Day 1 “Should Portland Stay the Same?” -By Hannah

From Williams Ave, walking east on Fremont to Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard then north to Skidmore St, it is obvious that this neighborhood is undergoing rapid change. Portland is hash-tag “trending.” New apartment buildings and townhouses are appearing on residential streets as well as major roadways. On NE Mallory Ave eight modern townhomes are being developed on a lot that was previously about the size of two single-family homes. Another lot of the same size two streets west was undergoing construction of six new townhouses.

We investigated the effect of home teardowns on affordable housing.

While most teardowns of original single-family homes in this neighborhood are being replaced by apartment buildings, it is not the teardowns that are destroying affordable housing, it is the owners of these buildings that are raising the rent. It appeared that the more affordable housing is popping up along the major roadways like MLK Blvd. On the residential streets we saw more expensive townhouses being built. While more housing is becoming available, the cost of rent is escalating and people in these neighborhoods are being displaced: low- and middle-income locals being forced out by high demand. As long as the influx of people to Portland continues to increase, the need for housing will be high and the cost of rent can continue to rise.

Should Portland stay the “same”?

We know that something needs to change in Portland’s policies, but is that with rent control, tenant protection, zoning codes, or something else? I’m not sure what the solution should be. But that’s a question to ask at BPS tomorrow, and to learn more about in the next few weeks.

Hannah Davis


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