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2,000 missing homes: Prices soar in bikeable areas as Portland’s rental shortage deepens

Posted by on September 23rd, 2014 at 12:45 pm

vacancy rate chart

Source: Census. Chart by BikePortland.

As Portlanders puzzle over why local bike, bus and rail transportation has stopped rising, last week’s Census figures show another trend continuing to reshape the city’s population.

New construction in the central city hasn’t come close to relieving one of the country’s harshest rental housing shortages.

For structures built before 1940 — the bungalows and walk-ups built before the age of automotive planning that cover most of the land between the Willamette River, 82nd Avenue, Powell and Lombard, including many of the most bike-friendly neighborhoods in North America — median rents rose 19 percent in the two years from 2011 to 2013, Census estimates show.

Since 2005, when the City of Portland’s population growth began to dramatically outpace its supply of new units, rent in these central-city buildings has risen 47 percent.

“In Irvington, I can pretty much stick a sign in the yard and have it rented within a couple days,” said Shea McGrath, a broker with Carefree Property Management, in an interview Tuesday.

rental hikes 2011-2013

Citywide, median rents rose 9 percent from 2011 to 2013 and 37 percent since 2005. Nationwide, median rents are up 4 percent since 2011 and 24 percent since 2005.

“In terms of the Portland rental market, I don’t really see anywhere the rents are not increasing,” said Nicholas Cook, owner of Sleep Sound Property Management.

There’s little sign that Portland’s rental housing shortage is easing. The metro area’s rental vacancy rate was just 3.1 percent in 2013, its lowest in at least a decade and the second-lowest in the country after San Jose’s.

In fact, the Portland area’s rental vacancy rate in 2013 was the fourth-lowest recorded for any of the country’s top 75 metro areas in any year since 2005, when the Census began tracking the figure.

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Though people who spend time in central Portland sometimes speak as if the city is in the midst of total transformation, Census figures show the smattering of new four-story apartments on Division, Williams and elsewhere are basically a drop in the housing bucket.

The city’s supply of housing units grew by just 1.6 percent in 2011, 2012 and 2013 combined, according to the Census American Community Survey. The estimated number of households in the city, meanwhile, grew twice as fast.

To the extent that these estimates are accurate, that means that if about 4,000 net new households joined Portland in those years, about 2,000 either shacked up with another household or were priced out entirely by rising home costs. Tens of thousands of other households, of course, simply swallowed the big rent hikes; others moved to neighborhoods they might have avoided a few years before.

“They were already starting at kind of a high deficit in housing — a lot of it is kind of backfilling the deficit,” said Cook of the current construction. “I still think that supply is probably going to be less than the amount of people that are moving in.”

After neighbors protested early plans for Overlook Park Apartments, the developer added on-site auto and bike parking spaces and redesigned the building to target higher-income tenants.
(Image: TVA Architects)

Demolitions of old houses aren’t to blame for the rent increase among those that remain: the Census’ estimate for the number of occupied units in pre-1940 structures actually rose slightly from 2011 to 2013, meaning the number of demolitions was statistically negligible. There’s also little chance it’s just a data fluke. The two-year rent increase among old buildings is far beyond the Census’ margin of error.

“It makes the utmost sense to invest in housing along those corridors … I think if we walk away from that vision, that a better city will not result.”
— Jason Miner, 1000 Friends of Oregon

Instead, tenants and housing experts said vacancies are low and rents soaring for all units in neighborhoods close to the region’s two main job centers: downtown Portland and central Washington County.

“People want to live in those kinds of neighborhoods,” said Jason Miner, executive director of the anti-sprawl nonprofit 1000 Friends of Oregon.

In 2005, Portland’s rental vacancy rate was about 9.7 percent, exactly the same as the national rate and in the middle of the pack for U.S. cities. But over the next few years (years that also, for whatever reason, saw a huge surge in local bicycling) people began pouring into the Portland’s area’s rental housing, driving the metro area’s vacancy rate to the lowest in the country in 2009 and 2010. It’s hovered in the top ranks since, as development has failed to keep up with people’s rising desire to live in Portland.

In response, landlords have apparently seen little reason not to continue raising their prices at about twice the national rate, even faster in walkable, bikeable, transit-rich areas that were originally built without cars in mind.

As rental prices in inner Portland neighborhoods have risen, people who can’t afford it are forced further and further away from their jobs. Once that distance goes beyond the 2-4 mile sweet spot for bicycling, other modes — like driving and transit — start to become more competitive.

