Thursday, May 31, 2018

State Economist Bullish on Portland's Future

In this recent presentation, Oregon State economist Josh Lehner talks about the Portland regional economy. He states that while some new apartment units may be vacant in the near term, they will all be full before long due to continued strong in-migration.

"In the last decade, Portland has been in the top five for high-wage job growth, educational attainment increases, and household income gains... We moved from the thirtieth highest ranking metro area in the country to more like the twentieth when you take stock of the entire nation. We've made transformational gains in a physical and fundamental economic perspective."

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Portland Mercury Features Story on Seismic Upgrades

This week's Portland Mercury offers an in-depth feature story on the City of Portland's recent machinations over seismic retrofits of unreinforced masonry buildings. Read more.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Market Changes in Portland Multifamily Housing for 2018 [video]

Scott Arena, Business Development Director for Income Property Management provides a summary of market changes in multifamily housing in Portland, Oregon at a recent Multifamily NW Apartment Report Breakfast. [Video Runtime: 20:40.]

Monday, May 28, 2018

Multifamily Marketwatch Special Edition

In this week's special edition, HFO partner Greg Frick discusses the Portland apartment market with economic and housing analyst Joe Cortright of City Observatory.

Cortright argues that Portland is disincentivizing construction -- exactly the opposite of what is needed to create affordable housing.

Check out this episode!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Survey: Portland Has Second Highest Share of Location-First Movers

A recent Apartment List survey found that 69% of renters who move to Portland are "location-first" movers. That is the second highest rate among the 33 largest cities in the US. Apartment List defines "location-first" movers as those who move to the city where they want to live and then look for a job. Alternatively, renters who move to a city because of a specific employment opportunity are called "job-first" movers. Las Vegas has the highest share of location-first movers, while San Jose has the highest percentage of job-first movers. The survey also found that over 40% of renters in the Portland Metro Area plan to settle down here, rather than moving to a less expensive metro. Read more.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Opinion: Seattle Values Criminal Rights Over the Rights of Property Owners

In this opinion piece, attorney (and renter) Ethan Blevins. Blevins writes: 
First-in-time, the only ordinance of its kind in the country, required landlords to offer tenancy to the first applicant who meets rental criteria—credit history and such. We defeated that law in court in April. The Fair Chance Housing Ordinance, on the other hand, forbids landlords from checking criminal background or considering prior criminal convictions when selecting tenants.

Each of these laws by itself curtails landlords’ rights to their own property and raises serious safety and financial risks. But in tandem, the two rules make the risks of renting out property utterly intolerable for the average mom-and-pop landlord.
Read more.

Interestingly, Portland City Councilor Chloe Eudaly plans to do the same in Portland, and released a draft screening criteria and worksheet last week. You can read a copy here.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - May 21, 2018

This week: Oregon primaries result in a political shift to the left; affordable housing developers face funding shortfall due to federal tax cuts; and Seattle passes a tax on large businesses to fund affordable housing programs, despite threats from Amazon.

Check out this episode!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Portland Primary Results: Shemia Fagan Defeats Rod Monroe in Senate District 24

Yesterday's primary in Portland saw below average turnout, but some big results for watchers of state and local races. In the hotly contested Senate District 24 (East Portland), Shemia Fagan won 62% of the vote, defeating incumbent Rod Monroe who held onto just 25%. Monroe is a five-term senator, who drew the ire of local activists when he voted against overturning the statewide ban on rent control in 2017. Fagan is in favor of ending no cause evictions and allowing cities to set rent control policies.

In Portland, Commissioner Nick Fish held onto his city council seat with 62% of the vote. In the race to replace Dan Saltzman, there will be a November runoff between Jo Ann Hardesty and Loretta Smith. November's election will determine which of these East Portland residents will become the first female African American member of Portland's City Council.

