What UNR does, and why

Portland grassroots group United Neighborhoods for Reform seeks to stem the demolition of viable, affordable housing. 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; in 2017 on May 17; and in 2018 on Feb. 1.

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Before we talk turkey, let's talk demo tax, and a more necessary anti-demo measure

The city has some ideas for curbing the rampant loss of viable
old-growth housing, and so does United Neighborhoods for Reform.
Illustration courtesy The NW Examiner by Jeff Cook.
Tomorrow City Council takes another stab at the mayor's proposed demolition tax, this time without the rebate for building multiple units. The rebate in the original proposal would have accelerated demolitions instead of reducing them, running counter to the tax's stated mission to alleviate the reduction in the diversity of housing stock and the "decreased ... availability of affordable housing within the City."

Along with the tax, we think the ongoing demolition epidemic, and the exponential, uncontrolled public exposure to hazardous materials, warrants serious action by city leaders.

While a temporary measure, a demolition moratorium would help the city hit the pause button on an overheated, even irrational housing market (now developers eliminate homes just to put the lots up for sale, actually subtracting units during a city-declared "housing emergency").

More important, a moratorium would give time and incentive for city staff and federal regulators to effectively protect people and the environment from hazmat during demolitions and prevent "irrevocable public harm," which is grounds alone for a defensible moratorium under Oregon law. The Oregonian recently exposed the extent of uncontrolled hazmat during demos in a multipart series and follow-up articles.

We look forward to a productive discussion.

When: 9:45 a.m. Wednesday, November 25
Where: City Hall chambers, 1221 S.W. Fourth Ave.
Who: Your elected leadership
Why: Support the demo tax, without the rebate for multiple units, and a demolition moratorium
How: If you can't make it downtown, send letters to council (contact info at right, scroll down) urging serious and meaningful anti-demolition measures; consider testifying (sign up beforehand just outside chambers) about the effects of demolition and if you believe the city has a moral responsibility to protect its people from exposure to hazardous materials during demolition

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