The City of Portland, meanwhile, is in the midst of a public comment period for its 20-year comprehensive plan, with many Portlanders urging the city to prevent new development during this process and the zoning and parking reforms that are scheduled to follow.

“It makes the utmost sense to invest in housing along those corridors where we’re going to put more frequent transportation,” Miner said. “I think we’re at a real historic turning point where we’re thinking about balking at that vision. And I think if we walk away from that vision, that a better city will not result.”

The first of four public hearings on the comprehensive plan is tonight. You can also comment by emailing psc@portlandoregon.gov with “PSC Comprehensive Plan Testimony” in the subject line.

— The Real Estate Beat is a regular column. You can sign up to get an email of Real Estate Beat posts (and nothing else) here, or read past installments here. This sponsorship has opened up and we’re looking for our next partner. If interested, please call Jonathan at (503) 706-8804.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Todd Hudson
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Todd Hudson

Expecting median income-affordable real estate within “2-4 miles” is unrealistic in a city that has been successful in attracting hordes of new residents from all over the country. That ship has long since sailed.

However, there are several neighborhoods just beyond that that are still affordable for median earners to rent/buy. Montavilla, Madison South, Fo-Po, Cully, and Parkrose are good examples. These are areas that are bike-able to downtown.

Andy K
Guest
Andy K

Out of curiosity, Todd, can you list for me some Portland areas that are not bike-able to downtown?

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

Most of SW?

matt picio
Guest
matt picio

And St. Johns.

was carless
Guest
was carless

Anything beyond a 6-mile bike ride from downtown is probably out of the average person’s ability to cycle every day.

Time spent commuting is a major obstacle, most people don’t want to spend over 30 minutes on a commute.

April
Guest
April

I ride a bit over seven miles each way and it’s actually a shorter commute than my last one. But I was already a committed cyclist. And I don’t own a car. And I don’t work downtown, so the bus would take too damn long!

Andy K
Guest
Andy K

Todd & was carless,
I agree 100% and would put large areas of NW into that group as well. The total lack of PBOT bike count locations tells me what I already knew….that much of NW and SW within that 6-8 mile radius is not considered ride-able. https://www.portlandoregon.gov/TRANSPORTATION/article/398973

I pass through #144 every day, and they’re going to be sad to see how few the numbers actually are….even on a sunny day.

davemess
Guest
davemess

For the majority of people, I’m going to venture that any place east of 39th is going to be too far to consistently bike commute to downtown.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

I disagree. Anecdotally, bike mode share at the company I work at downtown is quite high for people in the eastside 60’s and 70’s. I’m in the 60’s and my commute is only 4.5 miles, which is really quite doable for any reasonably fit adult. Based on the complaints I hear, the Hawthorne Bridge and its approaches seem to turn more people living in the E 60’s and 70’s off of cycling to our office (in southern-central downtown) than distance.

Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

Living just east of 60th I agree as well. I can get into NW by legacy in less than a half hour.

davemess
Guest
davemess

What is the overall percentage of bike commuters?

I’m not saying that it’s impossible for some (I bike downtown myself from pretty far south and 75th), just saying that over 30 minutes of riding is likely too much (even in nice weather) for a majority of population currently.

Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

In North Tabor, last census the bike commute rate was just over 11%, but when you go just one mile east to Montavilla it dropped to 4.5% I believe.

davemess
Guest
davemess

Sorry I meant at both your workplaces.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

Not sure. I think that aside from the Bike Commute Challenge it’s in the 10-20% range. We have a lot of inner-inner eastside bike commuters.

Mossby Pomegranate
Guest
Mossby Pomegranate

The connections to downtown from Parkrose are just plain awful. Rocky Butte and the freeways are big barriers.

Jim Labbe
Guest
Jim Labbe

That’s why we got to build the I-205 underpass project!

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

>Expecting median income-affordable real estate within “2-4 miles” is unrealistic in a city that has been successful in attracting hordes of new residents from all over the country. That ship has long since sailed.