In the statewide race for Governor, Kate Brown won the Democratic nomination while Knute Buehler clinched the Republican nomination.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Precision Global Real Estate Investing Guide

Precision Global recently released an infographic with helpful tips for investors looking to take advantage of this growing market sector. Whether you're just starting out in real estate investing or you're a seasoned pro, these are great points to keep in mind.
Essential Information for Real Estate Investing created by Precision Global Corporation

Monday, May 14, 2018

City City Council Reverses, Allows 17-Story Apartment in the Pearl

Willamette Week reports that the Portland City Council has given preliminary approval to a revised design of a 17-story, 275-unit apartment building in the Pearl. The Council previously denied the request due to objections from nearby condo owners who would lose their views of the Fremont Bridge and the Pearl District Neighborhood Association. The owners also complained that public sidewalks were too narrow. That was before the project was redesigned and the developer paid the neighborhood association $35,000.  Read the whole story.

City of Portland Releases Better Housing By Design Draft - Comments Due June 12, 2018

What’s in the Proposed Draft?

The Proposed Draft includes proposals for major changes to how zoning code regulations shape development in the multi-dwelling zones.  The proposals:
  • Regulate development intensity by the size of buildings, instead of the number of units, to expand housing options.
  • Add incentives for affordable housing.
  • Allow for small commercial uses along major corridors.
  • Include requirements for “visitable” units so that more housing can be accessed by people of all ages and abilities.
  • Require shared outdoor spaces like courtyards for larger projects.
  • Encourage innovative green features and tree preservation.
  • Limit front garages and surface parking.
  • Shape building scale and setbacks to integrate development with neighborhoods.
  • Apply standards for East Portland for better design suited to the area’s characteristics.
The proposed code changes will help ensure that new development in the multi-dwelling zones better meets the needs of current and future residents, and contributes to the positive qualities of the places where they are built.

Click here to preview or download the executive summary and staff report.

Click here to visit the City of Portland website for additional documents and information.

How to Testify

At a public hearing …
You can testify directly to the Planning and Sustainability Commission at a public hearing:

Tuesday, June 12, 2018, 5 p.m.
PCC Southeast Campus, Community Hall Annex
2305 SE 82nd Avenue, Portland, Oregon

Submit written testimony to the Planning and Sustainability Commission by June 12, 2018, at 5 p.m. (you must include your name and address) …

Use the Map App:

Select Better Housing by Design and click on the "Testify" button. Testifying in the Map App is as easy as sending an email. And once you press “submit,” you can see your testimony in the Testimony Reader in real time. You can also read other people’s testimony.

By U.S. Mail:
Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission
Better Housing by Design Testimony
1900 SW 4th, Suite 7100
Portland, Oregon 97201.

Questions?Call 503-823-0195. Interpretation services available.

You can also e-mail staff at or visit the project website:

Bill Cunningham | Better Housing by Design Project ManagerPortland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - May 14, 2018

This week: The Portland City Council heard public testimony on proposed requirements for seismic retrofits of the city's unreinforced masonry buildings; City commissioner Chloe Eudaly plans to call for new tenants screening rules and the multifamily housing council posts a review and synthesis of the inefficiencies of rent control policies.

Check out this episode!

May 9 2018 Portland City Council Proposed Unreinforced Masonry Amendments (no votes yet taken)

Below are the proposed amendments to the City of Portland Unreinforced Masonry Resolution

May 9, 2018  AMENDMENTS:  UNREINFORCED MASONRY RESOLUTION      ITEM 458                              

Direct Bureau of Emergency Management, Bureau of Development Services, and Prosper Portland to develop Unreinforced Masonry Building Mandatory Retrofit Implementation Steps and return to Council for adoption within one year (Resolution introduced by Mayor Wheeler and Commissioner Eudaly) 

Saltzman amendment:

Require the wall to floor connections in 15 years as was recommended by the Policy Committee: Moved by Saltzman and seconded by Wheeler.

