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

Posted 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.

Last year, according to real estate analysts at Norris Beggs and Simpson, monthly rent at the average Portland-area apartment rose $100 — with the sharpest hikes in older, cheaper units.

Until local property owners actually start to see their rentals or sale listings sit open for more than a few weeks, housing prices are unlikely to fall. And the figures released Thursday show that the county’s population is still rising slightly faster than its housing supply: Multnomah County added 1.6 percent more people in 2015 but only 1.4 percent more homes.

Advertise with BikePortland.

“Based on the continued shortage of units and the steady to increasing demand in the coming years, we do not expect vacancy rates to approach 5 percent for at least the next 12 to 18 months and possibly longer,” the Barry Apartment Construction Report, a respected source of local housing data, wrote last month. “During 2016 and 2017, we expect a total of 12,000 to 14,000 new units to become available. The current levels of construction are meeting the new demand, but are failing to make up much ground on our low vacancy rates.”

skinny house

Was: One home in a bikeable neighborhood. Will be: two homes in a bikeable neighborhood.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

A study of California housing prices released in February concluded that in neighborhoods where more new market-rate homes are built, fewer people get displaced, presumably in part because the new, additional units gave wealthier households somewhere to move into other than the home of a less wealthy household.

As the city council crosses some of the last t’s today on a new comprehensive land-use plan and gets ready to start putting it into action, it’s worth considering what Portland can do keep adding more homes at least as fast as it has been for the last few years. If it doesn’t, be ready to keep saying “goodbye” to people who’ve helped make Portland the place it is.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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173 Comments
  • Ted Timmons (Contributor) May 19, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    If more people are moving than there are units, certainly not all displaced people are homeless. I assume the remainder are doubling up?

    Anecdotally it appears rental prices are softening slightly in NW. Hooray for lots of construction!

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) May 19, 2016 at 3:12 pm

      I think a lot of units that were vacant in 2005-2006 are probably now occupied, which is probably a good thing. Beyond that, yes, more people per house. Plus additional homelessness, yes.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty May 20, 2016 at 6:23 pm

        From most perspectives, more people per house is a good thing, right?

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        • lop May 20, 2016 at 9:52 pm

          Why?

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    • maccoinnich May 19, 2016 at 3:34 pm

      According to the most recent Multifamily NW data, rents Metro area wide were up 5.3% between Fall 2015 and Spring 2016. In NW Portland rents were up 2.1%. I don’t think it’s a reach to assume that there’s a connection between the facts that the area of town seeing the most new construction is also seeing smaller than average rent increases.

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    • Ted May 19, 2016 at 4:47 pm

      except for the construction in this photo and all the other unnecessarily large single family units built purely for profit. you’re on the wrong side of history applauding skinny houses. you want to build an affordable house of modest size on a 25 foot lot? fine. but this junk is pure greed and opportunism.

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      • Chris I May 19, 2016 at 9:28 pm

        What types of housing are not built for profit?

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        • q May 19, 2016 at 9:37 pm

          Housing built by non-profits. Houses built by people for themselves to live in.

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    • dwk May 19, 2016 at 7:16 pm

      Anecdotally, They are building a boatload of new 4 lane roads in Washington county and people there tell me that traffic times are going down. Hooray for new road construction…

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    • Ted Timmons (Contributor) May 24, 2016 at 6:32 pm

      Following up to my original question, “where are people going if housing doesn’t keep up?” This post about Washington DC breaks down their rising population. It’s safe to say Portland has approximately the same pattern- e.g., it isn’t just “people moving to Portland from California”. This is what Allan was saying in his comment, I think.

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  • Allan Rudwick May 19, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    Can you put a chart that has total numbers on it instead of % increases?

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) May 19, 2016 at 3:30 pm

      This is the point where I remind you that eight months ago you encouraged me to use the above chart in the future instead of one that had absolute numbers in it. 🙂

      The problem with absolute numbers is that your chart would have to have different scales for the left and right vertical axes, and a lot of people find multiple scales confusing.

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      • Allan Rudwick May 19, 2016 at 5:35 pm

        This new chart is great and I really like it compared to the old one. I do like this one assuming it is showing total housing units/housing units in 2005 and total population/ population in 2005 (which after a more thorough analysis it seems like it is. great work).

        The data that I think would add value to the chart is is total population and total # of housing units at the beginning and end. It could be a different chart or some other way of displaying it if desired. Based on a quick internet search I think Portland roughly went from 534k (2005) to 632k population and 243k to 274k (roughly) housing units which would roughly increase our people per house by 0.1 from 2.2 to 2.3 over the past 10 years — although this doesn’t quite jive from with the census’ 2.4 people per house stat so something must be off by a bit but i think the delta is fairly close.

        I can see the multiple vertical axes being somewhat confusing – but I think not including these is also confusing. For example I can’t tell – what is the population and what is the number of housing units.

        For example- your comment: Since that year, Multnomah County’s population has grown 59 percent faster than its housing supply seems like a huge descrepancy, but the actual effect is what is the change in average household size – average household size was (2010-14) 2.40 people per house- census link- http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/HSD310214/41051

        household size (people per housing unit) must be going up if population is increasing faster than housing supply. this chart from seattle seems like a good format: http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/cityplanning/populationdemographics/
        however it is interesting to note that they are experiencing a decline in household size (people/unit). I would guess this varies a lot n’hood to n’hood.

        there are a lot of pieces of data that would affect how the rental market feels like:
        – short term rentals taking housing off the market
        – increase/decrease in vacant houses (if any)
        – unit sizes (affecting how many can comfortably live in a space

        Thanks for continuing to report on this issue and sorry to be such a boneheaded commenter.

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        • BJCefola May 19, 2016 at 5:51 pm

          I think the housing shortage is having a lot more consequences than just causing people to double up. Think about all the conditions that lead to people making that choice.

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          • q May 19, 2016 at 7:51 pm

            Can you elaborate on that?

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            • B Kim Pitpat May 20, 2016 at 10:04 am

              Loss of employment

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            • bjcefola May 20, 2016 at 4:31 pm

              The shift to more people per unit wasn’t an organized change. It wasn’t like everyone got together and said, ok, which 25,000 people are happiest becoming someone’s roommate and what 25,000 households would be happiest taking them, and we’re going to keep everything else the same.

              Instead it happened through system-wide changes in housing costs, and everything that follows from that- rent hikes, evictions, displacement to cheaper neighborhoods, etc. Think about what kind of financial burden would cause you to take in a new roommate, in addition to any you might have already.

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  • soren May 19, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    We need more supply — especially affordable supply — but regulation can help stop people from saying “goodbye” as well. For example, the new rent-increase ordinance could be expanded to 12 months and the city could pass a just cause ordinance.

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    • Middle of the Road guy May 20, 2016 at 11:25 am

      one could argue we need more supply of highways, too. Supply isn’t always the answer.

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      • Neil Self May 20, 2016 at 2:19 pm

        The difference is that cars are a specific form of transportation, so there are alternatives for getting around: walking, biking, bus, rail, plane.

        Housing is an entire category. The only real alternative for enough housing for people in a given area is them living somewhere else.

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      • soren May 22, 2016 at 10:27 am

        ironically, that was exactly what i was communicating. (please note the “but”.)

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  • Bikeninja May 19, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    Good news for housing supply but much of it is of the wrong type. Anecdotal evidence from numerous people I know looking for apartments in town is that the lower priced (small) units in each new building are snapped up immediatly and the higher priced units linger on the market much longer or are staying vacant. I am not sure how much of a market there is for $2800 two bedroom apartments in Portland.

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    • Mike Quigley May 19, 2016 at 5:00 pm

      $2800 for a two bedroom apartment? Better snap it up considering what’s coming down the road. How about $2000 for a tiny bedroom, shared bath, shared kitchen, in a two bedroom condo? That’s what a friend gets for her cold water walkup on California Street in Pacific Heights in San Francisco, and she has people waiting to rent it!

      Say it can’t happen here? Dream on.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty May 20, 2016 at 6:29 pm

        As long as we remain the cheapest housing market on the west coast, prices will continue to rise.

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  • Go By Bike
    Go By Bike May 19, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    I think a lot of this is that there were some really big projects that finally got completed. Once the Bridgehead is finished that will be another one. But I’m worried that we do not have many big projects lined up after that. PDC is building a new parking lot in the Lloyd though 🙂

    I keep tabs on vacancy in the Lloyd each month. Was consistently below 8%, sometimes 1-3% and then Hassalo and Union projects opened and went up to 38%. Since November, that has dropped to 17%. To quote Jaws “We are going to need a bigger boat”

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    • John Liu
      John Liu May 19, 2016 at 4:09 pm

      What is going on with the very big multi family project that is to replace the parking lot for the Lloyd 10 movie theatre?

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      • maccoinnich May 19, 2016 at 4:19 pm

        It’s going before the Design Commission on June 30th.

