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The Shire is in Foreclosure
August 4, 2008 10:52 PM   Subscribe

Subprime crisis worse than we thought... The Shire, an Oregon housing development based on Tolkien's Hobbit village, is in foreclosure.
posted by jrochest (53 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
What? What?! Where will they go?! They've never left the Shire before!
posted by mathowie at 11:03 PM on August 4, 2008 [10 favorites]


There's a veritable dragon's horde of jokes here.

But I'll just say that this actually sounds kind of cool and I would like to see it. i was just tonight looking up Bend, OR on wikipedia. I was thinking of visiting to check out the volcano nearby- now I have extra motivation!

I hope they make it into a hotel/tourist attraction.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:06 PM on August 4, 2008


I blame Ted Sandyman.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:11 PM on August 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


So Saruman and Wormtongue became realtors? Their evil knows no bounds.
posted by homunculus at 11:13 PM on August 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


One housing crisis to rule them all.
posted by Auden at 11:21 PM on August 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


i was just tonight looking up Bend, OR on wikipedia. I was thinking of visiting to check out the volcano nearby

You might also take a dip at Breitenbush if you're in the area.
posted by homunculus at 11:21 PM on August 4, 2008


Yeah, I'm right there at the intersection of Pothead and Boardwalk, can't miss it.... yes, the one that looks like a 'miniature golf course,' you ass.
posted by kid ichorous at 11:23 PM on August 4, 2008


OK Matt. You just found the place for the 2009 10th Anniversary Meetup. Bend has an airport.
posted by Cranberry at 11:39 PM on August 4, 2008


Bend is too small to have such a specialized market. While the timing of the Hobbitt development was not good, neither was the location. It should have been built in Portland where the population is large enough to include plenty of fantasy fans who would have loved a Hobbitt Hole of their very own.
posted by Cranberry at 11:43 PM on August 4, 2008


Well, 600K plus is possibly a little high for a Hobbit Hole...
posted by jrochest at 11:45 PM on August 4, 2008


That's actually cheap by Bend standards. I think the avg home price is something like $550k these days (or they were, a year or two ago).
posted by mathowie at 12:03 AM on August 5, 2008


Bend is Oregon's Aspen.
posted by mullingitover at 12:13 AM on August 5, 2008


Yeah, Bend is a pretty special case in the whole blowup, I believe (was described as very over-valued at one point). I realize that the whole subprime thing(which isn't exactly what happened in Bend)/bubble mania has been talked to death here, but the graphs here do a good job of summing it up.
posted by rider at 12:19 AM on August 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


all hobbit ben has to do is to go to the boundary stone where the four farthings meet and take out the wooden box the elf greenspan gave him and toss the dollar dust into the wind and the next harvest will be bountiful
posted by pyramid termite at 12:21 AM on August 5, 2008


where the population is large enough to include plenty of fantasy fans who would have loved a Hobbitt Hole of their very own.

I suppose it would be in poor form to point out that the internet is apparently full of people who would like a Hobbit Hole of their own?

Yeah, I figured as much...
posted by pupdog at 12:49 AM on August 5, 2008


Fucking hipsters. If there's a silver lining to the imminent collapse of the western economy...

(My God, it works for EVERY SINGLE POST...)
posted by Naberius at 12:59 AM on August 5, 2008 [8 favorites]


See you really must carry out serious market research before such niche projects. So rider points out that Bend sought an economy built on wealthy retirees. How often are old rich people this dorky?

Your "shire" idea might work if your catering to young people currently working in technology. However, only an idiot would build it on expensive silicon valley like land. Instead find a smaller but successful technology areas, work out where house prices are elevated by the technology boom, and build just outside that region. So the idea is, Joe tech dork who wants a house might be willing to commute a little further.

You should also look date like LotR movie ticket sales, proximity to a NERO chapter, etc.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:02 AM on August 5, 2008


p.s. It's not quite as nuts as Palm island.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:09 AM on August 5, 2008


pupdog, the internet full of Tolkien fans is not primarily in Oregon. In consideration of the probability that the Hobbitt development's builder has an Oregon contractor's and/or real estate license, it seemed reasonable to point out that the much greater population of Portland would have produced more interested buyers.
While the total World Wide Web is not contained within Oregon, it might be argued that MetaFilter largely exists in Oregon because mathowie and cortex and pb live here. This is not to overlook the invaluable contributions of the lovely jessamyn and the darkly handsome Vacapinta.
I believe it is past my bedtime.
posted by Cranberry at 1:18 AM on August 5, 2008


The 3,200-square-foot home overlooks an amphitheater, has 26-foot-high ceilings and interior finishes that include bamboo flooring, a Japanese soaking tub and granite countertops.

