Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Oregonian Editorial Board: City Council Is Not Adequately Monitoring Effects of Housing Policies

The Oregonian Editorial Board published a statement yesterday afternoon faulting the Portland City Council for failing to examine the effects of its housing policies. The Board points out that the city has not done anything to track whether the relocation fee ordinance is working, and that the council has relied more on anecdotes than data. The Portland Association of Metropolitan Realtors estimates that 400 single-family properties that were previously used as rentals have been put on the market by owners since the relocation fee ordinance went into effect, but City Council members seem to be shrugging off the impacts of the tightening housing supply. The City Council's lack of reliable data on policy effects is due in part to a failure to establish Mayor Wheeler's promised Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs, which was a central part of his campaign in 2016. The Board also acknowledges that most of the pain felt by renters is due to a shortage of thousands of housing units, and that many of the city's policies negatively impact the developers who could be building more housing units in the city. The city is reliant on private housing developers to solve the problem, but rising development costs associated with fees, demolition requirements, and zoning and FAR restrictions deter that investment. Read more.