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; in 2018 on Feb. 1; and many dates since.

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

Monday, May 14, 2018

There's no slack in the RIP rodeo

In June 2016 a slide presented by the
Bureau of Planning announced what
RIP wasn't, affordability included.
Courtesy of David Minick
Last week's testimony on the Residential Infill Project (RIP) drew impassioned people from all sides, although definitely too few renters who generally did not receive a yellow rezoning notice and arguably will be most affected by the proposal.

Of particular note was the wave of fervent supporters of the Portland for Everyone pro-RIP program, flushly funded by Trumper money and other darlings of the teardown builders' landscape, including Airbnb (read on for more on this topic, below). There didn't seem to be a whole lot of outright engineering this time (definitely some scripting at 3:27), but it does seem to be easier to round up earnest recruits with paid policy outreach professionals, free food at happy hours, event planning, and office space and equipment helping to drive the drumbeat. Go Goliath.

It's gratifying to hear the frequent calls for affordable housing—heaven knows we need it, but it almost never will appear in the luxe plexing promised by RIP. If only these voices arose when planners announced from the get-go that the project would not address affordability.

No big diff: RIP's drafters just want more.
A slide (above) recently prepared by David Sweet, a member of the RIP committee and a neighborhood land use rep, showed the only discernible difference he found between the last RIP draft and the one now before the planning commission. After mountains of comment, the only change: a drastic reduction of the already-token affordable-unit part of the proposal along with a provision to pay for the privilege to build bigger, a

How can we sell the forest without the trees?
cost that would easily enter into any pro forma. So RIP is even less about affordability than it ever was (must be going for sub-basement level now).

I know it's not as hella sexy as modern steel and concrete, but you'll never get back neighborhoods full of diverse homes of all sizes and styles—at a wide range of price points—that are thrown in the trash. Old-growth housing comes with old-growth trees. Oxygen is sexy as hell.

But what about the Trumper thing?

For this we have guest poster N.E. Lettanay laying it out:

"Take a look at this recent O article:

"It exposes a major exemption to the 'one host, one home' policy negotiated by Airbnb recently (apparently there are exemptions for zoning as well as proximity to downtown).  It also makes it clear that there is a blatant disregard for the housing crisis as well as short-term rental regulations on the part of developers/owners/operators of new market-rate apartments.  
If you thought something didn't smell right with 1000 Friends' turnabout
and the coyly named Portland for Everyone, now you know why.

"Affordable housing advocates are infuriated and rightfully so.  But the other wrinkle is that the building featured in the article, The Ladd, is owned and operated by Holland Residential.  Both Holland and Airbnb are major donors to 1000 Friends of Oregon (parent of Portland for Everyone) in addition to being major sponsors of their annual 'McCall Gala.'  

"Holland calls itself 'a premier developer of core urban infill residential and mixed-use trophy communities with a disciplined focus on high barrier-to-entry markets that appeal to the rising creative class.'

"In FY 2016, 1000 Friends accepted donations totaling at least $10,000 to $20,000 from the CEO, Clyde Holland, as well as separate donations through Holland Partner Group.  The 2017 annual report is not available yet, but both Holland and Airbnb are listed as major sponsors of the 2018 gala.

"1000 Friends even runs positive PR for Holland.

"And here's the kicker:  The CEO of Holland is a right-wing billionaire who was the largest donor in Washington state to the Trump Victory Fund with his $94,600 contribution, but also co-hosted a private fundraiser for Trump before the candidate's rally in Everett, Washington.  

"In his home state of Washington, he donated $150,000 toward an effort that would have wiped out $1 billion a year in funding for schools and other vital public services. 

"If the partnership with the Home Builders Association in last year's HB 2007 debacle was enough to prompt some people to remove 1000 Friends from their estate plans, I think this new information might be even more compelling."

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Let's activate

Did you and your neighbors get a yellow notice from the city, saying your neighborhood is going to be rezoned?
April 2018

This rezoning allows developers to demolish more houses and replace them with more expensive housing, up to four units per lot. 

It Is time to stand up and be heard:
Submit testimony to the planning commission

To submit testimony online no later than May 18:
1. Go to the city’s Map App.
2. Click testify button.
3. Fill in your name, address, etc.
4. Type or paste your testimony into the box.
5. Check the “Required” box.
6. Click SUBMIT.

In addition, please also copy and paste the comment and send to City Council, presumably the next stop; addresses at right, scroll down.

Tell the Planning Commission what you think in clear terms.
·      Tell them that you oppose RIP, and why.
·      Be specific.
·      Use your own words.

What are others saying about RIP?
·      Stop demolishing Portland: Don’t trash our smaller, more affordable homes to build expensive housing few can afford.
·      The size of new houses should be limited to less than what is being built today.
·      Smaller houses means less expensive houses.
·      Smaller houses means more green space and mature trees to support environmental and human health.
·      Do not allow profit-driven development to push people with less money out of the city. Maintain the widest range of equity opportunities for the largest range of income levels.
·      I support Truth in Zoning.
·      Encourage density where applied in the latest Comp Plan update, along corridors and centers. Try a RIP pilot on vacant land within the urban growth boundary.

·      There is no indication that RIP-style development will result in homes that first-time homebuyers can afford.