Sources Say: Seattle columnist questions rezoning
New York Times columnist Timothy Egan has a warning for those who think the zoning changes in the Residential Infill Project will lower overall home prices in Portland.
The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability recommends rezoning around 60 percent of Portland's single-family neighborhoods to allow relatively small multifamily projects. Writing in the July 7 issue of The Times, Egan, who lives in Seattle, says a comparable change there hasn't reduced home prices.
"An unholy alliance of socialists and developers threatens to destroy the city's single-family neighborhoods with a major upzoning — further disrupting trust between residents and politicians. If the intent is to make Seattle more affordable, this approach has failed. The city has built more new units of housing over the last five years than in the prior half-century. And yet Seattle continues to lead the nation in home price increases," Egan wrote in a column about increasing home prices and homelessness in all large West Coast cities headlined, "Down and Out in San Francisco, on $117,000 a Year."
The Portland City Council is expected to vote on the project's recommendation later this year.
Housing bond fundraising increases
Affordable-housing developers and operators are among the largest contributors to the campaign to pass Metro's proposed $652.8 million affordable-housing bond at the November general election.
Yes for Affordable Housing reported raising nearly $112,000 by press time. The largest contributions include $12,500 from Walsh Construction, $10,000 each from Bridge Housing and Northwest Housing Alternatives, and $5,000 each from REACH Development and Hacienda Community Development.
Other large contributions include $10,000 from Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury and the Local 48 Electricians PAC, and $5,000 each from Metro President Tom Hughes, Portland Commissioner Nick Fish and AFSCME 3580.
No contributions had been reported by the opposing committee, Affordable Housing for WHO?
Wyden says Merkley helpful where he is
Although U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley has told U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden he is "exploring" running for president in 2020, the two Oregon Democrats have not yet talked about it at length.
At least that's what Wyden told Pamplin Media Group editors and reporters during a visit last Friday. "He and I have not talked about it specifically," Wyden said in response to a question about whether he is supporting Merkley for president. "I think if he were here he would tell you he's focused on 2018."
At the same time, Wyden argued that Merkley can help the state if he remains in the U.S. Senate, instead of giving up his seat to run for president, as would be required by the Oregon Constitution. Merkley currently is on the Appropriations Committee, a position once held by former Republican Oregon U.S. Sen. Mark Hatfield.
"I think we're well-positioned to advocate for Oregon," said Wyden, who also praised Merkley's work to focus attention on family separations along the southern border with Mexico.