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Plus, growth slows in the Portland area but housing demand remains because of previous under-building

PMG FILE PHOTO - Commissioner Chloe EudalyPortland's neighborhood-related organizations will remain unchanged for at least three years under a proposal the City Council is expected to consider in December.

The delay in rewriting the public engagement chapter of the City Code was presented formally to the council at a hearing on Thursday, Nov. 14.

Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, who has been overseeing the rewrite, now is requesting that a work group composed of representatives from different bureaus be created to recommend how the city can increase the civic participation of underrepresented residents by November 2020, followed by a public feedback process that would stretch into 2023.

The original proposal was controversial because it would have removed all references to neighborhood associations from the public engagement chapter.

Linda Nettekoven, a member of the 25-person community advisory committee that helped write the proposal, testified that she voted "no" on it because the associations had not been fully involved in the process. Reform supporters argued for just a one-year delay.

Growth slows but housing demand remains

Even though population growth is slowing in Oregon, Portland-area officials are still under pressure to increase housing. That's because homebuilding almost completely stopped during the Great Recession and has yet to fully recover — and because around half of all people coming to the state are moving to the metropolitan area.

According to the newest figures from Portland State University's Population Resource Center, Oregon's population grew by around 41,000 people between July 2018 and 2019. That is less than the 47,000 increase the previous year and 56,000 the year before. Researchers attribute the drops to a "slowdown in employment growth."

But, as in previous years, half of the increase is still occurring in the Portland area, which is experiencing a housing shortage exacerbated by the last recession. Experts say tens of thousands of additional housing units should have been built in the mid-2000s to accommodate the growth that was still taking place. But that didn't happen — and the shortage has only gotten worse since the economy recovered and even more people started moving here.

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