everybody is struggling. It’s shocking – these are supposed to be our golden years. And this is supposed to be affordable housing. But there’s a line around a city block for a food bank. Most of them can’t even afford to drive anymore, they have to rely on public transportation now, but accessing public spaces is getting less safe.
We have to have private security where I live because it kept getting broken into from the homeless encampment nearby. We regularly hear gunshots, cars are broken into or stolen. With the extra costs, rent is almost 95% of my income now, and I’m freaking out.
When I was a kid, we had oil heat. I remember we were so poor one year, we had no heat for the winter and my mom told us to grab a coat and a blanket. That’s still what I do, but even without heat, I’m looking for part-time work just to keep the electricity on.
I’m 66 years old and have lived in this area my entire life, but I’m thinking about moving because of the cost of living. My generation just can’t afford to live here anymore and it keeps getting worse.”