Portland-based nonprofit sees potential in pedal-powered, housing ‘POD’

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on January 27th, 2021 at 11:45 am

Current concept for the Portland Opportunity Dwelling ™.
(Graphic: POD the People, based on input from James Fritz)

What if there was a form of shelter that was much less expensive than housing and more private, comfortable and mobile than living on the street?[Read more…]

It’s unanimous: Oregon says no to car parking minimums

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on December 14th, 2020 at 1:41 pm

In many Oregon cities, this is how a fourplex would be legally required to look—1.5 off-street parking spaces per home—without the new state rules. (Notice that these driveways eliminated four or five curbside parking spaces.) Photo: Mark McClure, used with permission.

[Read more…]

Portland passes historic housing and parking reform policy

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on August 12th, 2020 at 11:50 am

A fourplex in Montreal, often considered the most bike-friendly city in North America.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

How we build housing in our cities is directly linked to whether or not people will bike in them. As we’ve been saying around here for years, proximity is key to a bike-friendly future and housing policy and biking are closely intertwined.

That’s why the package of policies passed by Portland City Council this morning are so monumental.

By a vote of 3-1, Portland approved the Residential Infill Project after five grueling years of process. The Sightline Institute called it, “The most pro-housing reform to low-density zones in US history.” [Read more…]

Portlanders show up for more housing as Residential Infill Project heads to council

Catie Gould (Contributor) by on January 13th, 2020 at 9:56 am

Standing room only for housing reform. Yup.
(Photo: Henry Kraemer)

When more people live closer to each other and to destinations, they will ride bikes more. That’s one reason housing and land-use is crucial if we want to reach our bicycling goals. [Read more…]

How car parking makes new housing much more expensive

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on October 2nd, 2019 at 11:44 am

Townhomes at NE Couch and 53rd Avenue, currently selling for $729,000 each. But if parking isn’t needed, the most profitable project would be mixed-income condo buildings with average prices near $280,000.
(Photo: Michael Andersen/Sightline)

We’ve been on the car-housing beat for many years now, so when housing expert and Sightline reporter Michael Andersen says he’s never seen a more clear-cut example of how Portland can choose housing for people or housing for cars, I think it’s worth your attention.

Andersen just published a story about a policy in front of Portland City Council today that would reform “mid-density zones”. Among the details of the Bureau of Planning & Sustainability’s Better Homes By Design proposal is one that Andersen finds “almost shocking its clarity.”

I’ll let Andersen explain (emphasis mine):[Read more…]

Did segregation cause your traffic jam?

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on August 22nd, 2019 at 2:34 pm

Segregation isn’t just for suburbia. White householders in greater Portland are marked in blue, Asian-American householders in red, black householders in green, Hispanic or Latino householders in orange. Source: 2010 Census via University of Virginia. (Click for zoomable nationwide map.)

Crossposted from Sightline Institute. Senior researcher Michael Andersen is a former news editor at BikePortland.

Many North American cities are oddly un-city-like compared to their peers in Asia, Europe, Africa and even South America. Our cities are weirdly spread out and the damage to our environment and economy is colossal.

Why did this happen?

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Oregon legislature finds ‘missing middle’, passes ban on single-family zoning

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on July 1st, 2019 at 3:38 pm

Built in 1927, this duplex has been illegal has been prohibited in our zoning code for almost a century. HB 2001 changes that.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

When it comes to boosting bicycle mode share, where we build our homes is more important than how we build our streets. Density of residential dwellings matters because the viability of bicycle use increases as people live closer to their jobs, schools, friends, and other destinations.

That’s why we’ve talked up the connection between cycling and land-use planning and zoning on this site for well over a decade.

Now we’re very happy to share that over the weekend the Oregon Legislature passed a bill that bans single-family zoning. This is a boon for the potential of efficient transportation modes like cycling, and transit.

Here’s the lowdown from Michael Andersen at Sightline:

If signed by Gov. Kate Brown in the next month, House Bill 2001 will strike down local bans on duplexes for every low-density residential lot in all cities with more than 10,000 residents and all urban lots in the Portland metro area.
[Read more…]

‘Missing middle’ housing bill needs a push in Salem

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on June 10th, 2019 at 8:46 am

Plenty of “middle housing” in Montreal is one reason why it’s such a great city for biking.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

One of the most important bills we’ve been tracking this legislative session is hanging in the balance.

House Bill 2001 would allow “missing middle” housing (a.k.a. multi-family dwellings) in places currently zoned for only single-family housing. It would have a vast impact on cycling because it would enable more people to live in closer proximity to jobs and other destinations — making a trip by bike more feasible.

According to advocates who support the bill, the time is now to press legislators to move the bill forward. Below is a message from southeast Portland resident Doug Klotz: [Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

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.


The most provocative housing policy event of this week in the Pacific Northwest started happening four months ago.
[Read more…]