The ship has sailed because NIMBY portlanders are blocking construction of new multi-unit buildings in areas that historically allowed construction of multi-unit housing.

dave
Guest
dave

There are plenty of lots available for high-density development that aren’t plop in the middle of established single-family neighborhoods. How many empty surface lots are there downtown? How many throwaway strip malls and fast food joints on NE Broadway/Weidler, MLK, or Powell that could be denser mixed commercial/residential? That’s the kind of development that needs to be a focus, not cramming four shotgun rowhouses onto a 6000sqft lot in Eastmoreland.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

So you’re saying that new people shouldn’t be able to choose where they want to live? “Sorry, the neighborhood is full. You have to live next to a superfund site.”

was carless
Guest
was carless

You have just described the Pearl District and South Waterfront, two very successful high density mixed use districts.

The problem is, of course, to add the projected 750,000 additional residents, we would need ~100+ additional Pearl Districts.

davemess
Guest
davemess

I think he is saying that there are market forces in place that we’re just not likely to get past. If new people have the money they can live wherever they want.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

Life isn’t fair, you can’t always get what you want. I’d love to live in Alameda or Irvington but I can’t afford a house there, so I don’t. The world hasn’t ended, no one is ‘owed’ a place to live within two miles of the city center.

tridork
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tridork

I think your comment represents NIMBY-ism at its finest.

jeff
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jeff

if you owned a home would you want a huge 80 unit apartment complex going in across the street or in your back yard?

bjcefola
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bjcefola

Yes, 211 to be exact.

davemess
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davemess

I’m going to guess you are a in a very small minority then.

bjcefola
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bjcefola

Pros: More local stores within walking distance, removal of an eyesore lot that served no legitimate purpose, safer main street with much more pedestrian traffic.

Cons: A little less light on the back yard in the morning.

That’s an easy choice without even considering the benefits created for people who will live and work in the new development.

dan
Guest
dan

I wouldn’t be happy to see that myself, but on the other hand, it would mean that I have the option of selling my lot to a condo developer for an outrageous sum, so I suppose you could argue that I wouldn’t be losing anything.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

That’s a red herring, because it isn’t happening anywhere in Portland, with the exception of a few single-family houses that share a backyard with commercial and high density residential zoned lots along major streets like Hawthorne and Division. Dave’s concern, and the concern for most NIMBY SFH owners, are “McMansions” and “Row Houses” going up in their neighborhood. These create a marginal increase in neighborhood populations, but spread out over the city, would allow us to add thousands of new houses.

davemess
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davemess

If they create only a marginal increase in neighborhood population, they probably aren’t much of a solution though, are they?

davemess
Guest
davemess

row houses in many neighborhood are not necessarily the answer though. There are plenty of places which will face parking issues and some that will struggle with access to transportation and other amenities. Building housing density in areas that don’t have sufficient amenities to handle it (i.e. much of east Portland) is irresponsible. Therefore I don’t think just scattering these types of development throughout the city is a great solution.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

On the other hand, Dave, there are plenty of areas of inner Eastside Portland that could easily handle more population without even the minimal (by big-city standards) parking pressure that areas near, for example, Hawthorne and Division are facing. Pretty much everywhere that’s more than a block or two from the major dense-ish commercial streets (Hawthorne, Division, Belmont, Burnside, etc.), has paved streets and sidewalks, and is close to bikeways or frequent service bus lines would be good in my opinion. I think that’s the majority of the land area in inner/mid N, NE, and SE Portland. The majority of that suitable-for-more-density area is currently zoned R5, prohibiting row houses or even skinny houses.

Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

NE 57th between Burnside and Glisan. There is a redevelopment going on that include multiple skinny houses. In the two lots south of Everret they are building another two skinny houses, next to the two already there. If these would have all been townhouse developments we could have had two more houses in there instead of all that dead space in between for a small walkway that can grow very little.

North of Everett, we still have two empty lots where the summer demolitions were. Again, they are planning on four single family skinny homes where if they could think creatively with property lines, we could get five or six townhouses. Same lots, 50% higher density still with small back and front yards…just not that ten foot dead space in between each one.

davemess
Guest
davemess

Fair points Alex. Sounds fine to me. I disagreed more with the idea that we should just sprinkle density around town.