So "based" very loosely indeed on Tolkien's Hobbit village.

Actually, I'm really glad this ghastly blot on the landscape has failed. Number one, what kind of stupid "kidult" wants to live in a Lord of the Rings theme village. Grow up and get an grown up's house. And number two, they're just more hideous McMansions with dopey hobbit trim.

As far as I can see, if you actually want to build a house that really stands out in the US, you should make something from good quality, environmentally sound materials that's well designed and relatively modest in size. A good start is to look up the word "vulgar" in the dictionary and try and work away from that.
posted by rhymer at 1:26 AM on August 5, 2008 [6 favorites]


Artificial thatch? Because river reeds and a paddle are too expensive?
posted by 1adam12 at 1:41 AM on August 5, 2008


Number one, what kind of stupid "kidult" wants to live in a Lord of the Rings theme village.

Oh god, I do. That would kick all kinds of ass.

It would be cooler, though, if the houses were much more modest.
posted by jbickers at 2:15 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I spent an unfortunate amount of my teenage life in Bend..

I have no other input to add. I hate Bend.
posted by mediocre at 2:16 AM on August 5, 2008


If you really must build something along these lines, it should be done like this house from the UK series Grand Designs which is modest, beautiful and hand-built around an 800 year old piece of Oak. It's not to my personal taste, but I can certainly appreciate it.

The development in Oregon on the other hand, is plastic Disneyrfied trash. Artificial thatch? WTF? Seriously, who the hell looks at fake thatch, made of plastic (!!) and thinks "Wow, that's great - it looks just like the real thing"? Presumably the same kind of person who'd live in this aesthetic Chernobyl.
posted by rhymer at 2:42 AM on August 5, 2008 [5 favorites]


As awesome as this initially sounds, the picture and caption seem to suggest that the hobbit hole is just a garden shed, something someone with some space, know-how and time to kill could emulate. The house itself just looks like Elrond's foray into low-cost McMansion development.

Besides, it's green paint and a brass knob in the EXACT middle! Could Tolkien have been any clearer?
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 2:43 AM on August 5, 2008


Cranberry, you've obviously not run the same poorly-phrased Google searches I have. Real estate is not on most of those 'fans' minds...
posted by pupdog at 2:46 AM on August 5, 2008


I think from now on, I'll be referring to the subprime mess as "Bombadil's Revenge".

Damn you, Peter Jackson!
posted by JaredSeth at 3:35 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Number one, what kind of stupid "kidult" wants to live in a Lord of the Rings theme village.

Peter Jackson
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:23 AM on August 5, 2008


Interesting. It turns out that cheap credit was, in fact, NOT hobbit-forming.
posted by yhbc at 4:41 AM on August 5, 2008 [7 favorites]


Various: Speech, Bilbo... Speech, speech!

Bilbo: My dear Freddy Macs and IndyMacs, Fanny Maes and Lehmans, Countrywides, First Franklins, Chases, Trumps, and Bear Steens...

Ralph R. Cioffi: Bear STEARNS!

Bilbo: Today is my one-hundred and eleventieth installment.

Various: Happy Payday!

Bilbo: Alas eleventy-one installments is far too short a time to repay such excellent and admirable lenders.

I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve

(shot of confused looking middle managers)

I, uh..., I... have things to do... (he is fingering the moving van keys in his pocket)

I've put this off for far too long (whispering, more or less to himself)

I regret to announce, this is the end. I'm going now - I bid you all a very fond farewell.

Good-bye. (Bilbo jumps in a U-Haul and vanishes)
posted by anthill at 5:26 AM on August 5, 2008 [34 favorites]


If there's any justice it will be replaced by a luxury hotel based on the Death Star.
posted by jonmc at 5:34 AM on August 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


I've run into lots of Tolkienia here in OR. For example, there's Mirkwood and Lothlorien streets in Lake Oswego. There is a large population of Oregonians who share Tolkien's values about nature and fears about the modern world. If the developers had tried to actually build Hobbiton, with off-the-grid underground houses, they probably would have succeeded. Alas.
posted by wobh at 6:02 AM on August 5, 2008


Fake thatch? What's wrong with real thatch? In Belgium, it's considered 'fancy'. I'm told the main problem is replacing it too frequently. In South Africa, it's quite common, although more on guest cottages and BBQ areas than on homes (the poor folks use whatever discards they can find). It keeps the rain, bugs, and snakes out, and seems to insulate, too. I suspect it is treated with some fire-retardants, but who in South Africa, that might often be over looked.

