Advocate! Tell the city how to change residential infill rules

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on December 18th, 2015 at 1:57 pm

2314-16 se salmon duplex built 1927

Built in 1927, illegal to build today.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Whether you hate demolitions, love garages, yearn to live in a duplex or just think the rent is too damn high, now’s your chance to let the city know.

All this year, the Real Estate Beat has been writing about the ways that Portland could increase the supply of homes in its bikeable areas without totally transforming its understandably beloved residential neighborhoods.

In March, we shared local microdeveloper Eli Spevak’s prescription for affordable infill, which drew praise from neighborhood association organizers. In April, we explored one of those ideas: charging lower development fees for smaller homes. In June, we looked at 11 medium-density buildings built before Portland’s 1959 zoning reform and asked why they should be illegal.

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Opinion: Coming to terms with a changing Portland

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on September 23rd, 2015 at 5:05 pm


My daughter and I at the 2006 Bunny on a Bike ride. I’m wearing the first-ever BikePortland t-shirt designed by local artist — and soon to be former Portlander — Carye Bye.

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The Oregonian blames ‘hipster hovels,’ not massive housing shortage, for rising rents

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on September 22nd, 2015 at 5:49 pm

housing and population change

(Data: Census Bureau, Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Charts: BikePortland.)

In a big new story promoted using its new “watchdog” label, The Oregonian has determined that a wave of new apartments that account for 3 percent of Portland’s housing supply are the best way to start talking about a trend that is rapidly pushing Portland homes out of middle-class reach.

From 2006 to 2014, Census figures show, Multnomah County’s population grew 79 percent faster than its housing supply. The surge of apartments that began to open in 2012 have barely made a dent in the deep shortage that developed during the Great Recession, when housing construction nearly stopped but 10,000 people kept pouring into Multnomah County each year.

In 1,600 well-crafted words about Portland’s housing problems, the newspaper doesn’t find room to mention these facts.

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Years of advocacy leads to bike lockers at affordable housing development

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on September 18th, 2015 at 11:19 am


Velia Mendoza was one of the first users of the new lockers at Hacienda CDC. They were donated by the City of Portland but had sat empty since last year while residents and managers worked out an agreement for how to use them.
(Photo: Jaclyn Hoy for CCC)

After three years of meetings and negotiations, the group of Northeast Portland families who might be the city’s most dogged biking advocacy group got their goal Thursday: somewhere to park their families’ bikes.

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Why are these 11 buildings illegal in most of Portland?

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on June 19th, 2015 at 10:53 am

2314-16 se salmon duplex built 1927

2314 and 2316 SE Salmon: built in 1927, illegal to build today. A ride this week took a closer look at “The Missing Middle.”
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Most of Portland’s conversation about ways to create enough new homes to defuse our deep and ongoing housing shortage has focused on the four-story apartment buildings rising along a few main streets.

But there’s a growing awareness in Portland’s housing policy community that low-rise apartment buildings — let alone the taller buildings rising in the Lloyd, Burnside Bridgehead and Pearl — aren’t the only buildings that can increase the supply of housing in the walkable, bikeable parts of Portland. In fact, the other options might be more popular with neighbors, too.

The only problem: in almost all of Portland, creating such buildings is forbidden.

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Two weeks to two wheels: Portlanders share bikes and skills with new pay-it-forward program

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on April 3rd, 2015 at 11:08 am

Bikes for Humanity

Central City Concern tenant Billy Murrell works with Bikes for Humanity Volunteer Holly Kvalheim to build the bike that’ll become his.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Down the elevator into the basement of an Old Town housing project, around three corners and under the fluorescent lights of one of the six beige rooms labeled “storage,” Mark Sando was walking in a more or less constant loop around the part of the floor that wasn’t carpeted two feet deep in broken bicycles.

“We don’t need to loosen this enough to slide this up and down, we only need to loosen it enough to rotate the handlebars to the right alignment,” he told the ex-con leaning over one of the room’s four workstations, who nodded in understanding.

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Define ‘compatibility’: Ben Ross on the evasive language of zoning

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on February 6th, 2015 at 10:18 am

N-NE-SE Portland Good-Bad-Ugly Houses 84

Which is incompatible with which, and why?
(Photo: Mark McClure)

Why does Portland require every new house to have a driveway big enough to fit two cars?

Why do we forbid most lots from having two separate dwelling structures unless one is 25 percent smaller than the other and has a roof with an identical slope?

Why do we ban second kitchens within a single home unless the owner essentially pinky-swears that only one household will be living in the building?

In a city where a chronic shortage of housing in walkable and bikeable areas has driven prices up and up, driving major changes in the culture, these aren’t trivial questions.

The most familiar answer to all of them is one of the most-used words in urban zoning: “compatibility.” But what exactly does that mean?

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Will Portland’s rising rents squeeze out low-car life?

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on October 21st, 2013 at 10:45 am

Yellow and orange neighborhoods are in the early stages of
gentrification and displacement; purple and blue, in later stages.
(Image: Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.)

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Guardian Management takes on two bike-friendly buildings

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on August 5th, 2013 at 1:59 pm

real estate beat logo

One of Portland’s major property management companies is taking advantage of Portland’s rising demand for low-car housing by stepping up its bike-friendly housing portfolio. Check out all the references to bikes and biking in the news release they’ll be widely circulating tomorrow (emphases mine):

Guardian Management LLC (Guardian), a division of Guardian Real Estate Services LLC, picks up two new apartment communities oriented toward the low-car and car-free lifestyle. Linden, a 135 unit mixed-use community located on East Burnside is currently in lease up and will open near the end of September. Guardian was also awarded the management contract for Milano Apartments on August 1.
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Introducing the Real Estate Beat

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on July 23rd, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Milano apartments grand opening-5

The logo is no coincidence.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

I’m happy to introduce the Real Estate Beat, a new editorial focus that will be covered by BikePortland News Editor Michael Andersen. With his past experience as publisher of Portland Afoot Michael is the perfect person to cover this for us. He’ll help you understand why real estate development and housing issues have major implications for people who lead a low-car lifestyle. — Jonathan

For decades, Portlanders have been looking for bike-friendly, transit-accessible, walkable real estate to live, shop or work in.

Now, low-car real estate has finally come looking for us.[Read more…]