Fish amendments:
1. Add a final “WHEREAS” section that reads as follows:

WHEREAS, the City of Portland is experiencing a housing crisis, and therefore has an interest in ensuring that all options to preserve affordability have been explored, especially in URM buildings where public dollars have been invested to guarantee long-term affordable housing: Moved by Fish and seconded by Eudaly.

2.Strike a portion of the second and the entirety of the third “BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED” section:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City Council directs staff to develop code language to strengthen triggers in the existing code related to seismic retrofitting of URM buildings, and to require mandator retrofits of Class 3 and Class 4 URM buildings as described in the Unreinforced Masonry Policy Committee Final Report, except not including wall floor ties; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Class 3 and Class 4 buildings owner shall have twenty years to perform the described retrofits; and

Moved by Fish and seconded by Wheeler.

3. Add an additional “BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED” section that reads as follows:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this working group shall be subject to the boards and commissions reforms adopted on November 8, 2017, via Resolution No. 37328, including mandatory conflict of interest disclosure; and

Moved by Fish and seconded by Wheeler.

Fritz amendment:

ADD the following text:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City Council will develop a financial plan to bring all City-owned unreinforced masonry buildings into compliance with the adopted mandatory seismic retrofitting standards based on the assessed costs to retrofit; and

Moved by Fritz and seconded by Eudaly.
Wheeler amendment:
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City Council directs City staff to develop code language for the adoption of a mandatory seismic retrofit program for Class 1 and Class 2 URM buildings as described in the Unreinforced Masonry Policy Committee Final Report and return to Council for adoption within a year; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that City Council directs staff to develop code language to strengthen triggers in the existing code related to seismic retrofitting of URM buildings, and to require mandatory retrofits of Class 3 and Class 4 URM buildings as described in the Unreinforced Masonry Policy Committee Final Report, except not including wall-floor ties; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Class 3 and Class 4 buildings owner shall have twenty years to perform the described retrofits; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City Council directs City staff from the Bureau of Development Services, Prosper Portland, and Bureau of Emergency Management, to formulate a working group comprised of URM building owners, URM building tenants, and other subject matter experts, charged with further evaluating reasonable seismic retrofit requirements, support, incentives, and timelines, for Class 3 and Class 4 URM buildings, and return to Council within a year to report on their findings. This includes identifying specific strategies to achieve wall-floor ties including incentives, financing options, tax strategies, and hardship options. This also includes an evaluation of the impacts on insurances rates for seismically retrofitted buildings, including wall-floor ties.

Moved by Wheeler seconded by Fish.
No votes taken.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Creating New NIMBYs Won't Solve the Housing Crisis

Economist Joe Cortright wrote in his City Observatory blog last week about the defeat of SB-827 in California. California State Senator Scott Wiener's bill was intended to legalize apartment construction near transit hubs, and preempt the local opposition that has kept developers from building housing throughout the state. Advocates of low-income housing opposed the bill due to a fear that new apartment construction would take place exclusively in low income communities, as it has in the past. Cortright argues that given the choice between an affluent area and a lower-income area, developers generally would opt to build housing where people have more money to spend. According to Cortright, the goal of equity is better served by building more housing everywhere, rather than by empowering more communities to block new construction projects. Read more.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

City Club Admits to Posting Flyers Scaring Renters

In an email to Angie Even of Save Portland Buildings, City Club Marketing and Communications Director Dan Rivas admits the organization's volunteers were responsible for posting of controversial flyers over the past weekend (photo at left).

Rivas wrote:
"Thank you for bringing this flyer to our attention. I've contacted the members of our volunteer committee and asked them not to post the flyers again and to send all future communications to me for approval.

We agree that no one wants unsafe buildings. Please know that I too feel that these flyers were in poor taste and distract from the substantive issues that will be discussed at the May 9 meeting and beyond. Our committee can and must do better."
 You can read our previous post on this story here.

