Hire Locally to Ease the Housing Crisis


What jobs are you talking about, I/A? City jobs? Maybe ask Chloe Eudaly about that, since she hired Alaskan transplant grifter Jamey Duhamel instead of, you know, somebody who is actually from Portland.
You seem to have two separate issues conflated here. Hiring locally is a noble thought, but providing better opportunity to one or more people doesn't address the core of the issue on housing.

What good jobs are we talking about here and in what sectors? Here's what I see, a shortage of skilled trade workers in industries that have openings. And conversely, a surplus of educated or experienced workers in already saturated markets. If only nursing-assistant school could get you that awesome job at the marketing firm amiright?!? And all that being said, the fact that we're more willing to bitch about hiring people out (the same tired transplant debate) instead of why we're currently erecting multiple complexes with 2600/mo 1 bedrooms is beyond me. No one can afford what's being built - not even the people with the "good jobs." I assure you, an entry level doctor, lawyer, or professor is making far less money than the PGE lineman keeping your power on.
Hire locally when qualified. We can't get our students to graduate from high school let alone obtain higher education to meet the need of the skilled positions offered.
"why we're currently erecting multiple complexes with 2600/mo 1 bedrooms "

Because those are the prices necessary to have the project pencil-out in order to get lender backing, Doomtown. There is a hard floor under the cost of new construction, represented by the cost of land, design, permitting and review, labor, and materials. Of these, the land cost and labor costs are the biggest variables from market to market, and explain why the same building in Portland rents out at high prices versus the same building in, say, Omaha.

And a big reason the land prices are high is because of our bad zoning laws, where height and density are fought tooth-and-nail by both rich NIMBYs and low-level housing "activists" who simply don't like change and don't understand the economics of building housing. Upzone large portions of the city and eliminate/reduce parking minimums, and that will lower land prices and construction prices (having to include parking significantly increases the cost-per-unit), and you will see prices go down. It's not really that complicated.
Flavio, I appreciate the effort to make it clear to me, but I didn't say it was complicated. What I did say is I have a lack of understanding of why people ignore the myriad of issues you've pointed out and insist on criticizing how companies hire and who moves here for work. That is specifically the point I addressed. I have no disagreement with your points - what I disagree with though is the necessity of it.

Permit costs and labor costs are increasing because we’re demanding more of the market with the rate of development. With more issued permits, the city has to compensate for additional expenditure for logistically enabling the construction projects. More projects means more ODOT and PBOT involvement, more city inspections, more temporary lane closures and traffic rerouting – including occasional involvement with Portland Police, and increased workload on city utility providers. This last bit brings me to the next topic of the higher demand on labor and supply. The Portland area currently has a shortage of electricians, commercial plumbers, and industrial surveyors, let alone, increased prices on source materials from area vendors because of the increased demand. So what we have is contractors bidding in some cases double what they would in another market because they have a limited number of hardhats and man hours to fulfill the work load, while also paying inflated prices on materials because the demand has increased there as well. If we would regulate the number of projects we’re approving, permit, labor, and materials costs would drop – case closed. Nothing is necessary about the rate we’re enabling developers to operate. They are attempting to out-build each other to capitalize on the market before it’s reached the peak. We have buildings sitting less than 50% occupied, and the city of Portland is subsidizing new builds, and we’re putting more up that no one can afford. That’s not necessary.

I'll also disagree on the parking. It’s a good point and I agree that minimizing parking development lowers the ceiling on cost, but in the end it isn’t translated in a tangible way to the consumer. Of the places that have been recently built that offer minimal or no parking, they are among the most expensive. They are marketed as green or eco, and carry an inflated cost. They are also typically built in locations that have the proper coding but don’t afford the space. They swing it as a green-building and charge more, despite saving on foundation and construction costs.
Huh huh. Flavio just got "owned". Huh huh
Aurelius, go to your room, the adults are having a conversation.

Doomtown, definitely agree with you about the labor shortage. My brother-in-law is a contractor, and has other contractors constantly coming by his work sites trying to poach his skilled laborers. And the red tape to put up new units in this city is frankly ridiculous.

But the rate at which we are permitting new construction is still, very frankly, low relative to the demand. It might be low relative to the skilled labor supply, but that should attract skilled construction workers from other areas. Based on studies saying how many units we need to construct to push prices down, or at least keep them steady, we are still lagging far behind, because we have a couple lost decades where almost nothing was built between about 1990 to 2010.

The nice thing about putting up new buildings where the occupancy rate is less than 50% is - either give this time, usually new buildings need about 2-3 years to become fully occupied, even in a good market, and then if they don't become fully occupied you start seeing discounts on rent, a free month's rent, and other incentives, and isn't lowering rent prices what we are all wanting to happen? I fail to see how a low vacancy rate for brand new construction is any sort of argument against more new construction. Housing studies generally show that you need greater than a 5% vacancy rate for landlords to start having to aggressively compete. Isn't the current complaint that "greedy" landlords have all the power?

The only reason those low or no-parking units can charge more and get away with it is...lack of supply!

It's certainly not "necessary" in a cosmic sense to build more units in Portland, but it is definitely necessary if we want housing costs to stabilize and/or go down. I do appreciate the dialogue, I think we may just disagree on the point to which we think more building in the current stage of the market is a positive thing - I think it is!