I guess we’ll see what happens.

oregon111
Guest
oregon111

of course not… good point jeff – perception changes when you become a home owner

bjcefola
Guest
bjcefola

What street outside of downtown doesn’t border or contain single family homes?

davemess
Guest
davemess

What area outside of downtown has the infrastructure (commecial, transit, etc.) to be able to handle a high percentage of no car households?
Not that many.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

increased density forces people to use other modes. it’s a win-win, imo.

davemess
Guest
davemess

that’s assuming that people will choose to live in these types of dwellings if they know that they have to change modes. Throw some “no car” clauses into many apartments and see how excited people are about it.

bjcefola
Guest
bjcefola

I think you answer your own point. Is not building anywhere (including in suburbs) a viable option? If not the question isn’t what’s perfect, but what’s best available. Whatever inner Portland’s infrastructure needs might be, I’ll bet a beer they’re a lot less than the infrastructure needed to put equivalent housing units on a green field.

jeff
Guest
jeff

actually, no, that’s not the reason, and which exactly are these areas that “historically” allowed multi-unit housing and no longer magically do? and what is multi-unit? 2 houses in a lot? builders won’t build until they know there is profit to make and demand for the product. There’s really little more to it.

Doug Klotz
Guest
Doug Klotz

I believe he’s referring to the Buckman Neighborhood, and a lot of Sunnyside as well. Look at all the 1960s Joe Weston (American Property Management) apartments in there. At that time the whole area was zoned for apartments. In reaction, it was mostly zoned single family, I believe, with the 1980 Comprehensive Plan.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

bingo.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

“It makes the utmost sense to invest in housing along those corridors where we’re going to put more frequent transportation,”

The poors can live on arterial corridors while the neighborhoods of “real citizens” are downzoned into homogeneous and exclusive enclaves of wealth.

jeff
Guest
jeff

now you just sound bitter and a little jealous.

Peter W
Guest

I don’t have time right now, but someone should look at trends related to household size:

“That means that even as about 4,000 net new households joined Portland, about 2,000 either shacked up with another household or were priced out entirely by rising home costs”

(Which was it? Are people actually making more efficient use of the existing housing stock? Or are they leaving?)

dan
Guest
dan

Looks like it’s time to build that ADU 😉

rando
Guest
rando

Or a teardrop…

dan
Guest
dan

LOL! Two teardrops to park in the ADU driveway 😉

Tall Steve
Guest
Tall Steve

“the Census’ estimate for the number of pre-1940 structures actually rose slightly from 2011 to 2013”

Huh? So we built more pre-1940 houses that we demolished in the last couple years? How is that possible?

dan
Guest
dan

I don’t think anyone would argue that our society in general as well as individuals values money over human rights. Welcome to capitalism! The alternative seems to be some form of communism, however, which hasn’t ever really worked that well.

was carless
Guest
was carless

Apparently you’ve never been to Sweden. Nordic Model is a thing.

maccoinnich
Guest

I wasn’t aware that the Nordic Model includes the absence of a private housing market.

dan
Guest
dan

I see that I wrote exactly the opposite of what I intended. I meant to say something along the lines of: “I don’t think anyone could plausibly deny that our society values money over human rights.” Whoops.

Scott H
Guest
Scott H

Supply and demand has been around for at least thousands of years.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

I just wish everyone would find another “It Girl” city. Portland’s like the puppy Lenny “loved” to death.

maccoinnich
Guest

I suppose your family goes back ten generations in Oregon?

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Nope. Several generations, but that’s not my point. I know folks who moved here in 2005 who are also feeling the pinch. Places can get too crowded and be changed for the worse. Ask Venice. Or Austin. Or me. 🙂 You may have left wherever you did for Portland for that very reason.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Who benefits from population growth, an influx of residents?
Developers, landlords, but not very many other groups that I can think of. Cities always think it is a win for their coffers, but in fact it all too often is a net loss, as the demand for services outstrips the funds taken in. Then there’s that pesky thing called carrying capacity, which we in Oregon are fortunately not particularly close to overshooting, but at the planetary scale we’ve long since overshot it, and are soon going to discover just how much thanks in no small part to climate refugees who are expected to discover what a groovy corner of the world this here is, I mean was. Avoiding the tough issues is not a recipe for happiness. And shouting NIMBY! as a way to make the conversation stop isn’t helpful either.

