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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.


City weighs parking rule for NW that could block a fifth of new homes

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on July 5th, 2016 at 11:41 am

~1950 Pettygrove.
The Tess O’Brien Apartments on NW 19th and Pettygrove, built with no on-site parking, are the largest project that would have been illegal under a proposal going before city council tomorrow.
(Photo: Ted Timmons)

Portland’s City Council will meet Wednesday to consider a new mandatory parking requirement that, if it had existed for the last eight years, would have illegalized 23 percent of the new housing supply in northwest Portland during the period.

The Tess O’Brien Apartments, a 126-unit project that starts pre-leasing next week and will offer some of the cheapest new market-rate housing in northwest Portland, couldn’t have been built if they’d been required to have 42 on-site parking spaces, its developer said in an interview.

“Do the math,” Martin Kehoe of Portland LEEDS Living said Friday. “The apartments at the Tess O’Brien are between $1250 and $1400 a month. If we were required to build parking, you’d be between $1800 and $2000 a month. … It probably just wouldn’t have been built. And then what’s that going to do to the existing project that’s out there and has been built? It’s just going to drive the rents of those up.”

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Guest Post: How to build a neighborhood with character(s)

by on June 1st, 2016 at 10:51 am

Fall leaves on SE Ankeny-7
An illegal neighborhood in southeast Portland.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

This post is written by Neil Heller, a Portland-based planning consultant.

I recently visited a shop to get a new bike. I was shown two options: a gorgeous, yet expensive, custom-built single-speed cruiser and a massive cargo bike with all sorts of gleaming add-ons including an electric assist.

I like both of these bikes but they don’t quite fit my riding style — short commutes but also a bit of recreational road cycling on the weekends. I asked about a more versatile bike, one in between the two I was being shown, but was told road bikes are illegal.

Certainly I had seen some road bikes being ridden on my way over? These types are all an older style, I was informed, and can only be purchased used. No new road bikes are being built right now. Sorry.

By now it’s likely that you already see the metaphor and realize I never visited such a shop. I think this metaphor for housing choice is a good one because it highlights how laughable having such limited options can be.

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Portland is finally adding homes almost as fast as people are moving here

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on May 19th, 2016 at 2:58 pm

pop and housing growth
The population is up 16 percent since 2005, but the number of homes is only up 11 percent.
*The 2010 jump is related to better data from the decennial Census.
Data: American Community Survey. Chart: BikePortland.

After 10 years of falling further and further behind the number of people moving to Portland — and paying the price in rising rents, especially in bikeable areas — Portland nearly kept up with its own migration last year.

That’s according to American Community Survey figures released Thursday, which showed Multnomah County adding 4,688 net new homes in 2015. That’s the most to be reported from this data set since at least 2005, the first year it was available.

Since that year, Multnomah County’s population has grown 59 percent faster than its housing supply. That’s combined with relatively rapid growth in high-wage local jobs to rapidly drive up housing prices.

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Portland’s biggest, baddest bike parking facility is about to open

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on May 13th, 2016 at 10:16 am

tv
Inside the Lloyd Cycle Station, where you can catch a game on the tube while you chill after a ride.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland unless noted)

Generally speaking, Portland does bike parking better than any city in North America. And one of the continent’s biggest bike parking projects is about to open in the middle of it.

The Lloyd Cycle Station, which opens to the public next month in the basement of the Lloyd 700 Building at 700 NE Multnomah Street, will offer half of the record-breaking 1,200 indoor bike parking spaces constructed as part of Hassalo on Eighth in the Lloyd District. But unlike most residential bike parking projects, this facility will also be open to people who work or shop in the area.

The 24-hour facility will offer service from on-site mechanics, paid lockers, showers, a bike-repair stand, extra-large cargo bike parking, a bike wash and free “commute consultations.”

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Affordable-housing alliance to city: Legalize ‘missing middle’ in bikeable neighborhoods

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on April 22nd, 2016 at 1:58 pm

2314-16 se salmon duplex built 1927
2314 and 2316 SE Salmon: built in 1927, illegal to build today. City Council could change that with the comprehensive plan it’s about to vote on.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

As Portlanders debate ways to deal with the city’s continuing surge of housing prices, a coalition of local affordable-housing developers and service providers says Portland can’t afford to continue banning so-called “missing middle” housing from most of the city.