Eudaly Plans to Propose New Rules to Standardize the Renter Screening Process

Portland City Council Commissioner Chloe Eudaly is planning to propose changes to the renter screening process in August. Her proposal includes a requirement for landlords to take tenants on a "first come, first serve" basis, similar to the Seattle law which was just ruled unconstitutional by a Washington judge. She plans to propose standardized screening criteria based on a point system, which would score tenants based on credit, criminal, and housing history. If prospective tenants score above a 5 using the new system, landlords would be prohibited from denying their application. If they do not score above a 5, tenants would be given a 24-hour window to provide documentation of "offsetting considerations" that could potentially raise their score. Eudaly is also proposing to link the new screening process with security deposit reform. Read more.

Review the latest version (5/16/2018) of Eudaly's draft renter screening regulations.

More Housing Now! Responded to Eudaly's plans with this social media video.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

NMHC Report: Impacts of Rent Control

The National Multifamily Housing Council Research Foundation published a report earlier this month outlining the impacts of rent control, written by Dr. Lisa Sturtevant. Sturtevant analyzes seven criteria in order to determine whether rent control policies effectively achieve the goals of housing advocates: targeting, allocation, maintenance, housing availability, rent levels, fiscal impacts, and homelessness. According to Dr. Sturtevant, rent control performs poorly across these metrics, leading to higher rents in the uncontrolled market and a lack of control over who benefits from these policies. Read more.

Portland and Vancouver Tax Comparison Chart for 2018

WFG National Title Company compiled a handy comparison sheet of corporate and personal taxes in Clark County, Washington and Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas County, Oregon. Click here to preview and download.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - May 7, 2018

This week: Portland's latest data on rent increases; a public hearing takes place Wednesday, May 9th on the City's proposed unreinforced masonry plan, and the City will hold two public hearings on its controversial residential infill plan.

Check out this episode!

City Club Posts Controversial Flyers on Portland's Brick Apartments

Volunteers for the City Club of Portland posted these flyers on unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings around town this past weekend. The headline reads "Portland is vulnerable to earthquakes, and this building is not safe." The flyer encourages residents to visit a City Club facebook page regarding the May 9th City Council hearing on a proposed unreinforced masonry policy.

Angie Even of the group Save Portland Buildings emailed URM owners this morning that the poster, which directs people to the Facebook page, was the work of the City Club itself and posted this personal letter in response:

To: Portland City Club, It's Officers, Administration and Members.

As the President of a Non-Profit in Portland, It is with outrage that I send this email to address the attachment of a fear mongering poster on private property today in Portland, Oregon.

City Club of Portland has taken a measured approach on their Facebook event that was advertised on the poster. The disconnect is the declaration that a building is unsafe. I am not an attorney, but defaming a building that is in current code compliance for political favor and gain is a breach of ethics that cannot be understated.

The subject is the upcoming resolution concerning URM building retrofits, costs, timelines and logistics. These are all complex conversations that are worthy to have and it is clear that the reputation of City Club has been stained by the outrageous act of trespass with propaganda with the purpose of inciting citizens.

Building owners are working with the city to remedy the pitfalls and financial burdens that mandated retrofits will bring. It is everyone's goal to work toward a more resilient city. This, among other things, is why this outrageous attempt to defame buildings and owners should not go unanswered by City Club of Portland.

The individuals that you pinned this propaganda on are your neighbors. They are the people who have invested in Portland to make it what it is. They have done City Club of Portland no harm and they are not the adversaries of the city or seismic retrofits.
They are, for the most part, Mom and Pop owners who are not sure how they will be able to afford one-quarter of a million dollars to just do roof retrofits to a 7,000 square foot roof. Yes, that is the cost, $250K and it is beyond many owners. Most of the owners are retired and their property is their retirement income.

