With public comment on the residential infill discussion draft closed as of November 30, Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability staff will compile public comments and the bureau’s recommendation for commission review this winter.
“By February, we should have a staff proposal after reviewing comments received,” Residential Infill Project Manager Morgan Tracy told a meeting of the Roseway Neighborhood Association in mid-November. “We’ll forward that to the planning and sustainability commission, and the commission will hold hearings before forwarding recommendations to the city council in June.”
Tracy was describing the potential completion of a process that grew out of the Portland Comprehensive Plan for 2035, which has already been approved. The infill project will determine how best to absorb the nearly 123,000 new households projected for the city by 2035, with about 20 percent of new housing units to be built in Portland’s single-dwelling residential zones.
Complicating the additional population are increasing cultural and racial diversity and an aging population. The average number of people per household is getting smaller and households with children are expected to decline to 25 percent over the next 20 years.
Under the infill proposal, single-family housing would be maintained in the center of each city block, but corner lots could be developed into multiple family structures. Some of those attending the meeting pushed back with the assertion that housing needs can be met without infill, and suggested that areas already designated with higher densities than single-family neighborhoods be used to accommodate the population increase.
Those objecting to infill based their argument on single-family homes representing their life savings. Tracy assured them the infill project was not ending on November 30 and there would be more opportunities to address comments to the commission and city council over the next six months.