Dwaine Dibbly
Guest
Dwaine Dibbly

Look at all of the surface parking lots downtown. The City should start taxing them to give the owners some motivation to develop those properties.

maccoinnich
Guest

They actually do pay property taxes, but only on the value of the land. However because assessed values in Oregon are disconnected to real market values there is less of an incentive to develop the land than there would be otherwise. It makes sense to hold on to a lot and wait for its value to appreciate further. Take this parking lot for example (http://www.portlandmaps.com/detail.cfm?action=Assessor&&propertyid=R246598&state_id=1N1E33DD%20%202200&address_id=101210&intersection_id=&dynamic_point=0&place=1110%20SW%20WASHINGTON%20ST&city=PORTLAND&neighborhood=PORTLAND%20DOWNTOWN&seg_id=138257&x=7642696.55&y=683782.961). Back in 1997 the land was valued at $378,000, and assessed at $368,730. Today the land is worth $1,391,770, but they’re only paying taxes on an assessed value of $591,610.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

I’d like to get myself calibrated. What does this group consider to be “affordable for median income households”? Is it total housing cost = 30% x median household income $59K / 12 = $1,450/mo, so maybe $1,300 for rent, after deducting $150/ mo utilities, for a family to rent a 2 bedroom? Is that the rent that we’re looking for in the central city?

Matti
Guest
Matti

maccoinnich
I suppose your family goes back ten generations in Oregon?
Recommended 0

Non-sequitor snark award.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

Let’s face it, Portland’s a boom town right now and the bicycle scene, stagnant as it is, is part of the problem.

Buzz
Guest
rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Thanks for the link. I think we’re already seeing climate refugees. I also think there will be way more than projected, at present.

daisy
Guest
daisy

Do things like AirBnB take potential long-term rentals out of the market because homeowners can easily make more from them as short-term rentals?

dan
Guest
dan

I think in other cities that’s proven to be the case. However, in Portland I’m not sure that will be true. You might rent a house for $2000 long-term, but it’s hard to get more than maybe $150/night on Air B’nB’. That means you have to rent it out about 160 nights/year to make the same money you would renting. Given you can probably rent it non-stop in June/July/August, can you rent it 70 nights in September-May? Not a slam dunk from my point of view. Also, you have to consider all the cleaning / property management, which adds time/cost.

benschon
Guest
benschon

Thank you for doing the math on this. As a business proposition, converting a long term rental to a short term rental is, normally, a lousy idea. Owners make more per night, but costs and hassle is also much higher. There is big difference between being a landlord who gets a steady income throughout the year for not much work, and a host who has to be there every couple of days to change sheets, hand over keys, and scrub toilets. If you hire a company to do the dirty work, it cuts into the price premium, and you have to fill even more nights to make money, and furnish your unit. I’m sure it makes sense at a certain point, if you could fill the space 200+ nights a year. Airbnb reports that their average Portland host rents out their space only 86 days a year, for $6,800. You make a lot more than that in Portland from a steady monthly rent, even if you build in a vacancy rate between tenants.

However, I can see how conversion would be more appealing in at least two situations: where a landlord is locked into a way-below-market rent (rent control in NYC), or is terrified that a bad tenant will stop paying and refuse to move out because of over-the-top tenant protections like in SF. In those situations, the owners are balancing risk/reward.

Peter R.
Guest

I live in Hillsboro, 9 miles from my job in Beaverton, I have a 0.8 mile walk or bike ride to MAX. I usually ride to the train stop and that is my morning commute. Then at night I ride the 9 miles home. Lately I have been riding my bike both ways as daylight starts to wane.
This to me is the ultimate transportation. I live out on the edge of the urban growth boundary, I paid a pretty sweet price for a lot more house than inner PDX would have given me and I get to go to work and not use my car. I think I qualify as one of the success stories that regional planners are hoping for. Orenco is 1 mile from my house, and access to 26 is about 2 miles.
I don’t believe that the bike is the only answer. I am a truly multi-modal transportation user. Since we moved in in February, I have driven to work once to make a trip East after.
I know there are many anti-MAX/Transit sentiments on this site, but I find it very convenient for my needs.
Throw Nike traffic into part of my route and a bike ride takes 35-40 minutes, while MAX takes about 25-30. Driving takes some of my co-workers 35+ minutes to go the same distance.
While I don’t have a desire to live inside of inner PDX, all I can say is that for a very short increase in distance, we have a lot lower mortgage for the given size house we have.
Rents are way lower out our way too, and with all the new units being tossed up around Orenco area, I can see in a couple more years things getting a bit pricier, but as others have already stated, this is a supply and demand situation. We’ve got a lot of employment in the area and a lot of people who want to live close to work, amenities and transit options.

Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

I am all about Bike-MAX-Bike. My neighborhood is smack dab in between the 60th street MAX and Mount Tabor park yet we have poor bike/ped access to either spot.

