Oregon man builds own tiny house to avoid high rent

The new homeowner will place his tiny house on rented land about an hour’s drive from Seattle, where he plans to resume his graduate studies.

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — At 24, Sam Koekkoek can say that he owns his own house, free and clear.

It’s a point of pride for Koekkoek, of Springfield. On Wednesday, he showed off the recently completed tiny home that he spent the past two years building. In 2015, he interrupted his graduate school studies at Fuller Theological Seminary in Southern California for two years so he could put hammer to nail and build his own 136-square-foot, brown-and-emerald green bungalow.

“I was getting ready to move that summer, and I could not find a place to live that was a studio for less than $1,000 to $2,000,” Koekkoek said. “It’s unbelievable. I was just completely in panic mode, and then I just stumbled across a YouTube video of some high-school kid who built his own tiny house.”

Koekkoek said that tiny houses are the solution to a gigantic housing problem to high rents in the Pacific Northwest, Southern California and other high-demand housing markets where rents are skyrocketing.

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The theology student decided to take a BYOH (bring your own house) mentality. On Sunday, he hitched up his tiny house to a red one-ton pickup truck. He maneuvered it out of the backyard at his parents’ home to begin the journey to a new seminary school — The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology — where he plans to complete his graduate studies.

Koekkoek will rent the plot of land for his house from the owner of a large parcel an hour south of Seattle. The landowner also is renting to another tiny-house owner.

“That’s really the best option for tiny-housers out there,” Koekkoek said. “The law hasn’t totally caught up with the codes and zoning and everything yet. But it’s happening. It’s on its way.”

City zoning codes almost always allow for small, secondary residential spaces on a lot, according to tinyhousebuild.com. They are called accessory dwelling units, and they can include in-law cottages, pool houses and tiny houses.

“This is an excellent solution for the housing crisis,” Koekkoek said. “So many people my age are really interested in green living and living responsibly and taking care of the planet. And in my mind, this is just the one small thing that I want to do to kind of serve my…

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