On July 10, Planning and Sustainability Commission member Andre Baugh put it right out there, what ordinary Portlanders have been saying and what the developers have telling the city to ignore – RIP will displace low income Portlanders. When their rental houses are bought and redeveloped, they will have nowhere to go.
“When you look at the map, take 205 and look beyond, there’s a higher renter percentage of the total households that contributed to turning it purple [Note: purple is city map color indicating vulnerable populations] and when you look at the percentage of minority populations and low income populations that contributed to it turning purple in terms of just the risks out there, what we’re doing is increasing the land value of those properties out there.
It is a naturally occuring affordable neighborhood out there just because of the way it has been in the past. We are going to change that dynamic. They have nowhere to go in Portland, if they’re bought out, if those changes occur in terms of single family dwellings. There’s not another neighborhood, anther district in Portland to go to. Its not anecdotal, but it is . . . they’re going south, they’re going to Salem, to work here.
Who’s this for? It’s not for people of color because they’re at 60% or below [Note: refers to 60% of median family income] if you look at the latest housing published income levels for people. It’s not for the low income. We’re not building affordable housing. It may be less expensive but its not affordable by the 60% definition.
So, who are we doing this for? We don’t have, as the communities have indicated, we don’t have the displacement tools, financial tools, the city has not put those in, we have not put in tools to regulate the affordable housing that we do have today.
We have twelve principles that we talked about [for] complete neighborhoods, and these are not complete neighborhoods. We’re talking about maybe a small increase in density but we’re talking about putting more people into these neighborhoods without bringing the tools to say we’re going to increase and make it a more complete neighborhood. Those tools are financial, and we’re not doing that, but we’re going to put the increased density out there, the increased development.
We’ve seen this movie before. It is the unintended consequences that well intentions basically pushes people out, the gentrification. Its already occurring, now do we want to accelerate it? From my viewpoint the answer is no.
Give the city a chance to figure out how do we preserve them, how do we do some other things versus pushing them out. I don’t know why we would want to take the step and put the ‘a’ overlay in these areas.”