There are at least sidewalks….even if they are sub-standard and with gaps in just about every direction, but having all three east side MAX lines here opens a whole world up to the “Interested but concerned” once we gain safe bike access.

Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

Selfishly, If anyone needs a nice one bedroom upper flat in a bike-able neighborhood…I happen to have an empty one we need to rent…comment and I will get it and get back to you.

On the main subject, every property in the city zoning R5 or higher should be allowed to not only duplex, but have an ADU as well. All R5 or higher should be allowed one “granny flat” of less than 60% of the square footage of the primary home AND an ADU. Allowing for garage conversion/rebuilds including second story studies above these decrepit garages…wherever they lay on the property lines…..would instantly open up 10,000’s of derelict structures to be torn down and replaced with housing with very little impact on neighborhood character. You could then Cooperatively own the property in kind without sub-dividing. Hence both the primary home owner, and the “Garage ADU” occupant could gain equity long term.

We need to think creatively if we are going to add housing without completely demolishing all of our current housing. We can do both…save the character of our “lower density” neighborhoods AND increase density in a sustainable manner….as long as we do not use the typical “everything is disposable” American attitude.

Trashing whole blocks of old housing in favor of multiplexes just for the sake of density is not sustainable, nor politically palatable…we need to be creative.

Jake
Guest
Jake

This is a great and fascinating subject. And enjoy reading everyone’s angle on it. Thanks Michael.

davemess
Guest
davemess

Seems like there has been very little discussion of employment on this thread (granted it’s about housing). To me employment is one of the keys. The city needs to make more employment centers in Portland (I think they are trying to start doing this with proposed chances to the Comp. plan). Relying on most employment in downtown and Washington County, is not going to spread the density around the city, it’s just going to created the bullseye, decreasing price -type housing marking we currently have.

Rather than just building more closer to our current main job center, we can shorten people’s commute by moving their jobs closer to more affordable places that they want to live.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

Haha! GMTA! My quite similar comment is awaiting moderation. 🙂

Oregon Mamacita
Guest
Oregon Mamacita

Moving their jobs (?) sounds improbable. Boeing ain’t going nowhere, neither is Laikka or Nike or Intel or all the hospitals. Nor is Freddies (a large employer) or BCBSO etc. What employers did you have in mind and why would they move?

davemess
Guest
davemess

None specifically in mind, but likely smaller businesses, (probably some of them completely new or new to the area). I’m not expecting huge corporations to eat up acres of land in various parts of the cities. I’d like to see more offices and smaller companies setting up shop around Gateway and other areas along 82nd or deeper in East Portland.

I think the new Comp. plan is trying to promote some of this more mixed use, which I know you’re not a fan of.

(Alan, apparently I’m not that great, I had to look up what your acronym meant)

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

I guess a rogue script ate my post; it didn’t say anything that wouldn’t pass moderation. Anyway, as best I recall what I was saying…

Yeah, regarding the problem that Portland planners are trying to solve about how to get people to work (and other destinations, but largely to their jobs) with less dependence on cars, the solutions they’ve pushed so far seem to be (1) transpo modes (rail, bus, sorta/kinda bikes) and (2) inner city housing density. But, as you say, another approach is to move jobs closer existing residential stock. That approach fits well with “urban centers” and “20 minute neighborhoods,” and it can work in conjunction with the others. The Lloyd district is, in some ways, such a move but it combines some good things (lots of housing along with biz development) with not really being outside the existing inner city, thus limiting its effect on moving jobs toward residences and spreading the costs and benefits over a limited range both geographically and demographically. Imagine if places like Gateway or Milwaukie had a core district the size of Lloyd district developed with 5 to 10 story, mixed-use, urban buildings, and other nodes around the city had a block or three of 3 or 4 story mixed use. Many more neighborhoods would be within easy walk or bike of an urban center with jobs, services, commercial, retail, entertainment, etc. Those urban centers don’t need to replace the big, campus/plant type facilities which Oregon Mamacita mentions but they could offer auxiliary space that many of those companies end up using, they can offer more housing closer to those campuses, and they can support the additional services locally that non-inner city neighborhoods tend to drive for under current planning.