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    • maccoinnich May 19, 2016 at 4:41 pm

      There are a lot of large projects in the development pipeline. A handful of the largest:

      Lloyd Cinemas parking lot redevelopment: 677 units
      Oregon Square (phase I): 560 units
      Con-way Blocks 294E and 295E: 385 units
      4th & Harrison: 424 units

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    • Joseph E May 19, 2016 at 4:58 pm

      It’s not enough to have one or two big projects every year:
      “During 2016 and 2017, we expect a total of 12,000 to 14,000 new units to become available.
      We need 1000’s more new homes per year stop rents from rising.

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  • Ted May 19, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Hi Michael,
    Wow was I surprised to see the bane of my existence for the past six months as your article’s cover photo. That’s the house that towers over my house. The out of neighborhood owner was asked to build a house in consideration with the size and character of the neighborhood. He paid lip service and then went back on everything he said. It is easily the tallest thing on the street. I have no more sunlight nor privacy in my backyard. Most that walk past look up in disgust. Cars slow down in front of it with their mouths agape. The designer of the unit (because that is what this is, not a home that was well thought out, but a number on a sheet for someone to make money on by spending as little as possible cutting as many corners and getting the most profit) has been rude to the neighbors. The builder called me “a**hole” for asking him not to park in front of my driveway. The carousel of people building it consistently work with generators and nailguns before 7 am and work past 6 pm in discord with noise regulations. They cut down all of the trees on the lot, including several unnecessarily. I do not completely disagree with your point in this article, but I was born and raised in Portland, and I feel like saying “goodbye” to Portland because of this nonsense. I would hope you would choose a different photo to illustrate your point. Or I can provide you with the photo from my backyard of the immense wall of plywood I now look at instead of Doug Fir trees.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) May 19, 2016 at 5:33 pm

      Hey Ted – we’re neighbors! I live at 65th and Hassalo.

      We probably do disagree on some things but a lot of that stuff sounds awful. We should meet up and talk.

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    • ethan May 19, 2016 at 5:52 pm

      So you don’t like density? Or is it just if it’s in your back yard?

      For me, an apartment building went up basically right behind my house. Sure, the construction was louder than the gentle breeze and quiet neighborhood noises, but that’s only temporary.

      The street is still torn up but that is temporary too. I support the apartment being Put there. It’s doubling the density of the whole block and not adding any wasteful parking garages or anything.

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      • Ted May 19, 2016 at 6:56 pm

        i would actually be happier with an apartment building. then it would be the same size and there would be more than 1 family inside. my main problem is that this particular house does not reflect the spirit of the article. i don’t think we can trust developers to do density in a responsible way. i hear a lot from density advocates that gives way too much trust to developers. yes, regulations need to be revised, but this was built within regulations and does not solve any problems. when you split a lot after a teardown you have to wait five years to build on one half of the lot. so that’s a flat line on this chart.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. May 19, 2016 at 11:08 pm

          It’s interesting that you consider 3-story R2.5 to be both dense and tall. I would happen to disagree with both.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty May 20, 2016 at 6:32 pm

            Would you accept ugly?

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. May 21, 2016 at 2:37 pm

            “Ugly” is a completely subjective qualification, so it’s fair to ignore all complaints about a building’s appearance.

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            • q May 21, 2016 at 2:55 pm

              Design commissions, architects, zoning department staff, etc. all over the world would disagree with you on that one. A building’s appearance can make a huge difference in its compatibility with its context. That doesn’t mean there’s not lots of subjectivity about appearance, or that what qualifies as “ugly” is subjective, or that the success of a building’s appearance should be judged by how few complaints it generates. But saying “it’s fair to ignore all complaints about a building’s appearance” is extreme.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. May 21, 2016 at 4:59 pm

                There’s a big difference between building form, function, and how it integrates with the urban fabric being decided by an objective committee of experts and stakeholders after discussion and being encoded into law; vs an irate neighbor opposing a single building solely because of looks. I was referring to the latter. What you personally find ugly may look nice to someone else. Often times, people use a building’s appearances as a proxy for other issues like density. People love to complain about the “ugly” and boxy buildings on Divison, but no one seems to complain about the equally as boxy abandoned buildings on 50th built in the 1970’s.

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              • Ted Timmons (Contributor) May 21, 2016 at 5:11 pm

                again, bungalows were derided as the Worst Thing Ever when they were popular. This isn’t new.

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              • q May 21, 2016 at 5:40 pm

                I didn’t know that’s what you meant. I agree with your “expanded version”. In fact, the City often lets taste creep into the zoning code, and especially into its design review decisions. I’d say it has a bias towards traditional design, but even that’s not quite true–it has a bias towards what it thinks is traditional. I’ve often testified against regulations that not only impede doing contemporary design, they also impede traditional design.

                I think there’s a real danger that regulations that allow greater density, such as “missing middle” regulations, will come with design restrictions that pander to neighborhood groups that want everything to have gable roofs, horizontal wood siding, fake dormers, etc.

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      • rachel b May 19, 2016 at 7:11 pm

        Does anyone really “like” density? In their backyard? Some, maybe, while amenities remain abundant, convenient and accessible. But add too many people and the convenient life becomes dreadfully inconvenient, not to mention stressful. You can support housing the current slavering hordes of starry-eyed people who are dead FIXED on Portland and can seemingly imagine no other place on earth to live, and you can acquiesce to the inevitable, sure, but it’s absolutely reasonable and normal not to LIKE it. Too many rats in a cage is disastrous to mental (and physical) health! Ask the rats.

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        • ethan May 19, 2016 at 7:28 pm

          I’m not a rat. I’m a human and I like interacting with other humans. The apartment behind my house is pretty much as close to my back yard as physically possible and I appreciate that. There has also been another apartment built last year, a teardown directly across from my house that will hold 2 new houses, a vacant house 2 doors down from me is now the home of some really nice people, etc.

          But I’m also lucky to have 2 frequent bus routes withina block of my house and 2 more bus routes within a 10 minute walk from my house.

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          • Ted May 19, 2016 at 7:38 pm

            that’s nice dear. just not quite sure where you see that we disagree.

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          • rachel b May 19, 2016 at 9:04 pm

            I don’t know about you, ethan, but it’s already standing-room-only most of the time (even early early mornings) on my “convenient” bus. It matters not that it runs frequently. It is always, always packed and generally awful. And it will only get more packed. Same with the MAX. Same with the streets. Same with the grocery stores, the restaurants, the doctors’ offices, etc. etc. You like where you are right now with all this building going on around you, all the many people (which I, an introvert and misanthrope, simply can’t fathom liking, but to each his own!), but how will you feel as more and more and more building goes on around you and your current conveniences simply become overrun with sweaty humanity, and therefore less available to you? As even more cars crowd the streets, fouling your air? I would think even the most avowed extrovert might not like that so much.

            Portland is not well situated to just keep building building building to provide amenities and basic services to accommodate ALL these people. If we try, we are going to create one miserable city. It already feels miserable to me. But I am a rat.

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            • Ben Schonberger (@SchonbergerBen) May 20, 2016 at 12:43 pm

              People who are introverted and misanthropic, hate crowds, and value low housing prices and wide open spaces, are better served living in exurban or rural areas. And that’s fine! You can leave the hustle and bustle for those of us who love it.

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              • rachel b May 20, 2016 at 7:00 pm

                Thanks, Ben. I have been nervously chasing around within Portland like a bird trapped in a house for the past four years, having researched, hunted, packed up and foolishly moved house three times in that period, thinking I could outrun it. Not a sound financial or health decision (exhausting!) and, as it turned out, fruitless. You cannot escape Portland in Portland, now. It was once possible. I think.

                Your advice is very sound, but unfortunately I have obligations here. And by the way–introverted, misanthropic, crowd-hating people who value low housing prices and wide open spaces used to BE Portland, not so long ago, and for most of its life. Go figure! 😉

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            • was carless May 21, 2016 at 6:11 pm

              Thats an argument for more bus service. Portland has an abysmal transit system compared to first world nations.

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              • rachel b May 22, 2016 at 12:45 am

                The 4 runs pretty frequently, but it’s still always overflowing. I heard they’re nevertheless considering adding more frequent (every 5 minutes?) 4s (fingers crossed). I have no doubt they’ll be filled to capacity, too. Just too many people!

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        • soren May 19, 2016 at 8:52 pm

          density means more amenities, more convenience, and a more sustainable city. what is not to like?

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          • q May 19, 2016 at 9:10 pm

            Achieving density can mean all kinds of negative things, and density can have all kinds of negative impacts after it’s achieved. I’m not arguing against density, just answering your question–there IS lots not to like, just as is true of all other kinds that may be very positive on the whole.

