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Amendments to the Residential Infill Plan are adopted on Aug. 5 ahead of final vote this Wednesday.

COURTESY CITY OF PORTLAND - The Residential Infill Project would allow four and maybe six housing units on existing single-family lots.The City Council took the next-to-last step toward approving the controversial proposal to increase density in single-family neighborhoods on Wednesday, Aug. 5.

That was when the council adopted the "As-Amended" version of the Residential Infill Project that amendments it had previously approved. The vote was 3 to 1, with Commissioner Amanda Fritz voting no.

After that, the final vote is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 12. Fritz said she would explain her vote at that time.

The most controversial amendment would allow up to six units on virtually every residential lot, provided that at least half the units are affordable for households earning no more than 60% of the median family income. That's known as the Deeper Housing Affordability FAR Density Program.

Otherwise, the Residential Infill Project , or RIP, would still allow up to four units on every lot.

The goal is to increase the amount and variety of housing to accommodate both existing residents and the 260,000 additional people expected to move to Portland by 2035.

The project, which first started under former Mayor Charlie Hales in 2015, has divided the city. Supporters argue it will reverse decades of discriminatory zoning restrictions by allowing the construction of lower-priced housing in neighborhoods where lower-income residents, especially people of color, cannot afford to live. Opponents say it will encourage the demolition of existing homes without guaranteeing that many families can afford the replacement housing.

Since Hales first directed the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to undertake the project, the Oregon Legislature changed state zoning laws to require most cities — including Portland — to allow more housing in neighborhoods zoned for single-family homes, without requiring a minimum number for every lot. The plan before the council allows up to four units on virtually every lot, which is more than is now required by the state.

Hearings on the plan were repeatedly rescheduled earlier this year because of the pandemic. No additional public testimony will be taken. The final vote on RIP has not yet been scheduled.

Council meetings are being conducted remotely because of the pandemic but can be seen on the city's website and community TV.


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