The Southwest Examiner Writes On Residential Infill And Historic Preservation

The Southwest Examiner has two thoughtful articles on the Residential Infill Project, and the movement in some neighborhoods toward Historic District designation.

"Infill Ideals Pit Developers Against Protectors" examines the Residential Infill Project, also commonly called "RIP" or "RIPSAC".

"Designed to squeeze in some 200,000+ newcomers over 20 years, RIP would increase density by allowing construction of multi-unit housing in single family neighborhoods within 1/4 mile of transportation corridors and town centers. That covers virtually all of inner SE. Setting a minimum of two houses in areas zoned R2.5 and allowing triplexes on corners are among [the] proposals."

For more details on the Residential Infill Project and how it would affect Laurelhurst, see our previous post.

"Is Preservation A Dirty Word" discusses how a Historic District designation will protect historic homes from demolition, and how the absence of those protections are allowing some developers to buy up and demolish these houses.

The people and events described in the article have a connection to Laurelhurst. One developer mentioned, Vic Remmers of Everett Custom Homes, bought a 1917 house in Laurelhurst (39th and Cesar Chavez) for $601,000, demolished it, and built two new, more or less identical, houses which he sold earlier this year for $927,000 and $938,000. Read more at the Portland Chronicle.

Remmers is one of the developers on the Stakeholder Advisory Committee (the "SAC" in RIPSAC), who wrote the Residential Infill Project proposals. While RIP proposals are being presented as a way to replace existing homes with affordable housing, but near-million-dollar houses are the opposite of affordable. Everett Custom Homes currently owns two other properties in Laurelhurst that we know of. The RIP proposals that these developers helped write, if adopted by the city council, will allow developers to build two - or in some cases more - housing units on each property in Laurelhurst. If recent history is any guide, the new houses will each sell for more than the single house that was demolished.

The article concludes:

"Those interested in learning more about living in an historic district should attend The Restore Oregon Meeting September 8, 6-7:30 pm, 10th Church of Christ Scientist, 5736 SE 17th Ave."

Historic District designation for Laurelhurst will essentially stop demolition of historic houses in our neighborhood. Non-historic houses could still be demolished, but this would be less financially attractive for developers whose new houses would have to receive Historic Resource Review, rather than simply being a standard cookie-cutter design. For details, see our previous article here and more details in the Eastmoreland-written Q&A here.

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