            What’s not to like? Loss of open space, greenspace, trees, nature, views, light, privacy… More crowded streets, parks, schools… More noise. Change/loss of familiar places, neighborhood character…Loss of old buildings…

            Measures can be taken to reduce negative impacts, and there are lots of positive impacts, too, but there’s certainly plenty not to like. Otherwise growth wouldn’t be the huge issue it is.

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            • soren May 19, 2016 at 10:13 pm

              by emphasizing density we preserve green space and habitat where it matters. as for “neighborhood character”, i grew up in europe and cities there had far more character than portland with many times the density. portland is not a suburb or small town — it is an urban area that will grow at an accelerating rate as our climate warms in coming decades.

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              • q May 19, 2016 at 10:42 pm

                Your response doesn’t change my mind about there being negatives to density, since after all acknowledging those isn’t the same as arguing against density.

                Density “preserves green space and habitat where it matters”? As Portland densifies, it is losing acres of green space and habitat–everything from multi-acre sites, to side gardens in neighborhoods. You can’t tell me those don’t matter to people. They do, so losing them is a negative impact, even if there are other positive impacts, or if the density is preventing sprawl and preserving other, even more important green spaces and habitat.

                Neighborhood character in Europe? I agree dense European cities have great character. Part of what people love most about the areas most beloved for their character is that they’ve preserved so much of the past, and there are mazes of regulations to prevent change in them. Many people here are unhappy with the ways their neighborhoods are changing due to density increases. That’s a negative impact, even if it’s part of a process of creating a city with greater character in the future.

                Yes, Portland isn’t a suburb or small town, and it will grow. Do you think people here don’t know that? That doesn’t mean there aren’t negative impacts arising from density. Why do you think so many people here and in every other city that is densifying are working so hard to ensure that the negative impacts arising from density are mitigated? Because there ARE negative impacts.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. May 19, 2016 at 11:12 pm

                I don’t recall any development projects replacing city parks. Not sure where you claim we’re losing green space.

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              • soren May 20, 2016 at 8:42 am

                Part of what people love most about the areas most beloved for their character is that they’ve preserved so much of the past, and there are mazes of regulations to prevent change in them.<

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              • soren May 20, 2016 at 8:54 am

                Europe has a history so its preservation means something different from the Portland dog whistle. Single family bungalows less than a century old would be demolished in an instant in the typical European city center. Perhaps this is why they simply don’t exist there…

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              • Ted Timmons (Contributor) May 20, 2016 at 10:47 am

                interestingly, if “greenspace” is just “empty space”, Portland is overprovisioned on roads. Having a small grid means less space for non-roads.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. May 20, 2016 at 10:53 am

                Are people really mourning the loss of abandoned lots? I hear a lot of concerns from neighbors about various things regarding density but this is not one of them. No one seemed to oppose the demolition of the 1970’s TV repair store at 50th and Clinton, either. It seems people are not universally opposed to demos, but only to things they personally think are nice, which is not a good way to plan a city IMO.

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              • rachel b May 20, 2016 at 7:46 pm

                “I agree dense European cities have great character. Part of what people love most about the areas most beloved for their character is that they’ve preserved so much of the past, and there are mazes of regulations to prevent change in them.”

                Hear, hear, q! Well said.

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          • rachel b May 19, 2016 at 9:16 pm

            Ugh. That is what they say, yes, soren. But how do you know it ultimately means more convenience? Just saying it doesn’t make it so, even though a whole lotta people are saying it, ad nauseam, nowadays. It is the New Gospel, after all.

            But what I’m experiencing in my neighborhood–which is close-in and was truly very convenient even five years ago–is lines lines lines lines and traffic traffic traffic traffic and smog smog smog smog, etc. The vaunted “convenience” has gone out the window with the increasing press of (increasingly touristy, self-entitled and obnoxious) people. As a result, I go out less–I even enjoy walking and biking less, a lot less. I am even more of a homebody.

            There are simply too many people. Too many cars. Too many impatient drivers, too many tourists, too many people intent on sucking the delicious marrow out of Portland. I’m stressed and depressed. There’s a tipping point where “nice!” turns to “nooooo!” and I certainly feel like we’ve reached it in my neck of the woods.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. May 19, 2016 at 11:18 pm

              I firmly disagree. Opposing density because of long lines at restaurants is silly. And the traffic problems are solvable if city council could actually take some bold steps. Adding people doesn’t have to mean adding cars if we implement congestion charging, high parking fees, and take away car lanes, while implementing better biking and public transport infrastructure. Plus, density brings more amenities within walking distance, which removed car trips entirely.

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              • rachel b May 20, 2016 at 12:26 am

                Dear Adam–long lines at restaurants is just a tip o’ the (melting) iceberg I just floated at you, ahem! 😉 And, really–why scorn that observation as silly? It’s a bellwether, is what it is! Here you and soren are, waxing ever ecstatic over this hypothetical, golden future of ease and convenience, when even MORE people will be crowding this city, and I’m telling you the stampede to Oregon/Portland ALREADY has made life much more inconvenient (and unhappy) because of the congestion, the increased difficulty getting around, the lines (and not just at restaurants), the pollution, the expense, etc. What on earth will it be like a year from now, 10 years? I shudder to think! Your ideals (“…problems are solvable if the city…”) and soren’s are lovely, and I share many of them. But the realist in me makes me balk at riding in that particular Density Utopia bandwagon.

                You can dismiss the overfilled buses and MAX and how I and others are feeling (and even what we’re seeing) at this point in The Great Portland Experiment, and that won’t bother me much. For my part, I think you and soren have drunk the koolaid. 🙂 I wish both of you would address the amenities/convenience issue, though, in realistic terms. As we grow, precisely how many grocery stores/pharmacies/restaurants/clinics can we magically build in Portland to accommodate all these people? When they’re overrun NOW, before a few hundred thousand—a million!—more arrive? How does our infrastructure handle it? The Big Pipe is already at capacity (and took a bajillion dollars and a bajillion years to build). With increasing drought, what about water?

                Anyway–I’m using restaurants as an example of a PROBLEM. What do you do when density gets so dense, and urban boundaries/geographic limits so…er, limiting (meaning you can’t simply build more stuff), that everything is patronized to over-capacity all the time? What to do when it gets bad enough that you, at wit’s end, DRIVE to other areas to avoid the hassle of doing your errands at the over-patronized places “convenient” to your home? Walkable, yes, but who cares if it takes you nine years to complete your task?

                I and mine have started giving up on going out in our neighborhood (and the adjacent ones). I have more than a few examples of initially lighthearted (hungry) comical journeys meant to end 100 yards away at the ‘convenient’ amenity turning into miles-long walks to adjacent neighborhoods where we run into the exact same problem (PEOPLE!!! So many people!!!), then wind up just walking home (or if I’m w/ a friend who drives, driving around some more in hopes of finding someplace). It seems to me to defeat the purpose of “convenience” if it’s not actually convenient at all. Just nearby.

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              • rachel b May 20, 2016 at 12:30 am

                Never mind. I know what you do when things get to be just too much of a hassle and life becomes a living, polluted, claustrophobic grind.

                You move. To Portland. Of course. 😉

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. May 20, 2016 at 7:37 am

                I honestly mean no offence by this, but have you been to other cities? Portland isn’t even close to being as dense as cities like Chicago, NYC, Paris, Amsterdam, etc. and those cities seems to work fine. Portland is not a rural community, you’re going to run into other people occasionally.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. May 20, 2016 at 8:48 am

                Anecdotally, I live in arguably the most contentious neighborhood in the city on the density front (Richmond) and I still manage to be able to walk or bike to restaurants and bars on Division without dealing with long lines. At the same time, there are now people walking around on the street and my neighborhood seems a lot less creepy at night.

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              • dwk May 20, 2016 at 8:04 am

                The cities you mentioned are among the most expensive in the world…..
                The average cost of a house in Los Angeles is $570,000, so your theory that infill and density = affordability is wrong.
                Obviously your pro growth, pro development views are really making housing affordable here as costs are rising as fast as housing is being built.

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              • rachel b May 20, 2016 at 7:37 pm

                Replying to both dwk and Adam here (no reply tabs under your responses, Adam). I’ll second dwk, and point out that more than half the people I know who moved here moved from some of the places you cite because of congestion and its attendant ills–the very things we’ve been describing happening to Portland.

                I lived a half hour from NYC for four years. NYC makes a much better big city than Portland as (as I’ve said before here) it has the frame or robust skeleton for it. I liked NYC very much when we lived out there (but I knew I would never live there and we couldn’t wait to get home to Oregon).

                More recently, my friends from NYC have described exasperating, grinding day-to-day living conditions—esp. traffic, noise, cost of living. So: they moved here, to Portland, so that they could GET AWAY from all that.

