Today City Council voted 3-2 to increase systems development charges for parks. The bottom line: increased costs for developing new single family and multi-family homes and rentals in the city of Portland, which ultimately flows through into increased rents and home prices. Why should we all be concerned that the Mayor and some city commissioners took such an action?
Just last week the Alliance issued the Middle-Income Jobs report, which included some startling findings regarding housing affordability in the city of Portland. It found that most of the city of Portland is out of home ownership reach for households earning less than $70,000 annually. This problem has grown considerably over the last 10 years, as shown in the report, with once fairly affordable neighborhoods getting more and more expensive.
Maybe those at City Hall who took this action hadn't yet seen our report and come to understand what increased unaffordability means for Portland's residents and the equity agenda the city has adopted?
One would have to think, however, they have seen their own report, The State of Housing, issued by the Portland Housing Bureau in April. That report, which focuses on housing cost and income data, found that lower income households, communities of color, single mothers and seniors face severely constrained housing options.
By failing to take account what this decision mean for people's ability to provide homes for their families, Portland risks becoming a place that does not support its middle class residents. This is not to say housing development shouldn't contribute to parks we all enjoy, but it shouldn't be at the expense of the very people and families that would benefit from those amenities but who struggle to keep up with the rising costs of living in Portland.