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The Real Estate Beat

Welcome to our special coverage of how real estate and housing are closely intertwined with bicycling in Portland. We’ll track the latest bike-friendly developments (both commercial and residential) and share our analysis of how low-car trends are impacting the places we live and work. The Real Estate Beat is edited and produced by our News Editor Michael Andersen.


Big shift in Salem: Realtors and some builders are open to housing price controls

by on January 14th, 2016 at 9:23 am

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Inclusionary zoning would let cities turn the voluntary agreements that have made the Pearl District relatively income-diverse into mandatory rules.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon just got some powerful new voices in support of ending the state’s unusual ban on a type of zoning designed to preserve income-diverse neighborhoods.

It’s a development that could slowly add up to a significant number of new apartments and condos in bikeable, walkable parts of Portland being set aside for lower or middle-income people.

The news was reported late Wednesday by The Oregonian, whose reporter Denis Theriault covered a state Senate hearing in Salem about “inclusionary zoning,” as the policy is known.

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After years of building, Seattle gets a new year’s gift: falling rents

by on January 4th, 2016 at 11:45 am

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New homes in Ballard, Seattle.
(Photo: Bejan)

The Portland metro area was one of the fastest job creators in the country in 2015, but a familiar neighbor has been neck and neck on that measure: Seattle.

The city to Portland’s north has ridden the success of Amazon and Microsoft, among others, to the country’s third-highest average wages. (Portland ranks 10th.) But all the money has come at a cost: Seattle rents are 20 percent higher than Portland’s, on average.

That isn’t likely to change any time soon. The most walkable and bikeable parts of Seattle remain even further out of reach for poor people than the most walkable and bikeable parts of Portland do today.

But Seattle’s recent real estate news suggests one way to at least stop rents from going even higher.

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Advocate! Tell the city how to change residential infill rules

by on December 18th, 2015 at 1:57 pm

2314-16 se salmon duplex built 1927
Built in 1927, illegal to build today.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Whether you hate demolitions, love garages, yearn to live in a duplex or just think the rent is too damn high, now’s your chance to let the city know.

All this year, the Real Estate Beat has been writing about the ways that Portland could increase the supply of homes in its bikeable areas without totally transforming its understandably beloved residential neighborhoods.

In March, we shared local microdeveloper Eli Spevak’s prescription for affordable infill, which drew praise from neighborhood association organizers. In April, we explored one of those ideas: charging lower development fees for smaller homes. In June, we looked at 11 medium-density buildings built before Portland’s 1959 zoning reform and asked why they should be illegal.

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Parking reforms could include paid permit zones in neighborhoods near main streets

by on December 7th, 2015 at 1:47 pm

parkinglead
Parking can be tight on N Michigan, just one block west of the popular commercial district on Mississippi Ave.

People who live on mixed-use corridors might be banned from parking their cars in nearby residential zones under a set of recommendations last week from a citizens’ committee.

After one small change, the committee unanimously approved the city’s proposal.

The committee, which consisted almost entirely of homeowners in residential zones, recommended that the city give its 95 neighborhood associations new powers to regulate curbside parking in their areas.

Neighborhoods would have to opt into the new permit program, and a majority of addresses in the area’s residential zones would have to vote for it. Residents of buildings in adjoining mixed-use zones wouldn’t get to vote.

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80 percent of Portland’s top-ranked restaurants have one thing in common

by on November 27th, 2015 at 12:24 pm

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DOC on Northeast 30th, Lincoln on North Williams, Paley’s Place on Northwest 21st.
(Images: Google Street View)

In a splashy report on KGW.com last week, the much-loved Portland chef Andy Ricker of Pok Pok lamented the recent lack of off-street auto parking on the street where he built his fame.

Developers of Portland’s future Division Streets are “going to need to lose some commercial space to parking,” Ricker told the news channel.

If that were to be the case, it’d be a big shift for future players in Portland’s nationally famous restaurant scene. Of the 93 Portland restaurants in Willamette Week’s “Restaurant Guide 2015” list released this month, 74 — Pok Pok among them — chose to set up shop in buildings that don’t have any car parking at all.