                I don’t know when or why we got the tidal wave of festival lovin’, rubbing up against humanity in bliss folks. You are right that I am most adamantly not one of them. 🙂 This city’s personality used to be waaaay more introverted, but not necessarily unhappy! There were always things to do–people just went about them with less fanfare, more quietly. I don’t think folks were unfriendly–just allowed to keep to themselves and more prone to seek out a quiet corner somewhere. More idiosyncratic types.

                We were cats then–Portland was. We are dogs now. The kind that knock over hotdog stands and run off with the frankfurters trailing in a string from their mouths, and who jump on you, licking your face, then run off to chase a squirrel. 🙂 [dog people–I actually like dogs and used to train them in 4H, so please don’t assume “SHE HATES DOGS!” I don’t. How can you hate a dog? C’mon! But some of them I wouldn’t want to live with. And I definitely would not by choice surround myself entirely with that esp. high energy, stimulation-seeking exhausting type]

                Cat Portland–I was in my element. And that was all my life, up until the past several years. Couldn’t have loved it more. Believe it or not, I’ve been through several waves of change in the city over the years (I was born here and lived here all my life but for the four years in NYC and three in Eugene). I handled all that change without giving it a thought! Can you imagine that? Me!! I didn’t feel, before the past 10 or so years, so much like some fairly pushy, ravenous eaters were coming to consume Portland down to the very bone (note I said some, not all). I hear and read the same things/feelings about and in other cities. This particular article is very good, and really made me sad:

                http://www.seattletimes.com/life/lifestyle/culture-clash-on-capitol-hill/

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. May 19, 2016 at 11:00 pm

          I want more density in my backyard. In fact, there are four new apartment buildings going up very close to home on SE 50th between Division and Foster, and I welcome all of them! One will even have a grocery store so I can finally be able to walk to a local market!

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          • rachel b May 20, 2016 at 12:32 am

            “I want more density in my backyard.” Weirdo. (i say that fondly)

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        • bjcefola May 20, 2016 at 4:34 pm

          In recent years a 200 unit building went in a stone’s throw from me. I welcomed it. What had been a dead block of use only to bums and rats became home to hundreds of people who would otherwise live somewhere else, displacing hundreds of other people.

          This was already a high traffic area. It already had the worst impacts of congestion, caused by commuters with as much regard for the neighborhood as for a highway rest stop. Whatever downsides the development brought, they were far outweighed by the benefit of making that block a place, and not just something to drive by as fast as possible.

          With respect to overcrowding, I’d much rather see my favorite haunts thrive than go out of business. I want the owners and employees of those places to prosper, not suffer.

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          • rachel b May 20, 2016 at 7:41 pm

            bjcefolo–are your favorite haunts indeed thriving? Lucky you! Many of mine have closed.

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            • rachel b May 20, 2016 at 7:42 pm

              Agh! Apologies for the typo, bjcefola!

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            • BJCefola May 21, 2016 at 10:32 am

              My sense is places are doing better than they were during the recession, but not better than before the recession. I’d guess that’s because residents are spending more of their dollars on housing costs.

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              • rachel b May 21, 2016 at 1:53 pm

                Things are hopping in my neighborhood–crazy busy every day of the week. Sadly, faves are getting closed by escalating rent/sale/demolition, mainly. 🙁 And I’m not a fan of the hard wood picnic table cafeteria style of a lot of the replacements. I must be one of the few people who likes a comfy place to eat! Very much looking forward to that spartan/drab fad going away.

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    • dwk May 19, 2016 at 5:56 pm

      Sorry Ted,
      You need to be sacrificed so more people can move here and live cheap. You are supposed to like this, you know, “cheap” housing for the masses, no real reason for it except for a select few to make money but hey, Sit back and enjoy…..

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      • Ted May 19, 2016 at 6:50 pm

        I think this is tongue in cheek?

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        • dwk May 19, 2016 at 6:55 pm

          No Ted, completely serious.
          just like transportation issues, If we built new roads, we will have less traffic, right?
          Isn’t that what pretty much this website is all about?

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  • Tyler May 19, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    There is a TON of tyvek around town right now which means there is about to be a pretty big wave of units hitting the market around the same time in the next few months. There are currently 6,000 multifamily units under construction in the close-in markets and another 3,000 units throughout the region. There are an additional 11,000 units proposed in close-in markets as well right now. Hopefully the economy stays stable enough for the proposed projects to come to market and things *should* loosen up a bit.

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    • Jeff May 19, 2016 at 10:31 pm

      I hope the building owners and developers are paying full prices on permits, fees and taxes. Time to fund this city to the level of its growth and not on the backs of everyone else who’s already been here making a good place to live and paying their share.

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      • maccoinnich May 19, 2016 at 10:56 pm

        Developers are paying full prices, and then some. The City charges tens of thousands of dollars a unit in fees and charges. According to the City Budget Office both Parks and PBOT are raking in Systems Development Charges faster than they can spend them. At the end of the last year Parks had an SDC balance of $41.7 million text. Over the next 5 years they expect to receive $15 million more from developers than they currently have plans to spend. Similarly, the CBO states that PBOT has “accumulated a balance of $39.0 million in Transportation System Development Charges (TSDCs) that it has not been able to spend due to the lack of matching funds”.

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        • Jeff May 20, 2016 at 7:16 am

          This is awesome! Way to go Portland!

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        • soren May 20, 2016 at 8:58 am

          Given the negative impacts of housing speculation on communities this is not enough. IMO, additional development charges (especially on larger projects) should be levied and targeted towards creating affordable public housing and land trusts.

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          • maccoinnich May 20, 2016 at 12:50 pm

            The City is currently eyeing a 1% Construction Excise Tax, which was recently made possible by the legislature. Personally I think it’s crazy to fund subsidized housing by making new non-subsidized housing more even more expensive.

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            • soren May 20, 2016 at 1:46 pm

              imo, implementing a progressive surcharge for luxury development (perhaps starting at 150% MFI) would be a fantastic way to increase funding for affordable housing.

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            • lop May 21, 2016 at 5:52 pm

              Does that sort of tax increase the cost of housing much? Or does it mostly decrease the cost of land?

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          • JeffS May 20, 2016 at 9:35 pm

            Why?

            You’re proposing that we inflate the cost of housing so we can subsidize the people who can’t afford to live here.

            The net effect is you push the income bracket right above those people out of town. What have you accomplished?

            You’re arbitrarily picking winners and losers – using other people’s money of course.

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            • soren May 24, 2016 at 9:38 am

              “You’re arbitrarily picking winners and losers – using other people’s money of course.”

              You are describing the status quo perfectly. Developers and single family house “owners” suck on the government tit to the tune of hundreds of billions of $s.

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  • dwk May 19, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    Massive growth and development is good news here?
    Pathetic…

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    • Chris I May 19, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      You do know that you live in a city, right?

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      • Dwk May 19, 2016 at 10:00 pm

        This has to do with what?
        ARe you a moderator? ARe you a realtor?

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    • Abide May 19, 2016 at 10:39 pm

      A rapidly growing city has two choices. Either build as fast as possible to stabilize prices, or stymie development and watch prices spiral (we’ll call this the San Francisco approach). A third approach would be to build a wall and shoot anyone who tries to enter. As a transplant myself, I do not favor this approach.

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      • rachel b May 20, 2016 at 12:37 am

        Well, you can also stop advertising the h-e-double toothpicks out of it (thank you, TravelOregon). We don’t have to build a wall, but we could be adults and address (and air) real, pressing issues created by the influx of people, like sewer capacity, drought impact, clogged roads, pollution, skyrocketing prices, and perhaps discourage more from moving here.

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        • lop May 20, 2016 at 8:31 pm

          You’ve mentioned sewers before. The issue with that is just storm water, right? I’ve been under the impression that Portland has done a good job of making new development manage storm water runoff onsite, or pay the city to do so elsewhere. So why would new development cause problems with that?

          The situation seems to be much improved compared to 1990.

          https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/article/565063

          “Ratepayer investments in the program reduce CSOs to the Columbia Slough by 99% and to the Willamette River by 94%. Today, both the river and slough are much healthier for recreation and for wildlife.”

          I won’t deny that increasing density – or neighborhoods changing in any manner – is likely to bring negatives that will hurt some disproportionately. But is sewer capacity really an issue worth worrying about?

          Not sure when you were in NYC or what the local politics were like at the time, but right now there are many in NYC now who probably feel a lot like the way you do. A lot of that frustration comes out when bike projects are proposed.

          http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/39/21/dtg-clinton-avenue-bike-lane-meeting-2016-05-20-bk.html

          “I oppose this plan,” said Esther Blount, who lives on Vanderbilt Avenue, one of 21 people who spoke out against the plan at Community Board 2’s transportation committee meeting. “I feel like settlers have tried to come into the community and tell the neighborhood what to do.”

          “We have seen an invasion of people who have not invested in the community, they want to change what serves them but not serves all,” said Fort Greene resident Lucy Koteen.