Duplexes, triplexes, internal home divisions and two-story garden apartments are common throughout many of the neighborhoods Portland built in the early 20th century. Today, those neighborhoods are the city’s most walkable, bikeable and transit-friendly — but since 1959, city code has made it illegal to build more neighborhoods like that. Homes with multiple kitchens or space for fewer than two cars are forbidden even on most residential land in the central city.

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Portland’s best model for population growth without catastrophe is right in front of us

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on April 15th, 2016 at 3:52 pm

2018 nw everett 1910 9-20

2018 NW Everett Street, built 1910.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Part of NW Portland Week.

Portland’s “huge population boom” and “explosive growth” have driven such a painful housing shortage that it’s not uncommon these days to hear Portlanders wish the city would stop creating so many jobs.

Since 2008, the city’s population growth rate has been about 9,000 net new residents per year, or 1.5 percent.

But when many of the buildings that continue to define northwest Portland were built, Portland’s population was growing by 7 percent every year for years on end. In the decade of the 1900s, the city that started at 90,000 residents added 11,679 new ones every year on average.

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Average apartment building costs fell sharply during no-parking apartment boom

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on March 28th, 2016 at 11:13 am

housing+construction+ankeny
Southeast Ankeny Street.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

In 2013, when the Portland City Council began requiring most new apartment buildings of 30 or more units to include on-site parking garages, housing watchdogs warned that this would drive up the prices of newly built apartments.

Because the city still lets anyone park for free on public streets, they predicted, landlords wouldn’t be able to charge car owners for the actual cost of building parking spaces, which can come to $100 to $200 per month. So the cost of the garages would be built into the price of every new bedroom instead, further skewing new construction toward luxury units.

Three years later, rough data suggests that this could be exactly what happened.

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Could it work here? How Seattle’s big new housing compromise came together

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on March 15th, 2016 at 9:44 am

separate signal phases bidirectional 2nd seattle
Seattle’s recent housing breakthrough may have lessons for keeping bikeable parts of Portland affordable.
(Photo: Adam Coppola)

Here’s one way to think about the political battle over housing in growing cities, spelled out Monday at an Oregon Active Transportation Summit panel: it’s got three main interest groups.

One group is social-justice advocates and tenants. These people are generally interested in keeping prices lower one way or another, especially for the lowest-income people.

One group is environmentalists, businesses and the development industry. These people are (for various reasons) generally interested in increasing the number of people living in the city.

The third group is a highly active subset of single-family homeowners. These people are generally interested in maintaining or increasing the value of their property, especially while keeping things the way they were when they bought it.

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As state law passes, the fight for affordable proximity moves to City Hall

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on March 4th, 2016 at 12:36 pm

trauma
A rally last fall to better protect Portland tenants from displacement.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

After years of fighting, a “grand bargain” on affordable housing passed Oregon’s legislature this week. But it won’t begin shaping Portland’s bikeable neighborhoods until after the city council takes action of its own.

Representatives for Mayor Charlie Hales and his council colleague, Housing Commissioner Dan Saltzman, say that plans to do so are already underway.

Any city plan seems certain to include some level of “inclusionary zoning,” a measure that could require that up to 20 percent of units in some new buildings be sold and/or rented at discount prices to people who make less than 80 percent of the median income. (As of 2015, that 80 percent figure means that a family of three that makes less than $52,950 would qualify for the reduced-rate units.)

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City wants taxpayers to finance $26 million hotel parking garage next to light rail

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on February 24th, 2016 at 9:36 am

rendering with bikeportland
An architect’s rendering of the proposed six-story parking garage in the Rose Quarter.
The viaduct on the left is Interstate 5.
(Renderings via NextPortland)

The city’s economic development agency agreed this month to have city taxpayers make an eight-figure bet that driving to the Rose Quarter area is going to remain popular for decades.

The Portland Development Commission voted Feb. 10 to borrow $26 million from one of its property tax funds to build a new 425-stall parking garage on public land between NE Holladay Street, Multnomah Street, 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue, across the street from the Rose Quarter Transit Center.

Fifty of those stalls would then be resold to TriMet for an estimated $8 million, and the other 375 would be set aside for rental to the publicly subsidized 600-room Hyatt Regency Convention Center Hotel that’s supposed to go up across the street.

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