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CURRENT TOWN parlance, Carder is a "shed boy," a catchy term applied to a non-catchy lifestyle. It refers to people, mostly single men, who live off the grid and low-on-the-hog. Many of the homes aren't exactly sheds. They are boats moored on land, trailers, buses, vans, somebody's spare bedroom, a shipping container. For many, being a shedder is more attitude or necessity than address.

Some residents say the shed-boy buzz, started by the local newspaper, The Leader, is a joke, much ado about a few uninspired men. Others, though, say it captured a Port Townsend archetype and highlighted the city's lack of affordable housing and decent wages.

The Leader articles, written by freelance reporter Rebecca Mizhir, who once was part of a writers' group known as the "trailer poets," captured community attention and sold a lot of newspapers. There was talk of a novel ("The Shed Boy Murders") and jokes of a shed tour. Merchants on tourist-friendly Water Street advertised shed-boy fashion statements.

Many of the people who best meet the definition won't talk about it. They live far off the curb for a reason, and fear the code-enforcement officer. One man, who is devising technology that apparently has interested a major company but lives in a school bus, wanted nothing to do with me. I was escorted to a mini-village of sheds and trailers by one of its residents, but a guy who claims to be a shaman sent word I best not go near him or his trailer.

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