Council delays neighborhood reform vote, announces infill project schedule
The City Council took different approaches to two contentious measures that were on the agenda for Wednesday, Jan. 28 — the Civic Life Code Change Project and the Residential Infill Project.
The council first referred the Code Change Project back to Commissioner Chloe Eudaly's office without discussion. It later announced that public hearings on RIP, as the infill project is commonly called, will resume in March after amendments have been introduced.
It Code Change Project is being undertaken by the Office of Community & Civic Life, which Eudaly oversees. It intended to rewrite the City Code to increase public involvement in civic affairs, but has been criticized for eliminating references to existing neighborhood organizations.
Eudlay had proposed a compromise that would guarantee funding for Neighborhood Coalition Offices while city staff review the code and launch a new involvement process that last until at least June 2023. But commissioners Amanda Fritz and Jo Ann Hardesty questioned the lack of details of the public involvement process during the first hearing.
Measures are traditionally referred by to their sponsor's office when there are not enough votes to pass them on the council.
The infill project is intended to increase housing types and lower average costs by allowing up to four units on lots in single-family neighborhoods. The schedule was announced after the council directed the staff of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to draft what it called "technical amendments" to the current project recommendations.
The council also announced it will consider drafting amendments proposed by the public on Wednesday, Feb. 12. Mayor Ted Wheeler said he was interested in a "deeper affordability bonus" that would allow up to eight units on most lots. Fritz indicated she was interested in lowering the standard for defining affordable housing from 60% to 50% of the area median family income.
The 2019 Oregon Legislature required Portland and others cities in the metropolitan area to allow duplexes on practically all single-family lots and up to four units on at least some lots in single-family zones by July 1, 2023.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.