How Oregon’s largest city will infill neighborhoods zoned for single-family residences to make room for the thousands expected to move to Portland in the next 20 years is in the hands of the city’s mayor and four elected commissioners. The council is scheduled to hold a work session Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 2:00 P.M. in City Hall’s Council Chambers, 1221 S.W. Fourth Ave. A vote on the plan at that time is possible.
About 20 percent of new housing units of a nearly 123,000 new households are expected to be built in Portland’s single-dwelling residential zones. By 2035, the average number of people per household will be smaller and households with children are expected to decline to 25 percent. The plan the city council will consider is a response to concerns over new house sizes, demolitions and how fast housing costs are rising and choices are diminishing throughout the city. Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability examined allowances for development in single-dwelling neighborhoods over the past 18 months with numerous open houses.
The response to the BPS crafted plan, however, has not been entirely positive. Speaking as a private citizen, Tamara DeRidder, a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, urged an eleventh-hour push for testimony at November public hearings. DeRidder outlined reasons for fine-tuning the BPS plan, including a citation of PSU professor emeritus Loren Lutzenhiser’s determination that the plan’s impacts will provide rental-only property priced for the upper 30 percent income population not in much need of housing and not provide housing for moderate- and low-income populations needing housing the most. DeRidder is especially concerned about Lutzenhiser’s identifying the proposed residential infill plan as having a much greater negative impact to Rose City Park Neighborhood livability than the neighborhood association’s Land Use and Transportation Committee had realized during its deliberations.
With a green light from the city council, the residential infill code will be drafted with opportunities for public input over the winter and through the summer of 2017. The project timeline indicates that legislative hearings for final code adoption will be scheduled for the fall of 2017.