What UNR does, and why

Portland grassroots group United Neighborhoods for Reform seeks to stem the demolition of viable, affordable housing and its replacement with expensive and inefficient large single-family homes. Our demolition/development resolution, developed through significant neighbor outreach, gathered endorsements from 43 neighborhood associations citywide. We also regularly take our message to City Hall, starting in December 2014, continuing in 2015 on Feb. 12, June 3 (UNR presenters start at 51:20), Oct. 14 (UNR at 1:07:35), and Nov. 25 (UNR at 1:05); in 2016 on Feb. 17, Nov. 9 and 16, and Dec. 7; and in 2017 on May 17.

Next UNR sighting: The Joint Subcommittee on Natural Resources gives the devastating House Bill 2007 a much-needed public hearing (with two days' notice!) at 1 p.m. Thursday, June 22, in Salem, 900 Court St. NE, Room H-174. Have you sent your emails yet?

"The time is always right to do what is right."
—Martin Luther King Jr.

Friday, January 30, 2015

One neighborhood's stats tell the story

Encouraging signs start to pop up
everywhere, from a yard in Beaumont-
Wilshire and all the way to the mayor's office.
United Neighborhoods for Reform member Barbara Strunk crunched data collected from Portland Maps, Bureau of Development Services building permits, and real estate ads to present some salient demolition facts to City Council on Dec. 17.

Here are some of her findings from a two-year period (2013-2014) in the Beaumont-Wilshire neighborhood, where 85 demolitions and "remodels" that had the impact of demolition occurred:

• New houses were on average 2.3 times as big and 2.4 times as expensive as the homes they replaced.

• Of the 85 demolitions and "remodels," three (or 4 percent) were undertaken by homeowners who continued to live in the house.

• The median price of the new houses was $765,950, compared to the median house price in all of Beaumont-Wilshire of $449,000.

• If demolitions and "remodels" that have the impact of demolition continue to occur at the same rate, all original homes of Beaumont-Wilshire will be gone in 52 years.

She capped her testimony with the sobering thought, "I do not want to see my neighborhood become a place where the great majority of Portlanders cannot afford to live."

Mayor Hales has announced his intention to establish a task force to create new rules for replacement construction and control hazmat during demolition. We look forward to hearing more about these overdue and very welcome reforms—which account for nearly two-thirds of the UNR demolition/development resolution—at City Hall on Feb. 12, when Council will hear more about demolitions and their deleterious effects on Portland and Portlanders.

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