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Cortright: Oregon Legislation Would Make Housing Affordability Worse

Inclusionary zoning and weakened urban growth boundaries are not effective tools for reducing the price of housing. Joe Cortright of City Observatory suggests ending parking requirements instead.
February 4, 2016, 1pm PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Joe Cortright analyzes the potential consequences of a political trade off regarding a process to reform some of the regulations that impact land use and development in Oregon.

As has already been reported, the Oregon State Legislature is considering a package of bills that could overturn the state's ban on inclusionary zoning. The legislation is proposed as a measure to counter the state's rising affordability problem. In the negotations leading up the inclusionary zoning legislation, the development and building industries is asking for something in return:

As a quid pro quo for agreeing to drop the ban—at least for rental housing—the development industry is suggesting it would like to see the state’s land use laws, including its signature urban growth boundary, weakened.

Cortright's focuses on the consequences of "bursting" Portland's urban growth boundary. In fact, Cortright says that possibility, combined with new inclusionary zoning, would likely make Portland's affordability worse.

To back up his larger claim, Cortright lays out a seven-point argument, each detailed in the article. Here's an abridged version of the list:

  1. Affordability is about growing up, not out. 
  2. The market demand/affordability problem is in the urban core.
  3. Adding more supply in the core is the key to addressing affordability.
  4. Inclusionary zoning increases market prices.
  5. Inclusionary zoning creates only token numbers of affordable units.
  6. Inclusionary zoning requirements would encourage further sprawl.
  7. If we want to make housing more affordable, let’s get rid of parking requirements.
Full Story:
Published on Thursday, February 4, 2016 in City Observatory
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