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City Council to vote on Residential Infill Project amendments

News article

Commissioners to weigh testimony and vote on proposed amendments on July 9; final vote on “as-amended draft” in August.

Published

After hearing from 75 testifiers and receiving more than 300 pieces of written testimony on the Residential Infill Project amendments, City Council will return on July 9 to vote on which amendments to the RIP proposals should be included.

Commissioners’ amendments to the project proposals are based on testimony Council received in January on the Recommended Draft. Since then, the public was able to testify on their amendments in writing via the Map App and at virtual public hearings in June.

What’s in the amendments?

The first four amendments are technical in nature. They include aligning the project with previously approved projects and correcting minor inconsistencies, responding to two recently passed state laws (HB2001 and SB534), and streamlining a process for reconfiguring old subdivision platted lots. The fifth “amendment” was withdrawn and replaced by changes to PBOT’s Local Transportation Improvement Charge (LTIC), which were adopted in a separate but parallel track.

Deeper affordability bonus and historic buildings garner most testimony

Amendment 6, also known as the “deeper affordability bonus” amendment and Amendment 7, the “historic resources demolition disincentive” received most of the amendment testimony.

“I’m here to represent a generation that feels left behind by the economy and the conversation,” said community organizer Candace Avalos in favor of the affordability bonus. “I’m a renter living in constant fear of being priced out of my home, with student loan debt that makes the possibility of owning a home unattainable for the foreseeable future, even though I have a good job, good pay and a master’s degree. If I’m having this hard of a time keeping a roof over my head, how are others faring?”

AARP’s Bandana Shrestha said of the bonus, “When older adults look to downsize, they are hard pressed to find smaller and affordable homes.”

Hacienda CDC, based in the Cully neighborhood, also supported it. “Cully includes one of the most diverse census tracts in Oregon. The median family income is also significantly less than the city as a whole,” said Kevin Kellogg, Director of Affordable Housing for the group. “Amendment 6 is particularly useful to nonprofits like Hacienda, because provision of the additional FAR and allowance of additional units on a development site increases our ability to develop more homes for people earning under 60% median income.”

Regarding the amendment to disincentivize demolition in historic and conservation districts, Executive Director of Restore Oregon Peggy Moretti, testified that “Amendment 7 is not about limiting housing choices. It’s about protecting existing housing that is affordable and viable.”

On behalf of the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission, Kristin Minor also testified in support of Amendment 7, which restricts housing types on sites where historic resources in conservation districts have been demolished. “If there is ever going to be a push for a right to return for people with ties to North and NE Portland, we should be supporting the history and story of this community.”

Next steps

Council will vote on the proposed amendments on July 9, after which project staff will make the necessary changes to the staff report, code amendments and related commentary. These will be packaged into an “As-amended Draft,” on which Council will vote with the entire legislative package in August.

Some limited aspects of the project will become effective 30 days after Council’s final vote. These items relate to building on substandard-sized platted lots, addressing the recently passed State Senate Bill 534 (effective March 1, 2020).

The remaining aspects of the project that address limitations on building scale and increase options for new types of housing, among numerous other changes, would become effective in August 2021 to allow time to complete the State’s acknowledgement process.

Review the full set of recommended changes:

Calendar

July 9 - Council votes on amendment proposals

August 5 (tentative) - Council votes on “as-amended” draft

TBD - Second reading of ordinance

30 days after second reading - Platted lot rules related to SB534 effective

August 1, 2021 - Remainder of project effective