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      • soren May 20, 2016 at 9:05 am

        If our speculative and highly subsidized housing market is failing our society is it not time to consider options other than the so-called free market? It’s not as if there are no effective models — just about every other western nation uses a mix of regulation and social housing to promote affordability in urban areas.

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        • Ted Timmons (Contributor) May 20, 2016 at 9:11 am

          Clearly we just need to turn capitalism to 11.

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          • Eric Leifsdad May 20, 2016 at 9:27 am

            Yes, end the socialized parking.

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            • Middle of the Road guy May 20, 2016 at 12:04 pm

              What about all that free bike parking?

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  • BJCefola May 19, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Great reporting, Michael!

    One question- how much of a lag is there between permitting and a housing unit showing up on this chart?

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  • Jeff May 19, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    Are we still giving huge tax and fee breaks to developers? Someone has got to pay for all the disruption and road damage. Time for the newcomers and developers to pay up. That IS fair.

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    • maccoinnich May 19, 2016 at 11:06 pm

      We are not. In addition to the point about SDCs I made above, I would also point out that the new buildings are bringing in lots of new property tax revenue for the city. Take Burnside26, AKA the building everyone loves to hate. In 2013 the tax bill for the low rise office building on the site was $19,456.59. Last year, after the new building was completed, that building paid $320,454.81 in property taxes.

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      • Jeff May 20, 2016 at 7:15 am

        Thanks for the great response. Sounds simply awesome. Love the good news!

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  • q May 19, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    Adam H.
    I don’t recall any development projects replacing city parks. Not sure where you claim we’re losing green space.
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    I wasn’t thinking that “green spaces” only mean city parks. I think most people think of them as any “green space”–i.e. vacant lots, gardens, etc. Unless a new development is replacing a building, parking lot, etc. it’s reducing existing green space.

    And actually, since development includes more than housing, there has been lots of green space in city parks lost in recent years. There’s a large pump station replacing several thousand sf of lawn and trees in Willamette Park. The Japanese Garden is replacing several thousand sf of natural area in Washington Park with new buildings and hardscape. The Zoo has replaced natural areas in Washington Park with parking lots and buildings. Many acres of natural area in city parks have been replaced over the last several years with community centers, parking lots, and other structures and development.

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    • maccoinnich May 19, 2016 at 11:58 pm

      Each to his or her own, I guess, but I can’t wait to see visit the new buildings that the Japanese Garden is constructing. Some images of what they’re building:

      http://hackerarchitects.com/portland-japanese-garden-expansion

      Which is mostly replacing asphalt at the top of SW Kingston Drive:

      https://goo.gl/maps/dm9urtznZJn

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      • q May 20, 2016 at 8:30 am

        Why “each to his own”? Someone asked me if I knew any examples of development in parks, and I gave that example, which adds several thousand square feet of structures in Washington Park. Some is on existing asphalt, much is not. It’s not a comment on the quality of the project,or whether it should have been built there. Nor were any of my other examples.

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        • maccoinnich May 20, 2016 at 9:32 am

          You said that we are “losing acres of green space and habitat–everything from multi-acre sites, to side gardens in neighborhoods. You can’t tell me those don’t matter to people. They do, so losing them is a negative impact”. When asked where we’re losing green space, you listed the Japanese Garden as one of the examples. I therefore assumed there was meant to be some kind of connection. If there wasn’t, perhaps you’d care to list examples of where we’re losing green space and the city is worse off for it.

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          • q May 20, 2016 at 10:31 am

            Again, someone asked “what’s not to like” about density. I said loss of green space, among other things. Someone else thought by “green spaces” I meant city parks. I told him no, I meant any undeveloped spaces. But since he asked me if I knew of any development in parks, I gave the Japanese Garden as one of a few examples I knew about. And the loss of green space was a negative aspect of that project, and a reason its opponents did not like it. That’s not taking any position on whether the overall project is positive or negative.

            And I tried (but apparently not very well) to explain that I think there’s a difference between saying density has aspects that are “not to like” and saying that density is bad. I support density.

            The example in the photo for this column is a good example. That site as I understand will have 2 units instead of 1. But a neighbor commented about it cutting off his sunlight, and it being out of character with the neighborhood. Those are things that are “not to like” or “negative”. That doesn’t mean that project may not be positive overall.

            Almost any project that increases density will have some things that are “not to like”/negative. That doesn’t mean they are not positive on the whole.

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  • Bikeninja May 20, 2016 at 9:05 am

    One thing that I find interesting is the nearly universal concept that growth will go on forever and that Portland is now Magic and impervious to the ups and downs of the economy. I have news for everyone, we are 8 years in to what is historically a 7 year up cycle and tech bust #3 is on the way. I have seen things go up and down for 5 decades now and the only certainty is that things will change once again. The froth will come off the market, developers will go bankrupt, the tourists and hip seekers will move on. The important thing is that we keep our eyes on the prize and keep moving forward with improving cycling and pedestrian infrastructure even in tough times as we will need it again soon.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. May 20, 2016 at 9:10 am

      Yes, and that is precisely why we need to be implementing taxes to pay for transport, housing, etc. now while the economy is good, rather than burdening people further when things aren’t so good (and that includes businesses!). But if you read the Oregonian, apparently Portland has enough money and doesn’t deserve more. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    • rachel b May 20, 2016 at 7:57 pm

      One wrinkle that perhaps points to continued migration here: climate change. Our own drought of the past three years didn’t seem to deter a lot of our newcomers, though–many of them were coming from even droughtier places. But there’s this pervasive idea out there (fueled by the internet and Cliff Mass/The NY Times) that we’re the only secure place to come wait out the apocalypse.

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  • dan May 20, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Adam H.
    I honestly mean no offence by this, but have you been to other cities? Portland isn’t even close to being as dense as cities like Chicago, NYC, Paris, Amsterdam, etc. and those cities seems to work fine. Portland is not a rural community, you’re going to run into other people occasionally.
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    That’s exactly why so many people chose to move to Portland – for its lower density. Now that they’re here, they want to recreate Chicago, NYC, Paris, Amsterdam, etc.

    Everyone loves the concept of Portland, just not the execution.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. May 20, 2016 at 10:01 am

      I personally would not recommend moving to any city (even one as sparse as Portland) if one does not like density. Cities by definition are constantly changing and that means possibly getting denser. However, those people also probably moved to Portland for its amenities that a suburb just can’t offer (walkability, nearby retail, etc.) Can’t have it both ways. Either live in a desirable city and deal with increasing population or move out to Beaverton and have your large lot and low density.

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      • dwk May 20, 2016 at 10:17 am

        I personally would not recommend moving to any city (even one as cheap as Portland) if one does not like EXPENSIVE HOUSING. Cities by definition are constantly changing and that means possibly getting MORE EXPENSIVE.

        fixed it for you.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. May 20, 2016 at 10:27 am

          Not really sure what point you’re trying to make here. Yes, cities get more expensive as they get more popular. That’s just basic economics. We can manage that by increasing supply, which much easier to do than reducing demand. Transportation, on the other hand, we should be reducing demand instead.

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          • dwk May 20, 2016 at 10:34 am

            You seem to be under some illusion that density = affordability.
            Please show me an example of a city that got more dense and more affordable.

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            • Ted Timmons (Contributor) May 20, 2016 at 10:39 am

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

              But it doesn’t really matter. People have a choice, and they are choosing to move into cities more than the opposite. Despite problems. You may have a strong personal bias against density, but there plenty of places you can go to escape density.

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              • dwk May 20, 2016 at 11:41 am

                Temporary falling rents?
                Get back to me in a year or so.
                There is zero evidence that long term housing costs ever go down despite all the new housing we can build.

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              • Ted Timmons (Contributor) May 20, 2016 at 11:44 am

                You asked for an example. One was given.

                Wish BP had an ignorelist.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. May 20, 2016 at 10:41 am

              By reducing transportation costs, for one. And if you don’t build, then prices increase even further. Though I never made the claim that density and affordability increase at a 1:1 rate. That will never happen as long as Portland remains desirable. But there are definitely things we can do to make sure Portland doesn’t become too unaffordable.

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              • dwk May 20, 2016 at 11:25 am

                There is no shortage of building and growth in Texas. Prices are plummeting as a result.

                “Dallas-Fort Worth home prices rose 9.5 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2015”.

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              • Ted Timmons (Contributor) May 20, 2016 at 11:36 am

                I’m confused. You asked for an example. I gave one.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. May 20, 2016 at 11:40 am

                Do we really want to be emulating Texas-style sprawl growth? Hint: the answer is “no”.

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              • dwk May 20, 2016 at 11:48 am

                The point is that even Texas sprawl does not lower housing costs at all.
                You and Ted can ignore me all you want, facts seem to get in your way…..

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. May 20, 2016 at 11:52 am

                So what is your point then? That housing price increases in desirable cities are inevitable? I think you’ll find that we agree on that point.