To demonize these citizens who have done nothing wrong except bought a building, maintain it and build on their dream only to find out in 2016, 2017 and 2018 that their building is an acronym, URM, and that the city has not enforced their own code to alert owners of roof retrofit requirements. You see, we replaced the roof on our building in 2005 with a city-issued roof permit, ABC Roofing Co and city inspectors and no one told my husband and me anything.

So now the city wants us to catch up from 1994 when we are past our earning years and have no access to financing. Now the city wants us to raise the rent on our tenants to defray costs.
Now City Club of Portland want to shame us. That is who City Club is today, shameful.

Angie Even
Born in Portland in 1959

(Story updated 5/9/18 following admission of responsibility for the postings in an email from Dan Rivas, City Club Marketing and Communications Director, to Angie Even of Save Portland Buildings.) See that story here.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Brookings Institute: Good Housing Policy "Do's" and "Don'ts"

Jenny Schuetz of the Brookings Institute compiled a list of the "do's" and "don'ts" for crafting good housing policy. Among the "do's": letting housing supply grow to meet demand, reducing barriers to high-opportunity areas, and providing assistance to low-income families. She explains that overly restrictive land use regulations drive up housing prices and keep younger and low-income renters from accessing city centers where there is more economic opportunity. Read more.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Wheeler Proposes Giving URM Owners 20 Years to Upgrade

The Oregonian reports that Mayor Wheeler is hoping to give owners of unreinforced masonry buildings in the city an extra decade to perform seismic retrofits. While the URM Advisory Committee proposed giving building owners 10-15 years to meet mandates, Wheeler is proposing an extension to 20 years. He is also proposing to eliminate the requirement that floors be fastened to walls. He cites the cost of upgrades as the driving force behind his new proposal - the upgrades typically cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The City Council plans to consider a resolution next week determining the city's rules for upgrading URM buildings. Read more.

Multifamily NW: Portland City Council Candidates' Positions on Housing Issues

Multifamily NW conducted a survey of candidates vying for the City Council seat being vacated by Commissioner Dan Saltzman. His replacement will have the opportunity to swing the direction of the city of Portland for years.

Here is a summary of the candidates' positions on housing. 

Commissioner Loretta Smith

Background: Over 20 years working for Senator Wyden, elected the last 7 years as Multnomah County Commissioner.

Priorities: Addressing the affordable housing crisis, there should be a stand-alone housing bill and part of solving the crisis is to consider the infrastructure issues, incentivize those who have units already built to use Inclusionary Zoning.

Position on Rent Control/Stabilization: Does not believe in interfering with the market and does want to encourage more private/public partnerships.

Stuart Emmons

Background: As an architect from the private sector who has worked on many city projects and has an in-depth knowledge of what can be done better at BDS (Bureau of Development Services). Ran against Commissioner Eudaly in 2016 for Commissioner Novick’s seat on Portland City Council. Believes Supply and Demand is key to addressing housing market.

Priorities: Housing the homeless, cost of building housing and affordable housing.

Position on Rent Control/Stabilization: Strongly opposed, has lived in places with rent control and it doesn’t work.

Jo Ann Hardesty

  • Elected to Oregon House of Representatives, 1995-2000
  • President, NAACP Portland Branch 2015 – 2018
  • Executive Director, Oregon Action 2002 – 2010
Priorities: Can’t build our way out of housing issue, strong tenant protections and homelessness.

Position on Rent Control/Stabilization: Strongly supports.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

PHB Inclusionary Housing Pipeline Map Shows City Falling Short

The Portland Housing Bureau has created an interactive map of projects that have been proposed under the city's Inclusionary Housing Policy, which went into effect February 1, 2017. There are currently 14 apartment projects and 1 condo project planned that are subject to inclusionary housing rules, which if built will result in the addition of 119 housing units affordable to households at 80% or less of median family income. The City of Portland estimates that 23,000 affordable units are needed. None of the projects are West of the Willamette River, and at least 68% of the planned affordable rental units will be studios or one-bedrooms. Read more.