For some theory, visualization and actual built environs of this sort, check our Rob and Leon Krier’s work.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

I’d like to see more “urban centers” thrown into the mix. The talk I’m getting from Portland these days is about densifying inner East side residency (everything from ADU to high-rise) and extending alternate transpo modes (trolley, LR, maybe/sorta bikes and e-bikes) to support the current downtown. Well, if the problem is getting residences close enough and commute times short enough to jobs to reduce car dependance, then putting biz/job infrastructure close to residences works at least as well as vice-versa. The Lloyd district is an example, but maybe not as good as it could be. While adding lots of residences (good), its job-base also draws heavily on residential areas which are already pretty close to downtown, not so good at moving jobs closer to residences. Instead, if the sort of density planned for Lloyd was done at, for example, Gateway and Lents, both the opportunity for density and the proximity of jobs to residences are greater. Even at a smaller scale–4 to 6 story vs. Lloyd’s 40 story–human-powered urban fabric and “20 minute neighborhoods” then become a reality.

No, I don’t expect existing political conditions to support that.

See Leon Krier’s work for visualized and built examples.

Matt
Guest
Matt

This story is just another in a string of signs that are all telling me it’s time to leave the Portland area. I’m a 3rd gen Portland area resident and I’ll never afford to live in the close-in Portland neighborhoods where I enjoyed my youth carelessly riding and skateboarding around. I’m not willing to go so far into debt for 30 years to do so, even if it means a higher quality of life (walking, biking, and skateboarding around). It just does not make sense.

We rented in Sellwood in the late 90’s and early 00’s when the cost of a fixer upper there was in the mid-$200K (and I thought that was a lot back then). Now people are paying $300K in Sellwood to tear down houses for new construction and new rentals are fetching $3 per sq foot (per month). I’d rather spend my $ on private school for my kid, or experiences that we can have as a family, than on a house closer to downtown Portland. For now it’s a 12 minute drive into downtown the one time a week I need to go there.

Oregon Mamacita
Guest
Oregon Mamacita

Matt, please consider the areas south of Woodstock. It would be so nice to have you buy a house and maybe do some cosmetics. Lots of nice people moving in there. The neighbors are thrilled when you don’t tear the house down- brace for banana bread, plant starts, etc.

Matt
Guest
Matt

In 2002 we left Sellwood and moved 2-3 miles south, near downtown Milwaukie because we couldn’t afford Sellwood on our ‘fresh-out-of college’ incomes. We’ve made the most of it here and have had a positive impact on the town through public engagement.

As New Seasons and Grand Central move into Woodstock this next year, prices there will increase as well…. Then as light rail opens next fall, prices will continue to increase in Milwaukie (and Sellwood), eventually making it unaffordable to people who grew up here. Sorry if this sounds negative, but it is hard not to be when you see the place you’ve grow up in change so much that you can drive down a street like Division, and it does not resemble the place you remember at all from just a few years ago.

9watts
Guest
9watts

When will folks realize that growth—in everything, but first and foremost in population—is not the panacea we’ve all been led to believe it would be. The tenor here on bikeportland, and pretty much everywhere else, is that growth is a given, something we need to anticipate, plan for, accommodate, even reward. But of course there are real costs to this approach, as many comments here suggest. Being priced out of your neighborhood is just one.
My point is that we don’t always and forever have to take growth as given. We can recognize it for what it is and refuse to accommodate it, encourage it, reward it through our policies. Figure out what kind of place we would prefer and then figure out how to bring that about. Any takers?

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

You should give all of your stuff away…..unless you value it, of course.

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

Sounds like it is time to rent my 1920’s Craftsman and buy a smaller place downtown.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

“2,000 missing homes”

There’s nothing in the story about those missing homes.

oregon111
Guest
oregon111

what a joke – losers move here from the midwest – just to ride their bicycles in the rain – and COMPLAIN about prices – when they are the ones jacking up the rents…

go back to the midwest – losers

9watts
Guest
9watts

And then there’s you. You post mopey, angry comments to a bike blog, excoriating just about everyone – for biking.

oregon111
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oregon111

has the price of rent gone down yet???

didn’t think so — what are you going to do when you are too old to work at killer burger?

as I-5/I-205/I-84 turn into all-day parking lots, the demand for inner city housing grows — it will soon be as expensive as san francisco for inner neighborhoods — median of 3500 for a 2 br apt

we are not that far away — actually, we are about 1/2 of that right now — give it about 6 years and see how close we are to 3k per month apartments

oregon111
Guest
oregon111

san fran now up to 4k for a 2br apt, portland not far behind…

i’ll be glad when critical mass can no longer afford to live here