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              • soren May 24, 2016 at 9:42 am

                The point is that even Texas sprawl does not lower housing costs at all.

                Ummmm…

                http://www.trulia.com/home_prices/Texas/

                http://www.trulia.com/home_prices/Oregon/

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      • rachel b May 20, 2016 at 8:04 pm

        Why can’t there be smaller, livable cities? Seriously, Adam–I don’t know how to impress this point on you: many of us, like me, have lived here all our lives. We can’t be simply colored as flat-out averse to change! We’ve been through a LOT of change, a LOT of newcomers. It has NEVER felt like this before, as it has in the past several years. This is an order of change many of us do not want and see as destructive of the very character of the city, and no, we actually don’t see it as inevitable! Reread q’s remark above about what makes those lovely European cities so livable and desirable now. Preservation and honoring the good that exists is a big part of it. That respect is what I feel has gone entirely out the window with this latest surge of people. And it makes a big difference.

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        • Ted Timmons (Contributor) May 20, 2016 at 8:29 pm

          How do you decide when enough is enough? I mean, Oregon tried to say “sorry, the state is full” before you moved here. People probably were saying “ugh, these transplants are THE WORST”. Sort of like how every generation is worse than the previous.

          Why do we close the gates now?

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          • JeffS May 20, 2016 at 9:59 pm

            Why did you open the gates? Why expand the UGB? Why build more of anything?

            Rhetorical, but a valid question. We hold up growth as the ultimate good without a single thought as to how more people, more roads, more houses, more schools, more miles of sewer will actually improve anyone’s lives. Someone stands to make money off of growth, but if it’s not you, why are you encouraging it?

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            • Ted Timmons (Contributor) May 20, 2016 at 10:08 pm

              While I disagree with much of it, Austerity Ecology & the Collapse-Porn Addicts: A Defence Of Growth, Progress, Industry And Stuff makes a strong argument that we can’t stop growing, that it isn’t just a capitalist thing but also driven by inventions and optimizations, which would have to be halted to stop growth.

              what unites all these thinkers—and what I want to contest—is the idea that we have gone too far, that there are natural limits to human flourishing beyond which we can never cross. Every last one of them believes there are fundamental boundaries to economic growth.

              Here’s the “invention” argument.

              Think about it this way: if we have retreated to the optimum economic stasis-point of the Kleinian imaginary, where we are supposed to no longer be overshooting our carrying capacity, then each one of us has all the right amount of ‘stuff’—no more and no less. But now, if through the expansion of our knowledge, we develop a new technology that does not replace—or only partly replaces—a previous technology, and yet we want to put it into production because of its manifest benefits to society, then we will have to give up production of some other technology to make room for it. But hold on—we’ve already decided that we have all the stuff that we need, no more and no less. That means that we cannot give up that old technology. Thus we either invent nothing new (or at least only those new technologies that perfectly replace old technologies without any overall expansion of production), or we have to grow. Therefore, the steady-state economy must by definition refuse most technological advance, and even most new knowledge as well. The steady-state economy is a steady-technology economy, a steady-science economy. It is a static society, the very definition of conservatism.

              And the gates of Portland were opened in 1850 or so. Again, when do we close the gate?

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. May 21, 2016 at 3:01 pm

          I mean do you honestly not see anything wrong with telling me (a recent newcomer) that I’m destroying “your” city? How that could be insulting and make me think that all long-time residents are just resistant to change and newcomers? Instead of just complaining and opposing all change that you happen not to like, how about trying to work with us? You’re creating the divide, not us.

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          • dan May 21, 2016 at 3:52 pm

            But that’s the exact message you’re sending to those that don’t agree with your new vision of Portland; unless you add density, Portland will be ruined.

            I know this wasn’t directed to me, and I don’t claim Portland as “my” city, but I would say you, and many others, seem hell bent on changing Portland into a different place- a mirror of NYC or Vancouver.

            Portland’s draw is that it isn’t either of those places, and until now, never wanted to be.

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            • Ted Timmons (Contributor) May 21, 2016 at 4:09 pm

              dan

              I know this wasn’t directed to me, and I don’t claim Portland as “my” city, but I would say you, and many others, seem hell bent on changing Portland into a different place- a mirror of NYC or Vancouver.

              Portland’s draw is that it isn’t either of those places, and until now, never wanted to be.

              Dan: How is this new? Tom McCall said it 50 years ago.

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  • Ted Timmons (Contributor) May 20, 2016 at 9:33 am

    Good thing our population isn’t going down by a dozen people per year, or we’d be hearing doom and gloom about how the city is going to be completely empty soon.

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  • Bikeninja May 20, 2016 at 10:37 am

    I lived in Salem for 25 years and for being a place that is only 45 miles away it is exactly the opposite of the Portland described in the above comments. Free flowing traffic ( except for 10 min rush hour), cheap housing, empty restaurants, open spaces and little urban construction of tall buildings next door. But all that comes with a price, as young people move away when they graduate from High School, there is little or no nightlife or music and the pace of change moves at a glacial pace. So be carefull what you wish for.

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    • rachel b May 20, 2016 at 8:05 pm

      Give it a couple years, Bikeninja. Or a year.

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  • q May 20, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Adam H.
    Are people really mourning the loss of abandoned lots? I hear a lot of concerns from neighbors about various things regarding density but this is not one of them. No one seemed to oppose the demolition of the 1970’s TV repair store at 50th and Clinton, either. It seems people are not universally opposed to demos, but only to things they personally think are nice, which is not a good way to plan a city IMO.
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    Has anyone said people are mourning the loss of abandoned lots? Or the demolition of buildings like that? I haven’t heard of any, either.

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    • Ted Timmons (Contributor) May 20, 2016 at 11:11 am

      q
      Has anyone said people are mourning the loss of abandoned lots? Or the demolition of buildings like that? I haven’t heard of any, either

      q
      What’s not to like? Loss of open space, greenspace, trees, nature, views, light, privacy…

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. May 20, 2016 at 11:16 am

      q
      I wasn’t thinking that “green spaces” only mean city parks. I think most people think of them as any “green space”–i.e. vacant lots, gardens, etc. Unless a new development is replacing a building, parking lot, etc. it’s reducing existing green space.

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      • q May 20, 2016 at 1:25 pm

        I guess we have differing views. I don’t think of “vacant lots” and “abandoned lots” as being interchangeable. To me, “abandoned lot” means neglected property, with weeds, garbage, etc. ‘Vacant lot” to me means a lot that isn’t yet developed with buildings. Certainly some vacant lots are also “abandoned” but most are not. They include lots in neighborhoods that have a lawn or garden or some trees on them–and those are not “abandoned”. Obviously, people are much less likely to dislike the loss of an abandoned lot as they are the loss of a vacant lot that is not abandoned or neglected.

        And again, none of this is an argument against density. Being in favor of density and acknowledging that there are things people don’t like about it are not contradictory. In fact, if people want more density here, it’s important to acknowledge and understand the things people don’t like about it.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. May 20, 2016 at 1:42 pm

          Perhaps we’re just arguing semantics here, but a lot with a garden is not “vacant” as the garden is the thing taking up the lot. And I agree that open space is important to a city. I love hanging out at Pioneer Courthouse Square or the park near my house. But the decrepit warehouse from the 70’s, abandoned corrugated steel building with no windows, or the gravel lot surrounded by barbed wire fence? (All things in my neighborhood, btw). Tear them out and build something more useful there. As long as it contributes positively to the neighborhood instead of just taking up unused space.

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    • Middle of the Road guy May 20, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      There was an article on bikeportland a few years back about an empty lot on Mississippi that was sold and getting turned into apartments…just north of Shaver. Hipsters everywhere were lamenting the potential loss of the open space and briefly talked about trying to prevent the land owner from selling their property.

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      • Ted Timmons (Contributor) May 20, 2016 at 7:00 pm

        Middle of the Road guy

        There was an article on bikeportland a few years back about an empty lot on Mississippi that was sold and getting turned into apartments…just north of Shaver. Hipsters everywhere were lamenting the potential loss of the open space and briefly talked about trying to prevent the land owner from selling their property.

        “hipsters”, eh.

        I assume this is the article you’re talking about: “Bike-oriented development continues on N. Williams”

        I don’t see any comments that fit either of your assertions, which I bolded in the quote above.

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  • paul g May 20, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    Adam H.
    Do we really want to be emulating Texas-style sprawl growth? Hint: the answer is “no”.
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    Adam, you constantly answer your own questions. The answer for you may be no. The answer for me may be no. But just to remind you, some of us have lived here 10, 15, 25 years or longer.

    This discussion pops up again and again.

    We did not “move to” the Portland that exists as it does now, as I suspect you did. We have been part of the fabric of this city for a very long time.

