Two houseboats gently bobbing in adjacent Hayden Island slips share a long lineage signaled by their gently sloping roofs: they are 1920s-era shanties designed by legendary boatbuilder Ed Hargraves. Sitting atop thick, indestructible old-growth logs, they were constructed for fishing, the ceilings kept low so that nets could be easily tossed on top to dry. The boats’ current inhabitants reflect a shared lineage of their own, their jet-black but graying hair and copper skin giving away their Algonquin-Irish heritage. Physical resemblance aside, Diane Hall and Julie Higgs have their differences. “We have a lot of crossovers: we both cook and entertain a lot,” says Hall. “But Julie is...just bigger and bolder and a little louder. She loves to party, wants a lot of people around. She’s a decorator. She collects things.” Higgs paints their differences in colors: “Diane likes blue and purple; I like green and orange.” But just as the sisters have grown together and apart, so too have their floating homes. Houseboating was Higgs’s idea. After many a happy hour at Island Café, Hayden Island’s charming floating eatery, she began to crave a life on the water. She researched slips from Oregon City to Sauvie Island, eventually discovering her 1,100-square-foot Hargraves in Sellwood and hauling it up to Hayden Island. Hall remembers her sister calling with a suggestion: “There’s a little house next door with your name on it.”
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