United Neighborhoods for Reform continues fight against home demolitions, to present workshop at ONI Summit
What began last year as an ad hoc citywide group to combat a glut of housing demolitions, United Neighborhoods for Reform (UNR) has continued informing Portland City Council decisions and is set to present a workshop at the Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI) Summit scheduled for February 28. The Summit will be held between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. February 28 at the Ambridge Event Center (1333 N.E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd).
The UNR Workshop, “Demolition and Development: How Neighborhood Grassroots Organizations Can Impact Public Policy,” will encourage Summit attendees to learn more about the UNR roots, obstacles UNR faced along the way, and how the group is shaping public debate. UNR’s workshop is one of more than two dozen sessions available, including conversations with elected officials, such as Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.
UNR characterizes itself as a “Portland grassroots group (that) works with neighborhoods citywide to stem demolitions of viable, affordable housing and its replacement with large, expensive single-family homes.” The group includes representatives from more than half of Portland’s neighborhood associations and is aimed at preserving neighborhood integrity by lowering the number of homes that are demolished and replaced by more expensive housing options.
UNR Chairman Al Ellis told The Hollywood Star News that he is encouraged by how effective the group has been. “A committee made up mostly of developers has made several recommendations UNR agrees with, and my spirits were buoyed by opening remarks from Mayor Hales following a Bureau of Development Services presentation of some favorable recommendations. The Mayor went on record as favoring an approach that includes both ‘front end’ as well as ‘back end’ reforms.” The so-called back-end reforms deal with demolition, while front-end reforms aim at preservation of quality, established homes and compatibility of regulations for new homes, Ellis explained.