housing

Oregon’s proposal to lift fourplex bans would be great for biking

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on December 18th, 2018 at 8:57 am

Protected bike lanes aren’t the only reason so many people bike in Amsterdam.
(Photo: M. Andersen)

An earlier version of this post was published by the Sightline Institute. It’s by former BikePortland news editor Michael Andersen.

The fight to strike down apartment bans has arrived in Oregon’s legislature.

Would re-legalizing fourplexes everywhere be good for bicycle transportation? It very much would be.

On Friday, Willamette Week broke some news: Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek has been working on a bill that’d require all but the smallest Oregon cities in urban areas to re-legalize up to four homes per lot—a lower-cost housing option that was quite common in the early 20th century but was gradually banned from most parts of most cities.

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Planning Commission finds ‘missing middle,’ votes for more housing citywide

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on September 17th, 2018 at 1:04 pm

A 1905 duplex on SE 33rd Avenue in Portland. Like many other cities, Portland made these illegal on most lots in the mid 20th century. Photo by Portland for Everyone.

“What do the neighbors have to be afraid of? It’s buildings, people or cars.”
— Chris Smith, Planning Commissioner

An earlier version of this post was published by the Sightline Institute. It’s by BikePortland’s former news editor, Michael Andersen, who started covering the need for “missing middle” housing — especially in Portland’s most bikeable neighborhoods — for us in 2015. We last covered this issue in May, just before the crucial public hearings described here.

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The most provocative housing policy event of this week in the Pacific Northwest started happening four months ago.
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Speak up or sprawl out: “Missing middle” housing proposal hits the planning commission tonight

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on May 8th, 2018 at 10:28 am

The “safety in numbers” phenomenon works in housing too.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

This is a guest post by Michael Andersen, BikePortland’s news editor from 2013 to 2016. He’s a writer for 1000 Friends of Oregon’s pro-housing campaign Portland for Everyone.

There are two ways for more Portlanders to live in bikeable neighborhoods.

One way is to add good bike infrastructure to neighborhoods without it. The other way is to let more people live in neighborhoods that have it already. Portland should be doing both.[Read more…]

The future of Portland housing depends on biking, and vice versa

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on August 3rd, 2017 at 3:49 pm

Bikeways of Montreal-93.jpg

The bikeways in Montreal inspire people to give cycling a try; but it’s their proximity to ample and affordable residential housing that seals the deal.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

When BikePortland reported last week that the city may slash its goal for increasing biking, the eighth paragraph contained a twist.

The obstacle to advancing our city to 25 percent of trips by bike by 2030 wasn’t actually the biking, city staff said. It was real estate.
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Auto parking or affordable housing? Portland Mayor says debate is “over”

Avatar by on May 9th, 2017 at 12:25 pm

Mayor Wheeler speaking at the Rose City Park Neighborhood Association meeting last week.
(Photo from video. Watch it below)

This article was written by Tony Jordan, founder of Portlanders for Parking Reform. It originally appeared on his website on May 4th and has been re-published here with his permission.

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Convenient parking is a problem in parts of Portland, Mayor Ted Wheeler conceded last week. But it’s a smaller problem than housing — and Wheeler says that when the two come in conflict, housing must be the priority.

The mayor’s words came at a Rose City Park Neighborhood meeting April 25th. Wheeler was asked by RCPNA board member Deborah Field what his plan was to “require developers to put in ample parking spaces” with new housing projects.

The mayor’s response was definitive:

“But I want to put a marker down. The debate: Parking vs. Housing? It’s really over. That piece of the conversation is over. When younger families or younger people say they want to locate here, the first thing they’re saying isn’t ‘Boy I wish I had another parking space, or had access to a parking space.” What they’re saying is, “I can’t afford to live in this city.” And, so, the city, meaning the debate that happened over the last three years actually made a choice, and the choice was affordability and housing over access to parking. I just want you to be aware that that is a real dynamic and is a real choice and it was made with full community involvement.”

The mayor told the crowd that, “parking adds significantly to the cost of affordable housing.”[Read more…]

PBOT wants your input on apartment bike parking

Avatar by on February 1st, 2017 at 10:49 am

bike parking at Central Eastside Lofts-4

New city code could require developers to build better bike parking.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Do you live in an apartment? If so, where and how do you park your bike?

The Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is refining and updating the portion of our city code that regulates bicycle parking in residential buildings and they want your input. Because this is Portland, they’ve also assembled a stakeholder advisory committee that’s grappling with code revisions that could dictate a new number of new policies such as: whether or not a fee should be charged for bike parking rooms; how high bike racks should be installed; what type of security and signage should be used in bike rooms; the quality of access routes to bike rooms, and more.
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Biking and walking advocates testify at inclusionary housing hearing

Avatar by on December 14th, 2016 at 7:26 am

(Photos: City of Portland)

The first hearing for the City of Portland’s Inclusionary Housing Zoning Code Project took place at city council today and biking and walking advocates showed up to support the proposal and urge council to pass it.

As we’ve reported for years now, there’s a clear intersection between affordable housing policy and cycling: The most bike-friendly neighborhoods are also the ones where we’ve seen tremendous market pressure exerted — and many of them are now unaffordable to many low and even middle-income Portlanders. And according to the National Household Travel Survey, low-income households drive much less than those with high-incomes.

One way to make neighborhoods more affordable is to require developers to build affordable housing units in their new buildings. Otherwise they’ll sell the units at whatever price the market can bear — and that happens to be a lot of money in Portland’s red-hot housing market. The result is a sort of forced migration of people with lower incomes into neighborhoods further away from the city center.
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Bike and Build team rolls through Portland, changing lives all around

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on July 29th, 2016 at 11:44 am

2016 Bike and Build riders Carmen Kuan and Kelsey Oesmann with local Habitat for Humanity worker Jake Antles at their work site in Cully Thursday.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

For the 15th year in a row, a crew of young adults on bikes pulled into Portland Wednesday almost ready to finish a cross-country bike trip designed to change the way they see their country.

Thursday’s time painting part of a new Habitat for Humanity house in the Cully neighborhood was one of 10 “build days” for the 24-person crew affiliated with the national organization Bike and Build. Part charity bike tour and part Americorps, Bike and Build’s mission is to “benefit affordable housing and empower young adults for a lifetime of service and civic engagement.”

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

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

Fall leaves on SE Ankeny-7

An illegal neighborhood in southeast Portland.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

separate signal phases bidirectional 2nd seattle

Seattle’s recent housing breakthrough may have lessons for keeping bikeable parts of Portland affordable.
(Photo: Adam Coppola)

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

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

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

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

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