Now I'll admit, many years ago (too many!) I'd have loved a hobbit hole--Assuming the ceilings would accommodate my elvishly tall self (I usually knock my head into things when in especially good moods). But that's really the silliness of youth. More recently, I'd have said Orthanc was more my cup of tea (My Orthanc, not Peter Jackson's!), but time for that, too, has past. Perhaps a treehouse, but only for a little while.
posted by Goofyy at 6:03 AM on August 5, 2008


Maybe this monstrosity will be next to go.
posted by TedW at 6:11 AM on August 5, 2008


So now does a tent city spring up outside the local RenFaire or something?
posted by The Straightener at 6:11 AM on August 5, 2008


Obviously, they should've sold timeshares.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:36 AM on August 5, 2008


“The development wasn’t able to materialize fast enough before the market crashed.”

Translation: nobody wanted to buy my stupid, ugly, overpriced houses.
posted by wadefranklin at 6:56 AM on August 5, 2008


Sometimes capitalism works far better than anyone could have anticipated. This is one of those instances. You invest money in a retarded idea, and you consequently lose your shirt. I see nothing wrong with this scenario.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:16 AM on August 5, 2008


Artificial thatch? WTF? Seriously, who the hell looks at fake thatch, made of plastic (!!) and thinks "Wow, that's great - it looks just like the real thing"?

I'm guessing that you're taking the piss a little bit, but real thatch would have some serious fire liability issues. As well as a pretty short lifespan, which wouldn't be the greatest selling point if you're trying to get the market that wants 26' ceilings and granite countertops.
posted by LionIndex at 7:24 AM on August 5, 2008


Oh, dear God, TedW. I could have gone my whole life without knowing about that. I have to go take a shower.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 7:56 AM on August 5, 2008


"Alright, so we'll put Bilbo's house over her.....DAD! TURN OFF THE LIGHTS! WHY DO YOU HAVE TO RUIN EVERYTHING?"
posted by scabrous at 8:06 AM on August 5, 2008


Three loans for the Elven Kings under the sky
Seven for the Dwarf Lords in their halls of stone
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the land of SubPrime where the foreclosures lie
One Loan to rule them all, One Loan to find them
One Loan to break them all and in the darkness bind them
In the land of SubPrime where the foreclosures lie
posted by never used baby shoes at 8:25 AM on August 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


Goofyy writes "Fake thatch? What's wrong with real thatch? In Belgium, it's considered 'fancy'. I'm told the main problem is replacing it too frequently."

Roof thatching isn't a trade in North America. So getting it done, and then maintaining it would be a real challenge. Plus there would probably be code issues.
posted by Mitheral at 8:27 AM on August 5, 2008


They're taking the hobbits to Isengard!

(Well, someone had to say it!)
posted by Class Goat at 8:53 AM on August 5, 2008


Everyone, myself included, who comments here needs to get out more. Way more.
posted by tommasz at 9:31 AM on August 5, 2008


It is a dangerous business, tommasz, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might be swept off to.
posted by never used baby shoes at 9:38 AM on August 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


The insurance on a Shire house has to be huge, with Saruman constantly threatening to burn it down and what not.
posted by drezdn at 10:10 AM on August 5, 2008


“It’s more of an artists’ community for a certain market segment that wanted something different.

I dont know any artists who can afford 700k houses, but if I did they'd probably want something a little more authentic that "Big House with Shire-like shed."
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:32 AM on August 5, 2008


“It basically destroyed my life financially, but that’s the price of a dream,” Meyers said.

Dream? Dude, lay off the pipeweed. Seriously.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:34 AM on August 5, 2008


"Strange as news from Bend," as they say around these parts.
posted by SPrintF at 12:33 PM on August 5, 2008


These days, the housing market is a roll of the 20-sided die.
posted by hellbient at 12:54 PM on August 5, 2008


Christ, what a hobbithole.
posted by ob at 2:06 PM on August 5, 2008


'Yeah, but then you get those hobbits who move out of the shire and think they dwarves, we call them 'dobbits'...'
posted by jonmc at 2:42 PM on August 5, 2008


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