There's a newly published article in The Atlantic today by Alana Semuels that takes a hard, and not entirely flattering, look at Portland and how we're dealing with our current housing crisis. It's called "Can Portland Avoid Repeating San Francisco’s Mistakes?" and here's an excerpt:
It’s all the newcomers, some say. They’re driving prices up and they’re pushing long-time residents out. They’re why Portland was determined by Governing magazine to be the place in the country with the most gentrification over the last decade.
But that narrative isn’t quite right. Portland prices are skyrocketing, yes. And newcomers are generally the type of people who want to live in the center of the city, near transit and bike lanes, which drives up prices for those areas. But it’s not tech or newcomers that are solely to blame. Portland hasn’t been able to slow its rental crisis because in a city that prides itself on progressivism, many of the traditional tools used to create more affordability are off the table.
“I think that there’s a general sense that Portland is progressive enough to be assumed to be doing the right thing, and that’s not the case,” Cameron Herrington, the anti-displacement coordinator at Living Cully, a coalition of neighborhood groups in Northeast Portland, told me.
While the article speaks of some the measures Portland has taken to alleviate the problem—the city allowing temporary homeless shelters, extending no-cause eviction notices to 90 days, and millions set aside to go to affordable housing—seemingly liberal neighborhoods are blocking efforts to create density.
But there has been pushback on these efforts, too. Many Portlanders say they don’t want more density in their neighborhoods, that they oppose big housing complexes and in-law units in neighbors’ backyards. (There is a similar attitude evident in some San Francisco residents’ responses to that city’s housing crisis.) Some neighborhoods are actually trying to downzone to decrease density.
“There are limits to white urban liberalism,” Justin Buri, the executive director of the Community Alliance of Tenants, tells me. “When it comes to housing and schools, all of that goes out the window.”
A brief look at your local NextDoor site shows this anti-density mentality in full effect. Anyway, this is a very interesting article that carries a different tone than the "Rah-rah, move to Portland, quick!" articles we've seen in the past. READ ALL OF IT HERE.