    We are a large reason that Portland IS the way it is now. We fought those battles against the Mt Hood Freeway, we elected those officials, we supported these neighborhoods. We elected those officials that put in place the UGB.

    We realize that Portland is changing. But to dismiss our attitudes as anti-growth or anti-density from the perspective of what is, frankly, a newcomer with often (not always) very weak ties to the community can be a bit off putting to those of us who have long term financial and social investments in the city.

    We’re not completely averse to change. I think what rankles some is the disorganized and pell mell rate of change.

    I don’t oppose apartment blocks, but yes, I have no interest in having a four story apartment building appear right behind my single family home. (I would not, btw, oppose a one-story garden apartment type structure). We should plan where we put apartments, on streets well-served by transit, with walkable retail, and if possible not immediately adjacent to and certainly not in the middle of single family homes.

    Zoning allows, but I’d fight tooth and nail, an attempt to split the lots immediately to my east and west and put up three story skinnies like shown in the picture. Why? Because it seriously impacts my quality of life and the $300,000 that I have invested in real estate. Your perspective on these matters changes when your life savings sits in your home and in a neighborhood.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. May 20, 2016 at 12:51 pm

      We realize that Portland is changing. But to dismiss our attitudes as anti-growth or anti-density from the perspective of what is, frankly, a newcomer with often (not always) very weak ties to the community can be a bit off putting to those of us who have long term financial and social investments in the city.

      The idea that I don’t have “long term financial and social investments in the city” just because I happen to be however you define a “newcomer” is, frankly, disgusting. And to suggest I have “very weak ties to the community” is insulting. If I didn’t care about the community I live in, then why would I be posting here? I hear this attitude a lot, that people who have lived in a neighborhood for longer, somehow know what’s best for the neighborhood and that they must protect the character of “their” community. And that my opinions don’t matter because I’ve only been living in the neighborhood for (insert whatever number you want here, it honestly doesn’t matter). I am sick of this toxic attitude. Sometimes people with differing values than yours move into a neighborhood, and you’re going to have to learn to accept that. The fact that I haven’t been here as long as you does not invalidate my opinions and needs, nor is it a reason to silence me. I too want what’s best for Portland and the neighborhood, and keeping people out that don’t share your values is not what we should want.

      You make a lot of assumptions about me that are unfair and incorrect. For the record, I happen to live in a three-story, 90 year old house that would probably “seriously impact your quality of life” but hey, my house was here first so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I’m also involved in my Neighborhood Association, so clearly I do not have “weak ties to my community”. I moved here because I want to be here long-term, not to be some “outsider” ruining your quality of life. I just would like to be able to walk to a grocery store. But hey, keep on painting that picture of “newcomers are ruining Portland” or whatever. 🙂

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      • dwk May 20, 2016 at 1:16 pm

        He never said newcomers are ruining Portland…..
        You have the entitled toxic attitude.

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      • rachel b May 20, 2016 at 8:17 pm

        But…you can walk to 4 grocery stores in Richmond! ??? Adam–you have not been averse to making gross assumptions about longtime residents here (in my case, that I am a yokel who has never seen a big ol’ city, for example). 😉 I don’t take offense. I don’t think paul g meant any, either. I’ll point out again, as he did, that we are all deeply acquainted with change, those of us who’ve lived here awhile. Newcomers in the past simply seemed more respectful of what existed and more interested in quietly working themselves into the fabric of the city. It feels (and yes, this is subjective) like there is a much more aggressive tone to many of the newcomers of today, who scoff at concerns of longtime residents (or anyone who shares those values), frequently cry “NIMBY!” and generally don’t care about preserving the character of Portland and are content to see it become something entirely the opposite.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. May 21, 2016 at 2:55 pm

          I live at the edge of Richmond so the closest grocery store is a half-hour walk. It’s a short bike ride but sometimes I don’t feel like rolling out the bike.

          And let’s not forget that the majority of zoning decisions in our neighborhoods were made in the 1980’s comprehensive plan but are just coming to fruitition today because of increasing demand. So don’t blame me when the city decides to act upon decisions that were made under your watch. 😉

          And “retaining neighborhood character” historically referred to keeping certain neighborhoods upper-class white-only so I’d caution you to using that term. Nowadays it means whatever you want it to mean so it’s not really a good argument to make.

          Don’t blame me for all the change happening here. As far as newcomers, I’ve intergrated in, as you say. I bought an old house, don’t even own a car to add to traffic concerns, and bike and walk everywhere. As far as having an impact, mine is fairly low compared to others. I’m just as concerned as other residents about increasing motor traffic on the street I live on which is increasingly getting out of control. I like seeing people walking and cycling on the street in front of my house that mostly functions as a car sewer. Despite my complaints, I actually like my neighborhood. Perhaps the only difference is that it doesn’t seem to bother me when houses on my street get demolished.

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      • dan May 20, 2016 at 10:10 pm

        You want what’s best for Portland? By who’s standard? You indignantly discount anyone who doesn’t agree with your ‘manifest destiny’ vision of the new Portland. “Best” is very subjective. Your best is no more valid than anyone else’s; that should be very obvious to you, just reading through this thread.

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        • JeffS May 20, 2016 at 10:21 pm

          I think you’re wasting your time. I could count on a balled up fist how many times I’ve agreed with the prolific commenters here.

          But hey, I’m a white male homeowner who does like bike lanes… basically evil incarnate around these parts.

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    • soren May 20, 2016 at 1:41 pm

      We did not “move to”…
      We are a large reason…
      We realize that Portland…
      We’re not completely averse…

      You do not speak for me in the least.

      those of us who have long term financial and social investments

      $300,000 that I have invested in real estate

      Kudos for being honest about your motivations for supporting land use policies that have and are continuing to destroy housing affordability and socioeconomic diversity in PDX!

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  • dan May 20, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    rachel b
    Replying to both dwk and Adam here (no reply tabs under your responses, Adam). I’ll second dwk, and point out that more than half the people I know who moved here moved from some of the places you cite because of congestion and its attendant ills–the very things we’ve been describing happening to Portland.
    I lived a half hour from NYC for four years. NYC makes a much better big city than Portland as (as I’ve said before here) it has the frame or robust skeleton for it. I liked NYC very much when we lived out there (but I knew I would never live there and we couldn’t wait to get home to Oregon).
    More recently, my friends from NYC have described exasperating, grinding day-to-day living conditions—esp. traffic, noise, cost of living. So: they moved here, to Portland, so that they could GET AWAY from all that.
    I don’t know when or why we got the tidal wave of festival lovin’, rubbing up against humanity in bliss folks. You are right that I am most adamantly not one of them. 🙂 This city’s personality used to be waaaay more introverted, but not necessarily unhappy! There were always things to do–people just went about them with less fanfare, more quietly. I don’t think folks were unfriendly–just allowed to keep to themselves and more prone to seek out a quiet corner somewhere. More idiosyncratic types.
    We were cats then–Portland was. We are dogs now. The kind that knock over hotdog stands and run off with the frankfurters trailing in a string from their mouths, and who jump on you, licking your face, then run off to chase a squirrel. 🙂 [dog people–I actually like dogs and used to train them in 4H, so please don’t assume “SHE HATES DOGS!” I don’t. How can you hate a dog? C’mon! But some of them I wouldn’t want to live with. And I definitely would not by choice surround myself entirely with that esp. high energy, stimulation-seeking exhausting type]
    Cat Portland–I was in my element. And that was all my life, up until the past several years. Couldn’t have loved it more. Believe it or not, I’ve been through several waves of change in the city over the years (I was born here and lived here all my life but for the four years in NYC and three in Eugene). I handled all that change without giving it a thought! Can you imagine that? Me!! I didn’t feel, before the past 10 or so years, so much like some fairly pushy, ravenous eaters were coming to consume Portland down to the very bone (note I said some, not all). I hear and read the same things/feelings about and in other cities. This particular article is very good, and really made me sad:
    http://www.seattletimes.com/life/lifestyle/culture-clash-on-capitol-hill/
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    Awesome. Pure poetry. Thanks.

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    • rachel b May 21, 2016 at 2:01 pm

      How nice of you! Thanks, dan. CAT PORTLAND!!! 🙂

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  • q May 21, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Ted Timmons (Contributor)
    interestingly, if “greenspace” is just “empty space”, Portland is overprovisioned on roads. Having a small grid means less space for non-roads.
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    But I don’t think anyone thinks “greenspace” and “empty space” mean the same thing.

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  • q May 21, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    rachel b
    “I agree dense European cities have great character. Part of what people love most about the areas most beloved for their character is that they’ve preserved so much of the past, and there are mazes of regulations to prevent change in them.”
    Hear, hear, q! Well said.
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    European cities often–rightfully–come up as pro-density examples. They show you can achieve high density that’s very livable, and all without very tall buildings.

