Portland Adjusts Residential Infill Plan to Minimize Displacement

Portland wants to add density but doesn't want to displace current residents of low- and middle-income neighborhoods.

Read Time: 2 minutes

September 8, 2019, 1:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Mount Hood

Nadia Yong / Shutterstock

Portland's Residential Infill Project, which would allow duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes in neighborhoods that previously only allowed single-family detached homes, is evolving.

Eliot Njus explains recent changes made to the proposed plan:

Portland is packaging its plan for more density in single-family neighborhoods with a broad proposal to prevent displacement of low-income renters and minority groups, including such things as affordable homeownership programs and stronger tenant protections.

The effort is intended to assuage concerns about the city’s Residential Infill Project, which would allow duplexes, triplexes and four-plexes in neighborhoods traditionally reserved for single-family houses. Critics say the infill project would encourage development that could push out longtime residents.

The effort in Portland mirrors a recent comprehensive plan approved in Minneapolis in its allowance for multiple units on parcels in single-family neighborhoods. The plan has also been characterized in the past as a measure to control the proliferation of McMansions, similar to a law under consideration in Seattle.

The state of Oregon also approved a law banning single-family zoning earlier this year. Njus explains how the new state law affects the process of writing this new local law:

The Residential Infill Project has been in the works for more than four years, but the landscape changed this summer when the Legislature approved House Bill 2001, which requires major cities to allow up to four units per lot in most single-family neighborhoods. The city proposal would largely meet the requirements of the new law, but some tweaks will be needed.

For more background on the Residential Infill Project, see also articles from November 2016 and March 2019 that cast doubt into the effectiveness of the changes proposed by the Residential Infill Project.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019 in The Oregonian

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