News Apr 11, 2019 at 4:00 am

Portlanders Push for Stronger Anti-Displacement Policies

Mercury Staff



California has already done tons of studies showing that building a lot of new housing, even it is all market rate housing, reduces the rate of displacement. And we see plenty of examples of rents flattening out (Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles) or even going down when a lot of new supply comes online. Look at Sydney, for example:

Any tenant "activists" who oppose this are either horribly ignorant, or selfishly trying to grab a piece of the market for themselves at the exclusion of all future incoming or lateral renters.


Most of the tenant activists quoted here seem to support the project.

That said, I don't think it's exactly unreasonable for tenants to worry about unintended consequences of land-use changes. That's why we should be working to pass a project that boosts the amount of regulated-affordable housing as well as market-rate, IMO.


Planning & Sustainability Commission noted that in the majority of areas, displacement was reduced by this project, but was frustrated that they couldn't offer, in code, anti-displacement help for the small number of families predicted to be displaced. They hope that the City Council will direct the Housing Bureau, the most likely agency, to address this issue, especially in those 3 neighborhoods where displacement is thought to be more likely.


Honestly, I think this debate is a little stupid, and is a developer's wet dream.
There's plenty of existing empty housing in PDX.
If we gave more of our vulnerable community members Section 8 subsidies to help pay rent, it would be a win-win for existing landlords and renters.
We wouldn't have to construct anything. We wouldn't have to cut down any trees. We wouldn't have to displace anyone.
Why over-complicate things?


The City's own studies show that the most vulnerable populations -- lower income people, people of color -- will be displaced by RIP. Just put yourself in the shoes of developer for a moment. How do you make the most profit under RIP? You demolish the cheapest houses (usually occupied by renters) in the most desirable neighborhoods and replace those houses with market-rate housing. Then you demolish the cheapest houses (again, usually occupied by renters) in the less-desirable neighborhoods and replace them with market-rate housing. Where do those displaced renters go? In my neighborhood, a developer recently demolished a nice $300K bungalow (which would have made a starter home for someone) and replaced it with a $2 million duplex -- $1 million for each side of the duplex.


Tre Roberts, I agree, for a long time now the most obvious and effective solution to our housing issues would be to do a combination of upzoning/cutting red tape, and massively increasing housing vouchers. This would allow a lot of new supply to come online (because upzoning functions as a subsidy, with little to no cost), and allow a lot of flexibility for lower-income folks who could now shop around and take their pick of housing units rather than having to wait in an endless line for the relative handful of designated affordable units.

Why this hasn't been more seriously and thoroughly discussed by activists and city planners is beyond me.

SDP, your objection is noted but the alternative of not building this new housing, means the rate of displacement will be even higher. Throw some housing vouchers at the folks displaced if that is your main objection. It's much better for broader affordability in the long run when we add a lot more housing units.


Maybe if we stopped catering exclusively to high income/established/new wealth from rents to grocery stores and pretentious eateries we wouldn't have this issue. Where did all these people come from anyway? Rich people don't spend their money. That's why they're rich.


Well I am jumping into the pool here sorry if I splash... My sister has have stage 4 cancer and resides in a nursing home She would prefer to live independently. I am her only family member living here in Portland and I also have a major disability. So she would like to stay in Portland Her friend at the nursing home and her would like to pool their meager resources to rent a place somewhere. They might have a bit over 2000 per month. We are all in early sixties... What would RIP do for them?



House Bill 2001 would do this statewide. So whether Portland's city council wants it or not, it may lie ahead as state law would trump the city's policies.

[(D) Tina] "Kotek is pushing a bill to require cities with populations of more than 25,000 people to change zoning laws to allow areas now zoned only for single-family homes to allow for multi-housing options, such as cottage clusters and townhouses. The measure, House Bill 2001, was recently approved unanimously by a House committee." - from OPB


“People are deathly afraid that their community will change, and I have news for them: It will!” say Hardesty, who cautiously supports infill. “We know thousands of more people are moving to Portland. Your neighborhood is going to change no matter what.“ Hardesty is correct, but thinking that the change can be significantly controlled for any one effect is not correct. The demographic and economic forces will win out, just like the tide washes away your sand castle.

Please wait...

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