Issues

Affordable Housing

What this term means to Affordable Oregon and why we care

The phrase “affordable housing” is often used by the media, advocacy groups and government as a euphemism for “lower income housing.”  Others use the term to explain the first-time home buyer market, referring to smaller homes, condominiums and townhomes as “affordable.”  The phrase has been used and abused by so many organizations no one really knows what it means anymore…

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UGB Expansion in the Portland Metropolitan Area

A constantly moving, broken target, the Portland Metro Area Urban Growth Boundary process is a farce.

Established in the late 1970’s, the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) was created to plan for growth in the Portland Metropolitan Area.  In Oregon, Washington, Tennessee and a smattering of cities throughout the US, urban growth boundaries are artificial lines set by a public process to determine where growth will be allowed in a given area.  In the Portland Metro Area, the boundary is set by Metro Regional Government.  The process requires a great deal of analysis, public input and too often legal proceedings to complete and is generally done once every six years…

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Infrastructure Finance Reform

Holding private interests’ hostage while you extort them for funding additional infrastructure should never be the answer

One of the largest stumbling blocks to providing housing affordability in the Portland Metro Area is financing required infrastructure.  When land is made available in the Portland Metro Area for development, a local government must assume responsibility for the area and be willing to create an infrastructure master plan.  These plans include added road capacity, water and sanitary systems upgrades, storm water conveyance systems and new parks.  Each of these items cost additional money and determining where the money will come from is up to the local jurisdiction…

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Development and Permitting Application Process

It’s like clocks don’t exist in local government offices.

Perhaps the most flagrant issues facing housing affordability in the Portland Metropolitan Area occur in the backrooms of your local city hall.  When housing professionals engage the development and permitting process they are met with resistance on almost every level.  From pre-application to final permitting checks, the process and people encountered by construction professionals are often unhelpful, disinterested and in many cases hostile to the people a community is counting on to build their homes…

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Local Ordinances and Local Control

How did local government get itself so far off the mark?

Twenty years ago if you asked a construction professional if they preferred statewide or local control of housing regulation the answer would have been resoundingly “local control.”  Local governments were partners in the housing development process, working with the private sector to create livable and affordable communities.  State government was seen as too big, too intrusive and unable to craft solutions that work for the type of individual needs each community was encountering…

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