Jim Redden | Portland Tribune
The Portland City Council voted unanimously last month to transfer most of its homeless programs to Multnomah County and create a new Joint Office of Homeless Services.
The Multnomah County Commissioner is expected to reassign its homeless programs to the new office on Thursday.
The merger is one of many steps the city and county have taken together in recent years to better address homelessness as the lack of affordable housing has become a prominent issue.
The vote came on the same day the Portland Housing Bureau announced it was buying the Joyce Hotel, the last remaining inexpensive weekly occupancy hotel in the city for $4.2 million. Located at Southwest 11th and Stark, the Joyce has 69 single and hostel-style rooms that rent for $19 to $50 a night. It’s owners had been evicting tenants ahead of a planned sale.
“There has been an unprecedented level of cooperation between the city and county,” Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury testified before the council in support of the merger.
Mayor Charlie Hales said that homeless services have been illogically divided between the city and county for many year, reducing the effectiveness of their delivery.
“The city has been responsible for homeless adults, and the county has been responsible for families, children and survivors of domestic violence. That just doesn’t make any sense,” Hales said.
Click here to read the entire article
Jim Redden | Portland Tribune
Commissioner Dan Saltzman will ask the City Council to enact a 1 percent tax on new residential and commercial construction to help fund more affordable housing.
The council is expected to consider the construction excise tax in June. It is allowed under the package of affordable housing bills approved by the 2016 Legislature.
“The lack of affordable housing is the greatest crisis facing our city right now. This proposed tax on new development will provide us with a dedicated funding source for the preservation and construction of much needed affordable housing,” Saltzman said when he announced the proposal Tuesday, May 24.
Commissioner Saltzman is inviting public comment on his proposal.
The new law allows cities to enact such taxes up to a maximum of 1 percent of the total permit valuation of residential and commercial development. Although home builders normally oppose any fees that increase construction costs, they supported the package as a compromise to increase the supply of affordable housing.
Portland Tribune | Jodi Weinberger
Six months ago, Chelsea George and her 17-month-old daughter Lucy had a bleak future. Lucy had an ear infection, Chelsea didn’t have a job, and the family had no place to live.
They stood in the now-closed Human Solutions family homeless shelter in Gresham (it’s since relocated a few blocks west to Portland) looking overwhelmed and scared.
But on May 18, Chelsea and Lucy looked at peace and at home. In February, after seeing a flyer advertising a new mixed-use affordable housing and dental clinic complex at the shelter, the pair stood in line for nearly five hours to be one of the first families to apply to live in Rosewood Plaza
Just three days after George secured her spot, the waiting list for the 45 new and refurbished one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units at 18173 N.E. Couch Street had grown to more than 100 families.
Chelsea, 26, and Lucy look strikingly similar, with straight blonde hair cropped to their ears and brushed to the side. The last time The Outlook interviewed them, Lucy was near inconsolable after spending all night in the emergency room to treat her ear infection. On Wednesday, the shy toddler showed off just a hint of a smile while playing a game of peek-a-boo.
Click here to read the entire article.
Recognizing that past City actions have marginalized and displaced many longtime residents of North and Northeast Portland, the Portland Housing Bureau developed a preference policy to prioritize households with generational ties to N/NE Portland for PHB housing opportunities in the area.
Current and former residents of specific areas in N/NE Portland that were subject to high levels of urban renewal, and their descendants, are eligible to receive preference.
Click here to learn more.
From Bikeportland.org's Real Estate Beat:
As Portlanders debate ways to deal with the city’s continuing surge of housing prices, a coalition of local affordable-housing developers and service providers says Portland can’t afford to continue banning so-called “missing middle” housing from most of the city.
Duplexes, triplexes, internal home divisions and two-story garden apartments are common throughout many of the neighborhoods Portland built in the early 20th century. Today, those neighborhoods are the city’s most walkable, bikeable and transit-friendly — but since 1959, city code has made it illegal to build more neighborhoods like that. Homes with multiple kitchens or space for fewer than two cars are forbidden even on most residential land in the central city.
The Oregon Opportunity Network, which speaks for 20 local low-income housing providers and advocates, wrote this week that this ban is contributing to the deep Portland housing shortage that has been driving the poorest Portlanders out of homes entirely.
Click here to read the full article
Portland Tribune | Jim Redden
Sarah Iannarone became the first major candidate for Portland mayor to call on the city and Multnomah County to temporarily freeze rents and no-cause evictions.
“In this housing disaster, we need our local governments to take bold action to keep Portlanders in their homes in the short term while we wait for new housing supply to come online and provide further relief,” said the Portland State University urban researcher. “I am calling on local governments to utilize their statutory authority to enact a 9-month temporary rent freeze and moratorium on no cause evictions in order to keep tenants in their homes during this crisis."
Two groups representing local renters are split over whether the city and county can legally do what Iannarone is demanding, however. Oregon law bans cities and counties from controlling rents. The only exception is in the event of "a natural or man-made disaster that materially eliminates a significant portion of the rental housing supply occurs."
The Portland City Attorney and the Multnomah County Counsel have both advised that rent hikes and the reported increase in no-cause evictions are not enough to qualify for the exception.
"There is a general preemption with an exception for disasters. The rent control preemption ordinance contains several terms that are undefined in the statutes, such as 'temporary,' 'man-made disaster,' 'materially eliminates,' and 'significant portion.' This provides wiggle room for local governments to provide relief in the current crisis," Iannarone says.
The grassroots Portland Tenants Union agrees with Iannarone.
"An emergency rent freeze and moratorium on no-cause evictions are two strong tools that could be implemented to immediately stabilize vulnerable tenants and stop the eviction-to-homelessness pipeline," says PTU spokesperson Gabriel Erbs.
Portland Mercury | Dirk VanderHart
Last week, a committee from one of the city's premier civic organizations is largely agreeing.
In a report released Wednesday, an 11-member research committee for the City Club of Portland recommends the city take an array of new steps to address its burgeoning housing affordability crisis, which has ushered in nearly double digit rent increases and even higher home price hikes in recent years.
The money quote of the report: “We must not be satisfied with saying in one breath, ‘Live in Portland and innovate in the arts, technology, and the environment and also have a good quality of life,’ and in the next breath, ‘You will have to live on the outskirts of the city, far from great public transport and amenities, and we’ll allow your landlords to keep raising rent and evicting without cause.’”
The report—developed with the help of 20 "witnesses" and months of discussion—is a notable effort from an organization whose research is not infrequently cited to justify new policy tweaks. It's also a helpful summary of how dire the housing situation's gotten here in recent years, and worth a read in full.
Click here to read the full article.
Subscribe to E-News
It takes a Network.
Become a Member
Support Oregon ON
Oregon Opportunity Network is a
501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
© 2016 Oregon Opportunity Network.
All Rights Reserved
Oregon Opportunity Network
1207 SW Broadway, Suite 400 Portland, OR 97205
Map & Directions