    But they also are good examples of reasons to limit density, at least in parts of cities. I’d guess just about every European town’s historical centers have restrictions on increasing density through replacing or substantially altering old buildings, replacing open spaces with buildings, etc.–because they realize there can be negative impacts to increasing density.

    That doesn’t mean Portland isn’t at the point it should be restricting density the way those areas do. I’d say the opposite, because we are so much less dense. But it also means people need to acknowledge that more density isn’t always better, and change has negative as well as positive implications.

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  • eddie May 21, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    I’ve been living in Portland on and off since 1992, don’t know if that makes me “old school” but I do recall the old days.

    But now as always I bike everywhere I go, take hikes in Forest Park, drink beers with friends watching the sunset on the bluffs, watch movies at the Laurelhurst for four bucks, get coffee all over town, go to People’s farmers market, listen to KBOO, read books at Powell’s on rainy days… that’s my Portland and it hasn’t changed and it’s not being threatened, really.

    I just bike past the cars and ignore the lines at restaurants which I don’t bother frequenting anyway. I ignore the “Portlandia” tourists & hope someone’s doing something to control the rents and take care of all the folks being forced to live on the streets.

    Having said that, I doubt I’d move here if I was just out of college, too damn expensive. But let’s hope that changes with time. And density is something we can’t do anything about, so I say, just focus on the positive…

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  • rachel b May 22, 2016 at 1:01 am

    Hi lop–I don’t own a car, my feet & bike & mass transit are my transportation, I gleefully support bike infrastructure and want cars to die, converted our house to a duplex, have no children and haven’t flown for 16 years. Not sure where you see intransigent “Esther” who hates bike projects in that. If you and Adam were to join hands and draw a picture of me, no doubt I’d be in a straw hat with a pitchfork, totin’ a gun and drivin’ muh Canyonero. 🙂 Given my red hair, just picture Yosemite Sam.

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    • rachel b May 22, 2016 at 1:02 am

      Hmmm….I tried to post this up yonder but it didn’t take. ??? Please forgive the non sequitur!

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    • lop May 25, 2016 at 11:38 pm

      I meant no offense. The parallel I saw was the frustration you both seem to feel with a changing city that seems to be serving perceived newcomers at your expense. Even if the change Esther opposes, reducing the degree to which autos are prioritized, is something you would welcome with open arms on 26th. I wonder how often you’ve ever been on the other side, as the newcomer being accommodated to an extent that frustrates existing residents.

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  • Julie Davis May 22, 2016 at 10:23 am

    Some of this population growth is children, I imagine.

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    • q May 22, 2016 at 12:31 pm

      That’s one thing people need to keep in mind–that some of the need for new housing is to allow people who’ve grown up here to be able to stay. There’s a reason for new housing besides enriching evil developers and housing unwanted newcomers.

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    • rachel b May 22, 2016 at 7:19 pm

      Hi Julie–I read this recently (from 6 days ago)–thought it might interest you:

      http://portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/307001-183449-birth-rate-declines-as-population-rises

      “In the latest report from demographers at Portland State University, Oregon saw its total population move over the 4 million mark for the first time last year. Net in-migration, not new babies, accounted for 80 percent of the 51,135-person increase.”

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  • Eliza May 23, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Adam H – Given your inability to see other’s points of views, you seem to be a poor choice to be on the Richmond Neighborhood Association board. It would be nice if both sides of the issue could work towards compromise. Do you fellow RNA board memebers know how stuanch you are in your views? No wonder Richmond (in your words) is so “contentious”. How unfortunate that there is such a strong “us” vs “them” attitude.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. May 23, 2016 at 6:44 pm

      I disagree that I have an “inability to see other’s point’s of views”. I see them, I just disagree that those views are good for the neighborhood. Given our current housing crisis, if we “preserved neighborhood character” by restricting development, it would cause prices to skyrocket further. I hear many people who are worried about housing affordability, but who are also wanting to retain their neighborhood as single-family or low-rise apartments. This is a conflicting viewpoint: we can’t have both.

      What I am doing is listening to experts on various issues, coming to an educated conclusion, then fighting for that position. To you, this may come off as dismissive, but instead I am just holding a point of view that you don’t agree with. What I am not willing to do is say that retaining our single-family neighborhoods is good for Portland’s future, whether or not people in the neighborhood think otherwise. As a board member, I would be tasked with doing what I beleive to be right for everyone who lives in the neighborhood, not just the people who show up to meetings to protest the next new apartment building. Sometimes that means making unpopular decisions.

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      • dwk May 24, 2016 at 6:20 am

        “What I am not willing to do is say that retaining our single-family neighborhoods is good for Portland’s future, whether or not people in the neighborhood think otherwise. ”

        A good little ***word deleted by moderator***

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        • soren May 24, 2016 at 9:33 am

          A good little fascist……

          adam may express his opinions forcefully but i have never once seen him demean or insult people in this manner. casual use of fascism also demeans its genuine victims.

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  • Eliza May 23, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    Adam – Is the RNA a two party system? Because you certainly make it sound that way. Your reply is case in point. Isn’t it your role to represent “everybody” in the neighborhood, whether you agree with them or not? Isn’t it your role to help bridge divides to build a more cohesive community and neighborhood vs being divisive and alienating? Because you certainly seem to be taking the road of the latter.

    For the record, I am not anti-density. (As you wrongly assummed). I am however, anti – “contentious neighborhood”, and yes I can sympathize with some of my friends, neighbors and community who feel their world has been turned upside down by rampant development. Pehaps your are too new to the area to remember pre-contentious Richmond, but it had a great community feel.

    You have come across in this thread as being arrogant, divisive and (dare I say it) immature. (And you wonder why people have expressed resentment!) You would be wise to look a little deeper into this issue and get to know and listen to some of folks in this neighborhood who don’t share your point of view, vs ramrodding your own agenda. Compromise is good thing.

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  • soren May 24, 2016 at 9:23 am

    You have come across in this thread as being arrogant, divisive and (dare I say it) immature. (And you wonder why people have expressed resentment!) You would be wise to look a little deeper into this issue and get to know and listen to some of folks in this neighborhood who don’t share your point of view, vs ramrodding your own agenda.

    condescending and passive aggressive pot calling kettle black.

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  • Eliza May 24, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Was the pot condescending? Yep. Passive aggressive? Hmmm… I think more overtly aggressive. That still doesn’t excuse the kettle from lacking the insight and the diplomacy needed to be an effective steward of our neighborhood.

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  • Bike Guy May 26, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    rachel b
    Replying to both dwk and Adam here (no reply tabs under your responses, Adam). I’ll second dwk, and point out that more than half the people I know who moved here moved from some of the places you cite because of congestion and its attendant ills–the very things we’ve been describing happening to Portland.
    I lived a half hour from NYC for four years. NYC makes a much better big city than Portland as (as I’ve said before here) it has the frame or robust skeleton for it. I liked NYC very much when we lived out there (but I knew I would never live there and we couldn’t wait to get home to Oregon).
    More recently, my friends from NYC have described exasperating, grinding day-to-day living conditions—esp. traffic, noise, cost of living. So: they moved here, to Portland, so that they could GET AWAY from all that.
    I don’t know when or why we got the tidal wave of festival lovin’, rubbing up against humanity in bliss folks. You are right that I am most adamantly not one of them. 🙂 This city’s personality used to be waaaay more introverted, but not necessarily unhappy! There were always things to do–people just went about them with less fanfare, more quietly. I don’t think folks were unfriendly–just allowed to keep to themselves and more prone to seek out a quiet corner somewhere. More idiosyncratic types.
    We were cats then–Portland was. We are dogs now. The kind that knock over hotdog stands and run off with the frankfurters trailing in a string from their mouths, and who jump on you, licking your face, then run off to chase a squirrel. 🙂 [dog people–I actually like dogs and used to train them in 4H, so please don’t assume “SHE HATES DOGS!” I don’t. How can you hate a dog? C’mon! But some of them I wouldn’t want to live with. And I definitely would not by choice surround myself entirely with that esp. high energy, stimulation-seeking exhausting type]
    Cat Portland–I was in my element. And that was all my life, up until the past several years. Couldn’t have loved it more. Believe it or not, I’ve been through several waves of change in the city over the years (I was born here and lived here all my life but for the four years in NYC and three in Eugene). I handled all that change without giving it a thought! Can you imagine that? Me!! I didn’t feel, before the past 10 or so years, so much like some fairly pushy, ravenous eaters were coming to consume Portland down to the very bone (note I said some, not all). I hear and read the same things/feelings about and in other cities. This particular article is very good, and really made me sad:
    http://www.seattletimes.com/life/lifestyle/culture-clash-on-capitol-hill/
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    This is great. Can I quietly move with all of the cat people to some new town that the mouth-breathing canine packs haven’t yet destroyed and don’t know about? I’m thinking someplace coastal or down-Valley. Srsly. Let’s do this people.

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