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Portland may require developers to offer residents, employees $600 for biking or transit

by on November 11th, 2015 at 8:40 am

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Downtown employer New Relic already offers in-office bike parking, but it doesn’t buy you a bike. Not yet.
(Photo: New Relic)

Got a new job in Portland? Have a new bike.

Deals like that could become common under a set of proposed rules being discussed by the City of Portland that might require developers or property managers to give each new resident or on-site worker $600 that could be spent only on non-car transportation: a nice new bike, six months of TriMet passes, four years of bike share memberships, or whatever.

The one-time payment would trigger at the time of move-in or hire. The goal is to make Portland’s streets cleaner and more efficient by reducing auto use.

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Kaiser parking plan could threaten key bikeway but may boost Lloyd’s boom

by on November 2nd, 2015 at 10:38 am

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People bike on NE 7th Avenue north of Multnomah, across the street from one of Kaiser Permanente’s three surface parking lots.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

There aren’t many ways that a new six-story $13 million parking garage subsidized by a health care company is good news. But at least in this case it might not be entirely bad.

Kaiser Permanente, the medical insurer and provider that owns more than three acres of surface and two-story parking lots between Northeast Grand Avenue, 7th Avenue, Wasco Street and Holladay Street, said Monday that it’s looking to build a new 700-space garage with ground-floor retail at 500 NE Multnomah Street.

That’s the site of Kaiser’s existing, seismically delicate two-story parking garage, immediately east and southeast of its office tower.

The site is adjacent to a MAX stop with service east and west every three to seven minutes for most of the day, plus a streetcar line and four bus lines, three of which offer frequent service or will soon.

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New 78-unit apartment will include downtown Beaverton’s first bike wash

by on October 20th, 2015 at 3:51 pm

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The Signal will offer extensive bike parking and car parking spaces will be optional.
(Rendering courtesy Metro)

Beaverton is looking to get a slice of Portland’s walkable-bikeable apartment boom.

Tomorrow morning, developers and city officials will break ground at the vacant lot at Southwest First Street and Angel Avenue in Beaverton’s streetcar-era Old Town neighborhood, officially kicking off construction of The Signal.

The four-story building will be about two blocks from Beaverton High School, half a mile from the Beaverton Transit Center and 2.5 miles from Nike headquarters.

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The new Lloyd apartments’ bike parking is already full – maybe too full

by on October 15th, 2015 at 4:14 pm

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Bike parking at the new Velomor building in the Lloyd District.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

It’s hard to say yet whether living in Velomor is leading people to bike more. But the people who’ve moved in certainly own a lot of bikes.

Bike parking for the 177-unit Lloyd District building that opened in July is already full and overflowing, and the apartment managers have set up two overflow racks in the still-vacant first-floor retail space that faces Holladay Street. Residents access the overflow racks by asking a concierge to let them in.

Velomor, the first of three buildings to open at Hassalo on Eighth, is currently about 80 percent occupied but almost entirely leased up for next month, a concierge said Thursday.

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As Portland’s housing shortage boils over, its mandatory car-housing policy seems safe

by on October 9th, 2015 at 12:14 pm

Justin Buri of the Community Alliance of Tenants tells Portland city council that Portland renters have a “right to the city” that is being denied by rising prices.
(Video: City of Portland)

At City Hall on Wednesday, a searing picture of what it means to be a low-income renter, looking for space in Portland’s housing crisis.

At City Hall on Thursday, a seemingly earnest discussion of whether it’s fair to charge cars more than $0 for taking up space.

Nobody is claiming that an opt-in neighborhood parking permit system — the main measure the city is considering — is anything close to a solution for Portlanders searching for housing amid one of the country’s worst housing shortages. Still, it was odd this week to watch Portland’s City Council lament as if capitalism mandated that even the very poor must pay for 130 square feet of bedroom, and then 21 hours later debate whether the government should continue to guarantee free 130-square-foot parking spaces almost everywhere in the city.

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