Opinion: Portland Housing Reforms Are the Solution Needed Now

A trio of housing reforms would allow increases in housing density and make anti-displacement a policy priority in Portland, Oregon.

1 minute read

November 8, 2019, 10:00 AM PST

By Camille Fink


JPL Designs / Shutterstock

"This winter, Portland City Hall is considering three much-needed housing reforms that will allow more homes to be built at prices affordable to more families. Together, they would make it legal for all kinds of Portlanders to live closer to jobs, schools, community and public transit. Further, they would make proximity a benefit within many people’s reach," write Michael Andersen and Sara Wright.

One reform would allow larger buildings in mid-density zones, and another would legalize multiunit buildings—duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes—in low-density neighborhoods. The third reform would be a commitment to development of an anti-displacement strategy for the city. "For too long, we've slipped piecemeal ideas into other laws rather than taking a big-picture view at who is harmed in today's housing system harms and how to change that," say Andersen and Wright.

They argue that the threat of climate change means these changes need to happen sooner rather than later. "We know that any 'Green New Deal' proposing economic and environmental reforms must address housing. If we have any hope of lowering our emissions, we’ll need reforms like these."

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