Housing Affordability

Update: At the April 15, 2016 Friday Forum, City Club members in attendance voted to substitute the minority report for the majority report. The minority had endorsed the majority report with the exception of Recommendation 3, which now has been amended to include middle housing. See the full report or executive summary for more details.

Full Report

Executive Summary


Friday Forum (with member debate and vote)


 

Media


Announcement

Research committee urges dramatic action on housing affordability

Report calls for bold, immediate action by city and state leaders to addres issues of affordability and livability for all Portlanders.
 

Portland will not solve its housing affordability crisis with half-measures and business as usual, a City Club of Portland research committee concluded. The committee's report calles on city and state leaders to take bold and immediate steps on several fronts.

“The city has a housing emergency, and timid measures won’t solve it,” said City Club Executive Director Mike Marshall. “Our research committee found that bold reforms to how the city manages land and regulates landlord-tenant relations are required. This issue goes right to the heart of livability and equity issues for all Portlanders.”

City Club will devote its April 15 Friday Forum at the Sentinel Hotel to discussing the report and housing affordability. Those who wish to attend can reserve a seat online at bit.ly/housingFF. After a panel discussion, City Club members will debate and vote whether to adopt the report as an official City Club position. Members not in attendance will have an opportunity to vote online. The result of the vote will be reported Thursday, April 21.

Recommendations laid out in the City Club report include:

  • The city should ban no-cause evictions and enact a just-cause eviction policy.
  • The Oregon Legislature should end the ban on local rent regulation.
  • The city should remove barriers and identify incentives that encourage development of more housing types and work with neighborhoods to dispel concerns about “missing middle housing.”
  • The City of Portland, Portland Development Commission and Metro should fund a land bank for affordable housing that strategically purchases properties.
  • Portland City Council should create and fund dedicated revenue streams to build new subsidized affordable housing units.
  • The city should implement a landlord licensing system that would allow for data collection, increased inspections and education.

A minority report further recommended that the city update zoning to allow middle housing development immediately.

“Portland does not have acceptable housing affordability for a city of its size, demographics, sensibilities and priorities. Our laws, policies and accepted practices regarding zoning, lending, and the rights of renters and owners of single-family homes no longer serve the population well,” the report states.

City Club’s member-volunteer research committee began studying the issue of housing affordability in July, 2015. Over eight months, it interviewed 20 experts and stakeholders, and reviewed dozens of documents.

Celebrating its centennial year, City Club of Portland brings together civic-minded people to make Portland and Oregon better places to live, work and play for 100 years. reports such as this have helped community leaders reach consensus for decades. For more information about City Club of Portland, visit pdxcityclub.org or call 503-228-7231.

Affordable Housing Research Committee

M. Nels Johnson, Chair
Chip Lazenby, Vice Chair
Kristin Thiel, Lead Writer

Liang Wu
Mike Westling
Judith Ramaley
Andrea Pastor
Gil Johnson
Crista Gardner
Margot Black
Patrick Belin

Nicole Pexton, Research Adviser
Garrett Stephenson, Research Adviser
Rob Sadowsky, Advocacy & Awareness Adviser