Portland’s reputation for progressive politics, beautiful scenery, and a friendly atmosphere has made it a popular metropolis for young professionals and retirees alike. The city’s recent and ongoing population growth has resulted in rapidly rising real estate values and the subsequent displacement of many Portlanders. An increase in so-called 1:1 demolitions (the replacement of middle-class homes with large extravagant houses) and single-dwelling zoning legislation have caused the average home to be unaffordable to 59% of Portlanders. Officials anticipate 100,000 new households by 2035, and are currently contemplating how to ensure Portland’s character is maintained amidst the influx.
The most notable solution set forth by the City of Portland is the Residential Infill Project. According to Sandra Wood, Supervising Planner at the city’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, residential development in Portland is currently limited to single-family units and large apartment buildings. The Residential Infill Project would allow 87,000 households to add up to two accessory dwelling units, convert properties into duplexes, and in some cases allow the creation of triplexes. The proposed project would also increase limitations on the size of new homes, and limit the size of extensions on existing properties. The new zoning legislation would provide accessible housing to individuals of varying income levels and allow for sustainable population growth. Opponents to the Residential Infill Project worry that existing infrastructure would be unable to support the increased population density.
The City of Portland states, “The proposed new rules are with the Planning and Sustainability Commission now. They are expected to vote on their recommendations to City Council by the end of the year, with the City Council beginning their review early 2019.”
— Cassie Dana, One Big Home Researcher
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