Recent Reporting On Residential Infill

The Residential Infill Project (RIP) has kept a fairly low profile during its advance to the city council.

The city and RIP SAC has held public meetings, but only a tiny fraction of Portland residents knew of or attended those. The city has received about 1,500 comments on RIP, which represents only 1/4 of 1% of city residents. Until recently, there was little coverage of RIP in the local media. After all, most people think "zoning" is just boring bureaucratic stuff.

Have you talked to your friends and neighbors about RIP? How many of them are well-informed about it, or have even heard of it? In our experience, the great majority of Portland residents have no idea that the city is considering a wholesale re-zoning - because that's what it is - of nearly the entire close-in residential east side.

Recently, the local news media has started covering RIP. We're going to start collecting some of the more interesting articles here. Click the links to go directly to the article.

If you see any articles that you think should be highlighted here, please email us.

"Dramatic Density Increase Proposed For Eastside". The thoughtful Midge Pierce of the SE Examiner is one of the few reporters who has been covering RIP.

"Love it or lump it, Portland’s revised Residential Infill Project (RIP) concepts would turn Portland into a dramatically denser town.

The original plan limited higher density multi-unit buildings to within a quarter mile of commercial centers. The new plan would extend multi-unit housing to 64% of the City’s single-dwelling zoned lots.

Denouncing the proposal as “draconian, untested and non-responsive to the public comment process”, seven members of an infill Stakeholders Advisory Committee (SAC) sent a missive to City staff charging that the plan would rezone Portland’s entire Eastside to increase density as much as 300% and incentivize further demolition."

"The Rezoning Struggle". This Portland Tribune article recognizes RIP for what it is: wholesale rezoning of dozens of neighborhoods, whether they want it or not.

"But there are even deeper divisions over the most controversial recommendation — rezoning nearly two-thirds of existing single-family neighborhoods to allow more so-called missing middle housing."

"Infill Project Breaches Public Trust" In an opinion piece in the Tribune, a person who attended the RIP SAC meetings for 10 months describes how RIP evolved from an effort to protect neighborhood character to an initiative to dramatically change neighborhoods.

"The original intent of the RIPSAC (to preserve treasured neighborhoods, and make room for new and existing residents) was replaced with one to eliminate single-family zoning in most of the city, and allow multifamily housing on most lots. This, despite city data showing no shortage of land zoned for housing."

"Portland's Residential Infill Program May Have Caveats". OPB's article hints at the next twist in RIP. Developers are starting to argue that the first three recommendations in RIP, to limit the size of infill houses to prevent "McMansions". Not only do they want to be able to build duplexes and triplexes be built throughout Portland's single family house neighborhoods, but they should be allowed to build them "McMansion-sized".

"Jerry Johnson, principal of Johnson Economics . . . says that reducing the allowed maximum size of homes would make redeveloping homes less appealing to developers."

"In Runup To Halloween, Planners Release Scariest Trick Of All". Portland grassroots group United Neighborhoods for Reform, endorsed by 43 neighborhood associations city-wide, is actively opposing RIP. The Laurelhurst Neighborhood Association is not one of UNR's supporters - which is disappointing.

"It's still true, as Portland's chief planner, Joe Zehnder, said at an East Portland open house in July, that the proposal won't help with affordability. Again: According to its own drafters, this proposal will not help with affordability."

More to come . . .

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