Commission wants more housing in infill plan

Commission wants more housing in infill plan

The City Council is now on track to consider rezoning almost every single-family neighborhood in Portland to accomodate many more homes.

Last Tuesday the appointed Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) tentatively approved new infill policies intended to encourage a greater range of homes throughout the city. The goal is to create more housing opportunities in all parts of Portland, including up to four homes on most properties.

According to PSC Chair Katherine Schultz, the new Residential Infill Project (RIP) recommendations are intended to fight skyrocketing home prices in Portland by allowing relatively small multifamily housing projects to be built in all single family neighborhoods, from accessory dwelling units (ADUs) to four-plexes on practically every lot.

"We recognize that with the current housing market, displacement and gentrification are real and that our vulnerable populations are at risk. The changes to the proposal are intended to mitigate displacement by creating more housing in more locations and at a wider range of price points in an effort to ease the pressure these communities are facing today," says Schultz, an architect and director at GBD Architects.

The new recommendations are likely to be controversial. The project — which started under former Mayor Charlie Hales — has already become a flashpoint in the contentious debate over how the city should accommodate the 123,000 additional households expected to be here by 2035. It is primarily supported by those favoring more density and a greater range of housing choices, including Portland for Everyone, a project of the 1000 Friends of Oregon land use watchdog organization. But it is opposed by many homeowners who fear the changes will undermine the character of the city's residential neighborhoods without producing much lower-priced housing.

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